Day 27 on the Road
The Black Labyrinth Tour with Black Water Rafting in the Waitomo Caves
Today is Day 27 on New Zealand’s Biggest Gap Year and today’s activity is Black Water Rafting in the Waitomo Caves! We’re doing the Black Labyrinth tour with The Legendary Black Water Rafting Company.
Today we are doing the second thing that Waitomo is famous for. First thing is the glowworms, second thing is the amazing caving adventures you can do here. Today is an epic day. We are going black water rafting!
Alright, so today we are gearing up for an amazing day. We are going black water rafting and more specifically, we are doing a Black Labyrinth tour. After an early morning, we are gearing up and putting on wetsuits, extra layers of thermals and all those kind of things. We’re going down a cave and we’re going to be jumping from waterfall to waterfall in tubes. First we do some tubing practice before we go into the caves so that, you know, we don’t leave our tubes behind or something crazy like that. So first of all, we go on a jetty, we jump off the jetty with our tubes and we’re like: “Nailed it!” So we’re ready to go into the caves.
After this little training we are hiking quickly to the cave entrance which really not too far. We get into caves. it’s like a really cool little entrance we just you know creep and crawl our way in, following Logan [the guide].
First obviously you leave the daylight behind. It’s pitch black in the caves and our eyes are having to adapt but luckily we have some little head torches so not all is lost. But we don’t want to use those head torches like the whole time because obviously there’s glowworms to see here. And then off we go. tube on the shoulder and start walking and we go through passages with like a nice little stream of water under, and we go through caves after caves after caves and little passage which are actually quite narrow. I mean, I don’t know if it can get any narrower than that but yeah, it’s quite good fun.
We meet Cecil the eel, the resident eel that stays in this pool and she just sits there in the middle and waits for the black water rafters to come and greet her. It’s not long before we actually start doing the waterfall jumps that we’ve been training for. The first one is quite a small one but it’s like a bit of a rapid we just do a leap backward into the deep water behind us but because our group is such a small group today he actually lets us do the jump again, so I do the jump quite a few times. It’s pretty awesome.
Just a bit of a another walk down the cave there’s a bigger waterfall like an actual waterfall to jump off with your tube so that’s the next thing we have to do. Logan stands at the top of the waterfall and actually helps us push off because again, there’s a ledge. If we hit it then, you know, we’ll fall to our doom.
We’re now in much deeper water and we’re just slowly drifting to the majestic glowworms. It always seems like I’m going first on these cave tours. Robin who’s like: “Oh yeah, go first, Laura, go first.” Some people say: “Oh yeah, ladies first.” but it’s like ladies first, pussies second.
We arrive in a section where we’re going to be gliding under a massive amount of glowworms. The guide tells us just to shut off the light. We get to you know keep on paddling a little bit only to be like “oo ooo o ooo”. With the feet sticking out of the water. So we’re just like floating and paddling and having a little bit of a fight me and Robin and he’s helping the guide with the backpack so I am grabbing hold onto Robin’s backpack. We’re floating. I’m getting him to do all the paddling work while we’re floating down the river and he doesn’t notice for like five minutes.
At the end of this section of deep water. There’s a bit of a scramble. We get the tubes on our shoulders and we’re scrambling over some rapids and stuff to walk through and we notice like a huge tomo to the side of which is about two hundred and something metres all the way to the ceiling so we are so far underground. We try to have a look up it but there’s so much water because it’s raining outside – it’s coming down through the hole in the tunnel so we get everything absolutely drenched by that so I’m sure it’s amazing when it’s not raining but we can’t we anything.
By this point, we’ve had a lot of time floating in the tubes and although we’ve done a lot of paddling and a lot of scrambling over rocks and rapids you can only imagine what it must have been like to discover these caves all those many years ago.
So after this really awesome, I think it was like 3-hour adventure underground, we slowly arrive to the exit which is a dramatic cathedral-shaped cave in like a triangle. All in all, really fun day. Got to have a good taste of those caves but I feel like I need more so by the end of the week we have to see a bit more of those caves.
Today is going to be one of my favourite day in New Zealand, we are going Black Water Rafting and I just can’t wait…