Spelunking Fun: Waipu Caves New Zealand

Our destination was to the Bay of Islands, but I wanted to break up our drive en route from Auckland. A bit of searching on the interwebs led me to Waipu Caves. Undeveloped caves free for spelunkers to wander around. CHECK. Blackwater rivers to splash around in. CHECK. Thousands of turquoise colored glow worms overhead. CHECK.

We couldn’t wait. Should have seen the grins on our faces too, once we’d waded shin-deep into the clammy waters and adjusted our eyes to the darkness and started to make out the dreamy glow of the glow worms all around us. We were in heaven.

Spelunking in  Waipu Caves
Chris walking towards the Waipu Cave entrance


Spelunking in  Waipu Caves
Near the mouth of Waipu Caves


Spelunking in  Waipu Caves
Figuring out our route – so many passages to explore


Spelunking in  Waipu Caves


It was two hours of pure bliss. We picked our way in the pitch black cut only with the narrow beams of light from our headlamps, through streams and waterfalls, over rocks and stalagmites, stooped our way through tunnels slippery with mud, all the while gawking at the celestial glow of the worms around us. We’d arrived late in the afternoon, just as most of the crowd (maybe two dozen if that!) were making their way out of the caves, so for stretches in the passages, we felt like wanderers exploring the unknown.
Heh, organized caving tours – especially those with running show lights – seem just so blah now.

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