We had a really early third day of honeymoon – we left Auckland at 5 AM and headed to the Waitomo Caves. David was awesome and drove while I slept. The Waitomo Caves are really famous for their glow worms which shine on the cave ceilings like stars. We choose to do the Black Abyss “adrenaline pumping” tour that David & Laura had really enjoyed when they visited.
We purchased a CD of pictures, but unfortunately this laptop doesn’t take CDs, so I’ll do a photo recap when we get home.
The tour was 5 hours long, and I knew I’d been in for some cold temperatures since there had been a lot of rain in the area lately. First thing was to suite up in wetsuits & gear.
Next, we traveled to the cave entrance and abseiled ~35m to the entrance. The rappelling was slightly scarier than I thought – there was a fairly narrow area in the entrance.
The guides then took us through some dark passages and sent us off on a zipline which was one of my favorite parts. They hooked you in, shut off the lights, then let you zipline towards a sky of glow worms – really cool for my first zipline!
After ziplining, we were fed hot chocolate & energy bars, then it was time to get wet – brrr! We got tubes and had to jump of a platform with them into freezing cold water. There was no avoiding being soaked. We made our way against the current using ropes to a stopping point where the guides hooked us all together in our tubes (we held each others’ feet), then turned our lights off and let us float down the underwater river. I can’t begin to explain how amazing the glow worm “formations” above us were. It was like a dream; I really enjoyed that part.
I thought we were close to the end of the trip, but there was a lot more in store. We did a lot of river wading, floating, going off slides and crawling under tight spaces.
At some point, the guides had us running around in the water to keep warm and also fed us more chocolate and warm Tang – it was cold and the water was high and the current was strong!
Last were two waterfall climbs (yes up, not down) that were more challenging than I thought they’d be. Luckily the guides told us exactly how to situate our feet and hands.
The Black Abyss a really fun, yet very freezing experience! David said he saw just about every emotion on my face that day – scared, cold, amazed, challenged, and happy. All in all, I highly recommend it.
Upon return to the tour building, we were able to take hot showers and were provided hot tomato soup and a bagel – totally hit the spot!
We drove 2 more hours to get to National Park, where we slept at a backpacker lodge before our Tongariro (Mount Doom) crossing. Tune in soon for the hike of doom!