Caving in Waitomo, NZ

The beautiful scenery was all getting too much, our eyes were sore, so we decided that a caving trip was due. Unfortunately it was a commercial trip, however it was a decent trip where wetsuits and wellies were compulsory. The trip was called Tumu Tumu Toobing and involved a bit of normal caving, some swimming (good practice for DYO next weekend), and some black water rafting.

We set off to the cave in a minibus with two english girls in tow and got changed into wetsuits and white “freezing workers” wellies (a craze that will get to the UK soon I’m sure). The caving trip was slightly different to usual, with us seemingly taking a rather arduous 2 hour route around a cave which would probably have been passed in about 20 minutes at home. We walked through the first section and then we all turned our lights off, to reveal hundreds of glow worms hanging from the roof. These little worms, who spend their entire life in the cave, made caving in the dark an atmospheric experience. Even better was when we got onto our rubber, inflatable rings (by jumping into them from a cliff) and had the way ahead lit by these little critters silently glowing. Later in the cave, we opted to take the hard route … a few not very awkward squeezes and also we did a spot of swimming, which was an interesting experience. There were some good formations, I learnt that wide stalactites only form after the straws that they originated from have become blocked. Also interesting that the guide thought that lots of straw formation meant that a shake hole was directly above on the surface ???? do we agree???

On the way out our guide found an unpigmented eel, a crayfish and some giant cave wetas… fantastic.

Despite the ease of the trip, we enjoyed ourselves immensely. A great cave… we need some glow worms in the UK!

4 thoughts on “Caving in Waitomo, NZ”

  1. The comment about a link between shakeholes and formations is interesting. As formations are made from minerals deposited by the water that dissolves the rock, factors such as the mineral impurities in the limestone, the rate of water flow and the air temperature are all related to formation growth. Whilst is is possible to have lots of straws without shakeholes and shakeholes with no straws below some local geological factor could be at work and create a strong link in that limestone area. Did the guide indicate if it was local or more general?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *