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Guest Post by my buddy and baby daddy Tom Wilson

6 Reasons You'll Never Forget Waitomo Adventures

looking down from the bar
Peering into the lost world

Trying one of the Waitomo Adventures is like meeting your soul-mate for the first time.

It's an experience you'll remember forever.

Picture a magical valley, overgrown with plants and hidden away from human eyes. Thick mist shrouds a river gushing from a dark cave. Inside that cave is a labyrinth filled with strange rock formations and beautiful glowing creatures. Dangling from a rope 100 metres in the air, that view etches itself into your mind forever.

Shaye and I just returned from the Waitomo Adventures 4 hour lost world caving trip. Already, we want to go back!

If you'd like an unforgettable adventure in a knock-your-socks-off location you might like to try Waitomo Adventures. Here's why...


1. Dress Up Like A Real Explorer With Full-On Caving Gear

waitomo adventures caving gear
Dressing up in caving gear is fun

Remember playing dress-up as a kid? My favourite outfit was my Superman one. There's something about wearing a cape and your undies on the outside of your pants that makes you feel like you can fly.

Caving is no different.

Putting on harnesses, carabiners, helmets and even little head lamps gets you right in the mood.

It primes your adrenaline pump and gives you courage for the awesomeness ahead.


2. Feel Your Heart Thumping As You Hang 100m In The Air

abseil 100m on the lost world adventure at waitomo caves
Look at those tiny people

The lost world is an enormous chasm that opens up into the earth. The only way to get to the bottom... a 100m abseil.

Before you get started, your guide will show you a sight that ties your stomach in a knot. From a view point you'll see a platform in the distance with some ropes hanging into the depths. That platform is where your abseil begins. It looks a long way down.

When you finally stand on that platform, you can confirm...

It is a long way down.

At this point your knee's will turn to jelly. Your heart beat will spike. You will want to climb back in the womb.

But you've already committed so there's no turning back. You just have to trust the logical part of your brain. Our guide, Scott had done this over 1100 times so I held onto that thought for dear life.

And that's when Scott told us to hop off the platform and begin our descent.

Did I mention it's a long way down?



3. Discover A Lost World Below The Earth

waitomo adventures lost world
The lost world is the perfect name

Once you reach the bottom of the abseil, you get a true feeling for how strange this place is. There are...

  • Prehistoric rock formations
  • Ancient looking plants
  • Swirling layers of magical mist

I swear I could hear a Tyrannosaurus Rex stalking us down there.

Once your legs have come back to life, you'll make your way up the valley and head for the caves. That's where the underground portion of the trip starts.

Side-note: Because you're underground, the Waitomo Adventures are a good option for when it's raining in New Zealand... Which is pretty often in winter!


4. Chat Like Old Mates By The Underground River

chilling out by the underground river at the lost world in Waitomo
The underground river is a nice place to take a break

Something that's nice about the Waitomo Adventures is that they're in small groups. We only had 2 others in our group plus Scott, our guide. At a maximum they take 8 people with 2 guides.

The good thing about this is that it's relaxed and friendly.

I enjoyed chilling out by the underground river, taking in the surroundings and having a chat.

Some of the other tour operators in Waitomo have got much larger groups of around 20 to 30 people. They are much more touristy and don't have that one-on-one personal touch.



5. Watch And Learn About Those Freaky-Cool Glow Worms

glow worms in the waitomo caves
Beautiful glow worms in the caves

Like some people I know, glow worms are much prettier with the lights off.

If you see them up close they're kinda gross. They're actually just a bunch of slimy maggots with lightbulbs for backsides.

But they look amazing in the dark. Like looking at a starry sky on a clear night.


There are not as many glow worms on this trip as other caves. But these ones feel more special because they're part of this magical valley.


6. Test Your Nerves As You Climb A 30m Ladder

climb up a 30m ladder
The only way out is up

I was expecting this bit to be easy. I mean, I'd just done a 100m abseil, what's a 30m ladder.

I was wrong.

I was trying my hardest to focus on the amazing rock formations around me. But it was difficult because whenever you look down you feel woozy.

I enjoyed my climb, it got my heart racing, but it was a relief when I finally reached the top.

10 minutes later and I was out of the caves. At this point I only had 1 regret. I wish I had done the 7 hour lost world adventure.

If you're travelling around New Zealand and have got some time in the central North Island then I highly recommend the lost world adventure. Check out the Waitomo Adventures website for more info on this and other adventures.

TIP: If you book your Lost World Adventure more than 2 days in advance, like we did, you get quite a decent discount. Definitely worth doing!

TIP 2: The 4 hour Lost World is a dry adventure... Personally, I wanted to get wet and wild (jumping into underground cave rivers!)... So the 7 hour lost world trip would have been even better!