Today I decided to not only see the glow worms at Waitomo, but to do it in a very adventurous way. There are several options…a boat ride, cave tubing, abseiling & waterfalls, and abseiling (a dry adventure). I opted for what sounded like the most exciting option. Abseiling (rappelling) and waterfalls.
After changing into an uncomfortable (thick) wetsuit, rubber boats, and a harness they introduced us to our equipment. We descended to the cave opening and quickly got introduced to abseiling a waterfall. It was about 60 feet and I could not see the bottom. After being attached to the rope, the guide swung me out over the hole so that I could get turned around. About a third of the way down, I got pummeled in the face by the waterfall. It was a bit disconcerting and took me a minute to get my footing again.
We started seeing the glow worms immediately. It was much more beautiful than I expected. It reminded me of looking at the night sky with no moon or light pollution.
At the bottom of the first waterfall I was instructed to go through “that” (as the guide pointed to a very narrow opening) and to make sure I went down the next waterfall feet first. It didn’t feel like much instruction given that the opening was quite small. Luckily it was only a short distance.
The tour continued to challenge me with lots of water obstacles that kept my rubber boots sufficiently full of water. We abseiled three waterfalls, rocked climbed, ladder climbed, and got lowered into one hole with no headlamp on (that was unnerving).
At our deepest we were 80 meters below the surface.
With all the crawling around, my knee took quite a beating. I’m hoping it will feel better by tomorrow when we have our longest hike of the trip planned.
We were not allowed to bring cameras, so these photos were taken by the guides.