Day 2 was a Monday which is everyone’s day off. 5 of us piled into a huge minivan and drove out to Waitomo (hey Toronto kids, Waitomo kind of rhymes with Idomo, but I guarantee that the Idomo guy was nowhere to be found. Which was disappointing).
Everyone I know who’s been to New Zealand told me that Waitomo and its awesome glowworm caves are an absolute must. They were not wrong.
The drive up from Auckland itself was stunning – I stink at car pictures, but this gives you a small hint of an idea
Bright, spring-green hills with mist and low-lying cloud and so forth.
We got to town early for our 2pm cave adventure, so we killed some time before lunch
Despite being awesome, the playground was completely overshadowed by the caves.
We took a five-hour, Black Abyss tour with the Legendary Black Water Rafting Co (and a bunch of recent law school grads from Texas who were all the exact same height). Ridiculously amazing. You abseil into the caves, then wander along for a bit before ziplining in pitch blackness, then wandering along for a bit further until they make you jump into a freezing cold river (like, 10 degrees) in an inner tube, for the main glowworm show. There’s a bunch more traveling through the caves, and eventually you make your way out over two little underground waterfalls.
They give you snacks along the way (MOST DELICIOUS BISCUIT EVER) and pose you over and over so you’ll buy the $20 CD of pics. Usually being stopped for pictures irritates me, but it was all so awesome I didn’t really care. Et voila, first adventure-y tourism thing in New Zealand.
Even though it’s a huge attraction, it all felt very secluded and not overdone and generally amazeballs – it couldn’t hurt that it’s the shoulder season, I guess. Waitomo, you get an A++, 100%.