A few weeks ago now we went to Waitomo Caves, for those of you who don’t know these are the famous glow worm caves in New Zealand, the name comes from the Maori for water (wai) and hole (tomo). I found a winter deal online where you could go on a nice little boat trip through the glow worm caves and visit a few others too. I had heard about a company called Legendary Black Water Rafting who offer a trip through the caves on a rubber tube, but to be honest (being the chicken I am) I wrote it off immediately- that was that until I started mentioning it at work. After about 5 different people had told me I just had to go and I would regret it, so I booked the trip so I wouldn’t back out. My nice little boat trip had turned into black water rafting!!
We set off very early on the Saturday morning as it is a four hour drive and when we arrived we checked into our backpackers called Juno Hall. This backpackers was a lodge style with a really cosy communal area, log burner and a little dog called Max (what more could a girl want?)
Once we had dumped our bags we set off to the Legendary Black Water Rafting Company and if I’m honest I was pretty nervous for those of you who know me this wont come as a surprise! We had opted for the 3 hour Black Labyrinth tour and we didn’t regret it. We were greeted by our two guides (Scuba and Tom) who introduced themselves and took us down to get our equipment, they went through all the safety information got changed into our wetsuit (I was trying to act as if I wasn’t scared to the two Irish girls in the changing room with me).
We hopped on a mini bus and drove the few minutes to the Ruakuri Cave when we first got there we collected our tubes and practiced jumping off water falls by jumping off a ledge into the river. I jumped in with no hitches feel pretty pleased with myself but then I floated off to far down the river and had to be rescued. To be honest by now all my nerves had disappeared due to the two guides – they were amazing and made the whole thing really fun and made you feel safe at all times (with a few jokes thrown in).
When we climbed down into the caves it was amazing, we trekked around with our tubes, jumped of 6ft waterfalls and floated through rapids. As we approached the edge of the water fall we had to turn backwards with our tube and bum hanging over the edge and push off as far away as we could from the waterfall. I must say the adrenalin was pumping trying not to fall but get close enough to the edge so you clear the rock, and as you hit the water the tube submerged and you got a face full of cold water (it was so much fun!).There were two highlights for me -the first was when we linked up in a long tube train and turned our lights out, it was amazing as our eyes adjusted all you could see were thousands on glow worms twinkling as we floated through. The second was when I was given a chocolate fish to eat (it was pretty tasty). In the end I think I enjoyed it more than Chris as he said he didn’t like it when the water splashed him in the face.
We then left the caves and made our way back to the showers (best shower ever as I was freezing by then) and met up in the café for hot soup and bagels it was the perfect end. I couldn’t recommend it enough, any scaredy cats out there like me you should definitely do it, the Legendary Black Water Rafting guides will make you feel safe, make you laugh and give you an amazing experience!
As part of our package we also got tickets to go on a boat trip through the main glow worm caves, we were guided by quite a strict lady who wouldn’t let anyone speak, so naturally me and Chris got the giggles. The boat trip was nice and seeing thousands of glow worms again was a brilliant experience but after the black water rafting it couldn’t really compare.
That night we cooked a chilli, drank red wine and snuggled up with Max the dog (notice how all my hostels involve wine and a dog so far 🙂 )
The next day we had tickets for Hobbiton (Chris was seriously excited) and was shouting ‘You shall not pass’ at every opportunity – not at all annoying. Now I have a confession to make – I haven’t watched Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit so I didn’t know what to expect or understand the tour as much as I could have done.
We arrived and a coach guided by a man called Sam (I was told there is a joke in there somewhere) took us onto the set which is built on a farmer’s land (now a very rich farmer). We walked around Hobbiton and Sam told us some really interesting facts about the film and even for me it wasn’t boring. We had a picture in a Hobbit hole and walked up to Bilbo Baggins’ house the view was great and you could really see how much work had gone into the set it make it perfect. As we were admiring the view we were rudely interrupted by a Chinese family having a domestic (I think he wanted to buy a Hobbit Hole and she wouldn’t let him).
The tour ended with a cider in the Green Dragon whilst we watched the pub cat attack anyone who tried to sit in his seat by the fire. It was lovely.
Until next time.