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Wednesday, 11 Jul 2012

Original Waitomo Caves unique among New Zealand's dramatic underground wonders

Lost World Waitomo.
Lost World Waitomo.

Millions of years in the making, the Hamilton and Waikato region’s caves, including the world-famous ones at Waitomo, provide a playground unlike any other.

As if it’s not enough that nature has carved out a glowworm-studded underground marvel, enterprising locals have added adventure activities to enhance the experience further.

Rising from the sea about 30 million years ago Waitomo Caves have continued to evolve thanks to the constant action of water seeping through the earth. The name comes from the Maori words “wai” (water) and “tomo” (hole or shaft) and there are around 300 known caves in the area.

Their dramatic formations of limestone including stalactites, stalagmites, columns and natural caverns are threaded through with the lights of New Zealand’s native glowworm, the arachnocampa luminosa which give the caves their spectacular starry ceilings.

Spirit Cave Waitomo
Spirit Cave Waitomo

Weird and wonderful limestone formations emerge from the underground darkness which is also punctuated by the twinkling lights of thousands of glowworms.

Simply stand and admire, or if you are feeling more adventurous try the myriad of abseiling, climbing, cave exploration and black water rafting.

The Waitomo Caves are one of New Zealand’s original tourist attractions and everyone who visits can see just why that is, Waitomo Caves has the largest range of activities on offer providing something to suit everyone regardless of ability or adrenalin level.

For the adventurous, there are plenty of adrenalin-fuelled options for exploring the cave system. Guided tours range in duration up to seven hours and include black water rafting (on inflated rubber tubes) through the caves’ streams and spectacular abseiling and zip-lining as well as walking, squeezing and climbing through caves with names like TumuTumu and The Lost World.

While they may sound extreme, a moderate fitness level and a sense of adventure is all that is needed for most of these exciting tours. Above ground the highlight of Mangapohue Natural Bridge walk near Waitomo is the impressive 17 m high limestone arch which is all that remains of an ancient cave system.

At night the track lights up with glowworms and visitors may also catch a glimpse of the elusive long-tailed bat. Glowworms can also be seen on serene night tours through natural canyons on Lake Karapiro, near Cambridge, with Boatshed Kayaks.

For more information visit: http://www.hamiltonwaikato.com/things-to-do/articles/underground-adventure

Editors note words and pictures courtesy of Hamilton & Waikato Tourism.

For more information
contact: Garth Morrison
Editor Go See Australia and Go See New Zealand Directory
Email: garth@contact.com.au

Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Waitomo Glowworm Caves

Waitomo Glowworm Caves are a must see for any traveller. Visit our website for details!


Waitomo Top 10 Holiday Park
Waitomo Top 10 Holiday Park

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Waitomo Cave World
Waitomo Cave World

Caveworld is the only operator in Waitomo to offer exclusive, private cave tours. Choose from a number of different experiences. Visit our website!

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Waitomo Adventure Centre
Waitomo Adventure Centre

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