Waitomo glow worm caves

Hey Dad,

So nice early start to get on the bus. Never had to set an alarm to be up for 7am before! 

Anyway we drove for like two hours through New Zealand country side to get to Waitomo.

I know a group tour would not be your idea of a good time, but it is really nice to have company that is staying with me for more then one night. They all seem really nice. A few crazy, and two are older then me which is refreshing. 

We stayed right by the caves. There is literally nothing around. The lodge, a bar and a tiny shop. That’s it. It makes a huge change from all the cities I have been in recently. It is so quiet you can hear the crickets. 

The lodges are a refreshing change too. We are four to a two bedroom lodge. It is really cute, like a smaller version of a fishing lodge really. Pretty compact, but we are only here for one night so I guess it doesn’t really matter. 

Once checked in, with no point to unpack we all set off for the glow worm caves. There was an option to upgrade the trip to include black water rafting, which sounded right up my street. After a safety briefing, and not telling the full truth on my health warning sheet (they wanted to know if I have any muscular or ligament problems, and if I have ever dislocated everything. I would have needed to tick every box!) We were given wetsuits to get into. That was a laugh a minute! The wetsuits were damp, so they stuck to your skin. I managed it, but some did not. 

The rafting was not so much a raft as an inner tube. We had to size them to fit our backsides by bending over, placing them on our backsides and seeing if they stayed. That was a laugh a minute too! 

Then came practicing how to get in the tubes. We stood backwards on a ledge, put the tube behind us and had to leap backwards into the water. Well for course the water was freezing, and as soon as the tube hits the water you make a huge splash, which goes right over your head and straight up your nose! 

Once we had covered the basics, we finally got to go into the caves. It was pretty tricky, you didn’t know whether to watch your feet or your head. Some parts of the caves were so small you were practically crawling, or laying on your raft pulling yourself along using the cave ceiling. It parts it opened up into a massive cavern. 

After rafting for a while we got to the sole purpose of being there, the glow worms. It was like nothing I have ever seen! Turquoise dots, thousands of them on the ceiling of the caves glowing! They were so bright, it was like looking at stars. They produced so much light you could see them really clearly. The further and deeper into the cave we got, the more there were, covering an even larger area. It was the coolest thing I have seen on this trip so far! Seriously, everyone should have those caves on their bucketlist! 

We all had tiny head lamps on our helmets, and then our guides told us to turn them off; we were doing the next bit in the dark. You could not see a thing! The only light you had was from the glow worms, and as bright as they were, they were on the ceiling, not so helpful through water and rocks. The water had a slight current so it took us to where we needed to go anyway. It was something else being able to lie back on the raft and just look up. I could have stayed there longer!

Back on dry land and after a 15 minute walk back to the lodge we all went to a Kiwi bbq. That dad is something you would have approved of. The steaks served up were great! After all, according to you ‘Nothing beats a steak cooked on a charcoal bbq’. 

Then from the bbq to the bar. Bar was next door, hardly a trek! We all came back after a few hours, everyone is shattered from today, and we have another early start tomorrow to move on to our next stop. 

Not sure how I can be looking forward to, and dreading tomorrow all at the same time mind. 

Going to be an interesting one. I keep telling myself it is the last of the ‘firsts’……..

Night Dad x

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