“My first nail biting adventure was a trip to an underground region known as the Lost World…”
Waitomo Caves, New Zealand
Being underground is one of the major tourist attractions in the Waitomo region – the main reason being the abundance of glow worms and black water rafting. For those of you unfamiliar with this sport it is basically exploring caves by the light of your own head lamp by either abseiling, walking or floating your way around.
Not being the hugest adrenalin junkie it took me a few days to decide if I was going to take part in this ‘must do’ activity, but once booked it was no going back. My first nail biting adventure was a trip to an underground region known as the Lost World – being a misty day I could well imagine it being undetected from the world as well as being very eerie. Looking down to the depths below it did not seem to far to descend but once I was dangling on those abseil ropes it was a different story and no stopping once you were off from the starting platform – and I will add here it was a 100m descent. I surprised myself by feeling less scared and whizzed my way down to the bottom.
Feet safely on the ground it was time to roam, climb and squeeze through tunnels to explore all the caves formations – I was impressed especially at the size of some of the stalactites and stalacmites which have taken 1000 of years to form. In the darkest part of the cave we turned off our lights and stared at in amazement the millions of glowworms on the roof of the cave watching slowly as a the greeny lights from the glow worms slowly started to lighten the cave.
Now that I was 100m down into the cave it did not surprise me that it would take a few steep climbs and a vertically placed 30m steel ladder to climb to the surface. Only 30m I thought but with a tight grip all the way by muscles were shaking a little when I finally made it.
Enough Adrenaline? Well almost – I took myself back the next day to visit St Benedict’s cavern which has a lot more formations and fossils to explore. This time is took 2 shorter abseils through narrow tunnels to get into the cave and then so not to ruin some of the formations a flying fox some 30 odd meters to the other side. Not my favourite part which was even less so when I was asked to pose for a photo with my legs dangling a good 10 meters in the air – all I could see was the nice safe landing in front of me and hence my picture is safely stored away!
All in all it was a fun few days but I do think my favourite part is keeping both my feet flat on the ground.