Dan In The South Pacific 2006 travel blog

Managapohue Land Bridge

Marakopa Falls

The drop into the Lost World

Another look down

Pimped out in hot gear

I left Rotorua for Waitomo and I was ready to get out. Rotorua is an awesome place but the Kiwi experience buses don't run frequently and I didn't want to get stranded anywhere.

Waitomo is a village that has one major attraction - caves. These caves are a major draw card for the North island. Many people come here to experience the caves and see a little bit of magic that is the New Zealand Glow worm. As I mentioned before, these little fly maggots (Arachnocampa luminosa) can be found in a ton of places and use their lights to attract food. When you see them it is like looking at stars. To get a full appreciation of caving and the glow worms I decided to do a full day caving trip into the "Lost World" cave. This trip costs a mint but was worth it. Most people do a half day trip and then ship out on the bus the next morning. As I have learned so far, if you spend the cash you have a better time and also have better stories to tell.

The day trip started at 10:00 am. We were driven out to a farm where the cave is situated. All the caves are situated on farms in the area and are owned by the farmers because they own everything under their land. We got suited up in wetsuits, harnesses, helmets and rubber boots and then did a 100 meter abseil down into the cave. The land above the cave is farm land, but once you get down into the cave it is full of ferns and mist and looks like you entered a lost world. After the abseil we had lunch and said goodbye to daylight. We entered the cave and climbed, swam, slid, shimmied ("Sbelling"?), and crawled through the cave. We crossed through waterfalls with names like the cauldron and the turbine and also found time to do some cliff jumps and other interesting stuff. The glow worms were awesome and I also saw a cave weta (like a cricket). We exited the cave after the sun went down and walked back to the base for a steak dinner. Due to the danger of carrying a camera the company bans all photography, and takes a few for us instead. I would have liked to take more photos than the ones in my photo pack, but you get what you get. Overall this was a major highlight and I would do this trip again.

Again, something not covered by insurance but it was great. This is activity number 11. I am starting to wonder what the point of insurance is when I do stuff that isn't covered by it.

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