Waitomo glowworm caves

This photograph of the World renowned Waitomo Glowworm Caves in North Island was taken in 2008.

The glow worm, Arachnocampa Luminos, is unique to New Zealand. They were first explored by local Maori Chief Tane Tinorau in 1887.

On arrival at the Black Water Rafting Co, we were supplied with a wet suit, shorts, shoes and a hard hat with a headlamp. It was a funny process and we looked ridiculous once we’d got all the kit on! It was a great ice breaker.

We set off on the Black Labyrinth cave adventure once all twelve of us had received a black rubber tube.

In the darkness of the Ruakuri Cave, the headlamps went on and we slid onto our tubes. Floating in the water we snaked down the river together taking in the sparkling glowworms on the ceiling above us.

You wanted to scream when you had to slide down a waterfall backwards. You were thankful you didn’t when you realised it wasn’t actually that long.

Our black water rafting experience saw us slip off our tubes and chase after them on several occasions. It was dark and the rocks slippery underfoot – the relief when you caught your tube was immense.

After the noise and excitement came silence except for the sound of dripping water. Above us thousands of glowworms sparkled in the darkness. We were deep underground.

As we neared the light, we saw stalactites aplenty before we reached the exit of the cave. It was an incredible journey that touched all the senses – terrifying at times but mostly exhilarating.

Photo credit: Waitomo Glowworm Caves

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84 comments

  1. Wow that sounds amazing – a great description which really brought the place to life. Adding it to my oat of places to visit one day when we win the lottery!

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    • Thank you Afra – was amazing. I do hope one day we can take POD there. We need a lottery win too :)

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  2. That sounds like a. Incredible experience! I think I’d be screaming sliding backwards and even rafting – sounds too scary for me hehe x

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    • It was a little hairy in parts Emma but an amazing experience. I’m sure you’d do brilliantly :)

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  3. Oh, wow – what an amazing sounding experience! Absolutely stunning, too x

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    • Thank you Jocelyn – I’ve spared you the photo of us dressed in rubber. Not attractive :)

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  4. This looks amazing and sounds exciting, though I’ll probably embarrass myself by screaming my head off or pass out from trying to suppress my screams. Hahaha.

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    • I’m sure I squealed a little bit but I’ve blocked it out of my memory! I’m sure you’d be absolutely fine :)

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  5. i love your travel shots, makes me have such itchy feet! gorgeous xx happy new year!

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    • Bless you Sarah, such a lovely thing to say! I can’t take credit for this one sadly – photography wasn’t allowed in the cave so we had to purchase the Waitomo photos. Happy New Year to you too :)

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  6. Hello! We meet again. I always enjoy stopping by your space for a good read.
    Great post – sounded a little exhilirating at times but what an amazing experience!

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    • Mwhahaha! That you very much though, lovely comment. It was a little scary at times but overall great fun :)

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  7. Wow! It sounds amazing. A true once in a lifetime experience.

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    • Thank you Louisa, really was. Shame it was so long ago now *dreams of a return visit*

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  8. What a wonderful thing to witness, how did I miss those when we went to New Zealand?

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    • Guess it depends where you were. We squidged a lot into just over two weeks. Was good to do this before our friend’s wedding – the journey back to Auckland was full on driving!

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  9. Wow, just wow. I would love to go to New Zealand. My Neice has just returned home after living there for 7 years

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    • Thank you Jen. Feels like so long ago already. Would love to go back one day. You should definitely try and get there, I’ve only seen North Island but it’s a beautiful country :)

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  10. Oh wow, New Zealand is on the list-just wish it wasn’t so far away-what a wonderful adventure!

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    • It’s an amazing country – you must visit one day. Would love to go back with POD at some point :)

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  11. You are so inspiring – you have really lived life! This sounds amazing!

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    • What a lovely thing to say although I’m really not. We did a fair bit before POD came along. Be nice to do it again but with her one day :)

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      • I guess because I didn’t (pregnant at 17) and it makes me look to what I can and will do in the future. You write down where you’ve been and what you have done I’m sure you’d be surprised at what you’ve achieved.

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  12. What an amazing experience!

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  13. How exciting! I’ve never heard of these glow worms before. It sounds like a fascinating experience.

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    • It was fabulous albeit a little scary at times – exciting though definitely :)

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  14. That sounds like an amazing experience! Although think I would freak out going over the waterfall!

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    • The waterfall was especially scary but it was mortifying when you looked back and saw how small it was :)

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  15. how cool! You know we did this exact thing on our visit to NZ in 2003! It is an amazing country, these memories stay with you for ever!

    ps what was weirder was a saw someone there who looked like an exboyfriend from the UK, I thought I must be going crazy so we didn’t speak but then years later we bumped into each other and he said “were you by any chance in NZ doing black water rafting…?” small world!

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    • How brilliant – it’s amazing isn’t it! And what a small world – crazy story about the person that looked like your ex. I saw someone I knew the day I arrived in Australia (lived there a couple of years in 90’s) – he was getting married :)

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  16. That sounds amazing, what a great experience :)

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    • It was definitely memorable that’s for sure Niki :)

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  17. It sounds so fascinating but I think I would be scared!

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    • I’m sure you wouldn’t Anna – I guess that’s the good thing about being with strangers :)

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  18. Not sure about sliding down a waterfall backwards!! A fascinating experience though, thanks for sharing. xx

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    • Me neither! Felt like such a fool afterwards though – the waterfall was very small :)

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  19. Wow, that sounds like an amazing experience! Not sure I’d like the going backwards though x

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    • It was definitely memorable Karen that’s for sure :)

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  20. wow it looks amazing! I’d love to visit! x

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    • Thank you Fritha – definitely pop it on your list! Would love to do it again one day :)

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  21. What an amazing experience – so envious!

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    • Thank you Aisha, feels like such a long time ago now :)

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  22. This is something I would never be able to do (caves not wheelchair friendly) so how great to be able to live it vichariously. Your description is so vivid I closed my eyes and it was like I was right there with you. What a fantastic experience. Thank you for sharing x

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    • Thank you – I’m glad you enjoyed it :)

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  23. Slide down a waterfall backwards – oh dear God *gulps*.
    Stunning photo
    xx

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    • Hehe – it was scary but only because it was dark I think. The actual waterfall wasn’t very big at all :)

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  24. You really have visited some amazing places – what a great photo!

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    • Thank you – can’t take credit for the photo on this occasion :)

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  25. Wow this sounds amazing! Definitely a one for the wanderlust list. x

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    • Do pop NZ on there Lori, we’ve only seen some of North Island but it’s an amazing country :)

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  26. Wow that looks absolutely amazing! My friend is visiting there soon, I’m going to tell her about this!

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    • Oh you must Tas – if they’re going to North Island :)

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  27. They look amazing

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  28. New Zealand is top of my list for dream holidays and I love caves! Beautiful photo, you make me want to leave the UK and go now

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    • Good call that is Kara – amazing country and the people are wonderful :)

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  29. Rather you than me! I’d be scared!

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    • I’m sure you wouldn’t Melissa – I think you’re less scared when with others. There’s pride at stake!

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  30. Sounds amazing although I’m not a fan of dark places underground!

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    • It really was albeit a bit scary at times, it was pretty magical too :)

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  31. That looks amazing 0 how lucky to have been there x

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  32. That sounds so amazing and fun. I used to teach caving (in a manmade cave) at a kids camp. I loved it! xx

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    • How amazing to have taught caving, you’d love it here too :)

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  33. Sounds like an incredible experience.

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    • It really was Jenny – one to remember anyway :)

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  34. Wow, I would never have been able to do that – amazing experience

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    • Hehe I think you would – amazing though yes :)

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  35. What an adventure!

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  36. That looks spectacular. What an adventure it must have been!

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    • It so was Vaidehi – would love to go back one day :)

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  37. Wow I love your description – it reminds me of the old text adventures of the 80s with the super cool descriptions of mysterious caves ;)

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    • What a wonderful thought – thank you Emily :)

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  38. Wow, what a brilliant photo and a great adventure :-)

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  39. Wow what an amazing experience and stunning image

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    • It really was fabulous Kizzy – seems like such a long time ago now :)

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  40. I would most definitely been terrified, I don’t particularly like dark and damp places. But they look amazing!

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    • Thank you very much – I’m sure you’d love it once you got used to the dark :)

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  41. This is amazing. Just wow!

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    • Thank you – it really was fabulous :)

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