Black Water Rafting and Waitomo Glow Worm Caves
Waitomo Caves village and cave system are major tourist attractions. The caves are noted for their stunning stalactite and stalagmite displays, and for their glowworms (the fungus gnat Arachnocampa luminosa).The word Waitomo comes from the Māori language wai meaning water and tomo meaning a sinkhole. These Caves are believed to be over two million years old and have been the centre of increasingly popular commercial caving tourism since 1900.
• Tour of the famous Glow worm caves
• Black water rafting
• OR Ruakuri cave tour and short walk in the stunning Ruakuri collapsed cave
• Farm show or kiwi house visit
The rolling pasture covered hills of the Waikato region, you’ll travel through on your way to Waitomo, owe their fertility to the volcanic soil erupted from Lake Taupo only 2000 years ago. Now the setting for New Zealand’s richest dairy farmland, this area used to be forested with giant kahikatea trees, still visible in isolated groups among the rich green fields
The limestone landscape in the Waitomo area offers some magical opportunities to explore the underground world. This tour begins with the famous Waitomo Glow Worm caves, followed by the completely different Ruakuri Cave.
Your guided tour of the glow worm caves will take you through over 250 metres of stunning underground scenery full of stalactites and stalagmites including the magnificent Cathedral. The acoustics in this particular cavern are world-renowned. Famous New Zealand, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, has sung here and was delighted with the purity of the sound. The highlight of your tour is an boat trip through the spectacular Glowworm Grotto. Drift underground along the Waitomo River and gaze in silence at the starry wonderland created by thousands of glow worm lights.
Next tour the completely different Ruakuri Cave. This tour will take you through the upper galleries of the same cave as the black water rafting, without any need to get wet. This is a very atmospheric tour involving small groups only. It also gives the visitor an insight into the technical challenges behind preparing a cave for visitors to enter safely.
And then enjoy the Ruakuri Valley and a short and very scenic walk through rainforest in a collapsed caves system
If you fancy more of a challenge, try Black Water Rafting (adds $40 pp), instead of the Ruakuri Cave. Black water rafting involves using an inflated rubber inner tube, the kind you would normally find in a truck tyre, to float down an underground river. Each Black Water Rafting expedition includes 8-12 people and two expert guides and takes 3 hours during which you will weave, jump and gently float your way through the glow worm lit Ruakuri Caves. Your journey concludes when you emerge into the sunlight of the Waitomo forest Hot showers, soup and bagels provided after the tour
Finally relax and enjoy Woodlyn Park’s Farm Show. This Kiwi Culture Show, combining pioneer history with log sawing and explosions, sheep shearing, farm animals and working sheep dogs, a dancing pig and audience participation, will leave you in fits of laughter. If this show is not available for any reason, the alternative will be an opportunity to see, close-up , at Otorohanga Kiwi House some of New Zealand’s unique wildlife, including the flightless kiwi.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
about Blackwater rafting
• Beginner level experience
• You must be over 12 years old and weigh 45kg or more
• Water temperature: 10-14 oC
• Wetsuits and footwear provided
Wear: something comfortable, sunscreen, trainers
Bring: swimsuit, towel, lunch, drinks, snacks, sunscreen, warm, waterproof jacket, camera,
Price: $163 - $220
• Pick up and drop off in Tauranga and Auckland at one or two locations pre-arranged to best suit students involved
• All activities described in itinerary unless marked optional.
• Comfortable, air-conditioned coach.
• Friendly, professional guides.
• Access to our national parks
• Pre-trip information
Trip fees exclude
• Optional extra activities.
• Personal expenses (phone, wifi, lunches, etc.)