Waitomo caves

Yesterday we drove to Waitomo (about 3hrs South of Auckland). Along the way we drove through some pretty heavy rain but by the time we arrived late morning it was bright and warm again.

There are 3 main caves at Waitomo and we went in Ruakuri and the Glow Worm cave. The caves are formed by water in the ground eroding the limestone rock. Ruakuri is about 65 metres below ground and is a really impressive sight. There are some huge caverns with stalacmites and stalactites as well as some really low and dark pathways. We were underground for about an hour and the route is about 1.5 kilometres. Unfortunately, because it’s so dark and you’re constantly moving to keep up with the group (there were about 10 of us) it was really difficult to get decent photos. I took loads but only a handful were any good. This cave reminded my of the Blue John caves in Castleton in Derbyshire – except they don’t have glow worms!

Stalactites Heading deeper underground Ruakuri cave

The Glow Worm cave was next. This is a much smaller tour but includes a short boat ride into a large cavern with thousands of glow worms on the ceiling. Looking up is like looking into the sky with thousands of bright stars shining down on you. Normally the boat would have taken us back out to the open air but the water was too high because of the rain in the last few days so we had to turn back the way we had come. The glow worms are tiny creatures a bit like caterpillars but they grow a bright green colour as they burn off their waste. Cameras weren’t allowed in this cave so we couldn’t get any pictures.

Waitomo caves

We then drove West about 2hrs to Rotorua where we were staying for the night. This was the longest driving day until we start heading back North in a few days time but has been the best day so far.

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