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a glowing in the dark experience

View New Zealand - 2014 on Ils1976's travel map.

Making sure that we weren’t going to miss our bus to the caves, the two of us set our alarm clock yesterday evening, since we already had to leave at 7 AM, but hearing the noise of one alarm clock is worse, but the noise of two, that’s just insane! One thing is for sure, we were quite awake!

We quickly got dressed and ate some instant porridge with a cup of tea and than we were on the move towards the ferry building so that we could catch the 7.20 bus from Naked Bus all the way to Waitomo. Upon our arrival, we noticed that there were three buses in total, but with a bit of asking around we were on the right one in no time and we even got a nice enough view coz we were in the first row. Talking about a great deal.

Exactly at 7.20 AM our driver left Auckland behind and it was a good 2 hours drive towards Hamilton where we had a 15 minute break and about another hour and a half later, we arrived at the small town of Waitomo. Most of the people got out here, so it seemed that me and Tania weren’t the only ones who wanted to see the famous glow worms.


Since we were still a bit early to go on our tour, we wanted to get something warm to drink and although the town isn’t that big, we eventually found a nice enough cafe where they served an excellent cup of tea and they even had a yummie pineapple and cheese toast. I have to admit it was but a quick bite, but we needed to get a little bit more food in our system before our tubing through the caves.

As soon as it was time for our tour to the caves, we walked down the street towards Caveworld, where we booked the whole „water tube adventure”. It seemed we were the first once to arrive at the „scene”, but a short while after even 3 girls from the UK and a couple from Germany arrived as well and together we would form a group for the next 2 hours.

Our guide arrived a few minutes later and as soon as he introduced himself we could all leave in the van towards the spot where we could change into our swimmers and where we got our wetsuit. It wasn’t that long of a drive, about a minute later we arrived already and the two of us were wondering why we drove all the way while we could easily had walked, but hey, when in Rome!?


Getting in our swimmers wasn’t that big of a problem, but as soon as the wetsuits were handed out, that was quite another ordeal. The one I got seemed just too small, Tania on the other hand had a different problem. Hers was just too big, but it seemed that not all sizes were available, so we just had to go with the flow. Easier said than done and although most of our group already had their wetsuit on, mine wasn’t moving anywhere, my god, who on earth invented this shit!?

With a little male help from our guide, eventually I even got suited up so to speak and after even getting my boots on, there was a quick explanation of the lights on the helmet and off we went, after a few group shots that is.

The drive towards the cave wasn’t all that long, but a bumpy one and I was glad I had my helmet on coz more than once I said hello to the window of the van. My God, I just hope that I survive this thing!

As soon as we arrived at our cave, we all got our „tube” and after crossing a meadow, we finally arrived in some kind of forest and to be honest, I expected a hobbit to pop out any minute. It was really fairy-like. Without even knowing it or should I say realizing it, we entered the entrance of our cave. On came the lights and as we walked a little further into the cave we suddenly had to put off our lights and than the most amazing thing happened, we saw our first glow worms!


To say it in the words of a kiwi, that’s mint bro!!!! (I don’t know if this is written correctly though ????)

Our guide gave us an explanation about the life of a glow worm and I have to admit, it doesn’t sound that appealing when you know it is actually pooh of a worm that makes the glowing effect, but nevertheless, it is quite nice to look at.

From here we walked further into the cave and got the see even more glowworms and a few minutes later it was even time to try our tube … OMG, the water was just freezing and went through our wetsuits like nothing, but hey, that’s part of the adventure I suppose. As soon as we walked for a bit, it was time to test our tube and with our heads pointed to the ceiling while gently floating, we saw another bunch of glowworms, that's what you call an experience. I know it is but a stupid comparison, but it looked like thousands of stars in the sky on a very dark night. Like I told you, no comparison, but that’s how it looked like.

After floating for a while and even crawling between some zip lines, we arrived at our first waterfall where we had to jump backwards into the depth, oh well, it was but a few meters and thanks to the tube we landed safely on our butts, but on the other hand, we were soaking wet as well. The word "freezing" popped up in my head more than once!!

Going deeper into the cave, we once again made kind of a snake and floated a bit more, but this time we went with the flow, much nicer when you come to think about it, I like to see what’s coming, but that’s just me! :)


A few meters further up, we arrived at the second waterfall which was about 7 meters high and although our guide made the appearance we had to jump off it, when we finally arrived, it turned out it was just one gigantic slide. Man, I really loved this, but once again, in the end you were soaking wet and the water wasn’t exactly warm.

We weren’t that far removed from the end of the tunnel and although we had lots of fun slithering through the water, jumping of waterfalls and that sort of things, in a way I was also glad to be out of the water again, because I was frozen as hell.

The walk back towards the van wasn’t that long and walking once again through the forest, I am sure I saw something moving between all the ferns, so maybe there was a hobbit somewhere. Anyway, I was glad to be back at the beginning and after a warm shower and a cup of hot coco I felt like a human again.

Since we still had lots of time to kill till we could take the bus back to Auckland, we first looked up another cave, but not wanted to sit in a boat and pay a lot of money for seeing another group of glowworms for just 15 minutes, however amazing they are, we decided to go for a walk instead. There weren’t that many trails, but one trail in particular, the Waitomo Walkway, went up to some kind of lookout and since it was only an half hour walk, we even could have some lunch afterwards as well and this time we went for a wrap with fries, one word only : delicious!

We stayed at the porch of the cafe till it was time for us the leave, I was a bit tired and closed my eyes while enjoying the rayes of sun on my back and head while Tania updated her latest blog and checked out more things on the internet and believe it or not, before I even realised it, it was time to leave already.

Just as punctual as it was this morning, our Naked bus arrived right on time and although I tried to stay awake this time and gazed at the beautiful sceneries, I couldn’t but help to doze off from time to time. I am bad when it comes to traveling with a bus, I can’t help it, but I constantly fall asleep.

It was already 9.30 PM when we finally arrived back in Auckland and we still needed to look for something to eat. It was dark outside and just by looking at the different streets, we quickly noticed that there weren’t lots of options, so instead we went for the quickest one and went to a local supermarket and bought ourselves some noodles which you can make in a microwave oven. I don’t know if this actually is healthy, but going to the Golden Arches isn’t as well so, we took our chances.

Dinner wasn’t too big of a success, like we expected in the first place, but I was just too tired to think about that and after a quick shower, it was time for once again a well deserved nap, after all we are on our holiday, we can relax!

Posted by Ils1976 11:42 Archived in Australia Tagged landscapes people animals adventure tour group oceania

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I would love to see glowworms! Worth getting frozen for, it seems?

by ToonSarah

more than worth it, but you can also go into the caves with a small boat, less adventurous but with the same result as they told us. Never checked it out though!

by Ils1976

Ah, that's worth knowing if ever I get over there. I'm curious to see NZ but it isn't top of my wishlist so let's see ...

by ToonSarah

haha, when you know we had lots of rain, I don't think it is going to make top 5, but it is a beautiful country especially if you like nature! :)

by Ils1976

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