The Wonder of Waitamo Caves

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This morning, we first went to a cave nearby the glowworm cave called Aranui Cave. Cally and I were the only two people who signed up for a tour at that time, so we ended up having a private tour! Unlike the other two caves at Waitomo, this cave has a small, natural entrance.

Entrance to Aranui Cave

Entrance to Aranui Cave

It is also the most decorated cave of the three caves at Waitomo. It is literally covered in stalactites, stalagmites and other limestone formations. Unlike the famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves, it is a dry cave without a river running through it. It’s cathedral room was spectacular. Although not the largest cathedral room that I’ve seen, it is one of the most heavily adorned, making it quite impressive.

Aranui Cave Cathedral Room

Aranui Cave Cathedral Room

Cathedral Room

Cathedral Room

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After Aranui Cave, we went on a thirty-minute bush walk. Called the Ruakuri Bushwalk, the trail loops around the Waitamo area. This forest trail follows the Waitamo Stream surrounded by limestone outcrops. There are even several small caves along the way. In one area, we walked through a small natural tunnel. The largest cave on this trail is the Ruakuri Natural Tunnel. We  took some steps down to a viewing platform within this cave where the Waitamo Stream flows through it.

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Ruakuri Natural Tunnel

Next, we went to the world famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves! There are two levels: the upper level is dry while the lower level has a stream that runs through it. The glowworms are found on the lower level. The cathedral room within the cave has amazing acoustics. The tour guide invited us to sing and a few people on tour did. It was really spectacular. Occasionally, performances are even held there.

Once on the lower level, we rode on a boat through the Glowworm Grotto. Only about the size of a mosquito, the glowworms hang from the ceiling of the cave. It was silent except for the dripping of water from the ceiling. Everyone had to be silent since the glowworms might turn off their light if spooked. I think the silence added to their awe. The gleam of the glowworms was the only light. They sparkled like stars in the night sky. I wish I could have just laid in the boat for an hour while gazing at the glowworms and listening to the water drip. It was otherworldly yet serene.

Waitomo Glowworm Caves Exit

Waitomo Glowworm Caves Exit

With the boat exiting the cave, our tour ended. Unfortunately, it was not possible to take a photo within the cave. This was my second time to the Waitomo Glowworm Caves and I highly recommend it to anyone who has the chance.


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