During our trip to New Zealand for the high holidays, we traveled around the north island. One of our stops was at Waitomo, where we went black water rafting. Most people expect black water rafting to be like white water rafting but underground (hence the black water), but really, you just float through the water on an inner tube though the caves of Waitomo.
Some companies do repelling, rock climbing, zip lining, and caving, (all inside the caves) but the one that we did was just the tubing, along with a waterfall jump and built in waterslide. We all got into wetsuits and went into the cave. As we floated down the river in our tubes, we saw the sparkling cave top above us. Covered in glowworms, it looked like the starriest sky that you’d ever seen. In the distance we could hear the rush of a waterfall, the water falling over it colder than ice.
We went right to the source of the sound and got to jump over the fall. It wasn’t high- only six feet- but the water below was only about two or three feet deep, so we fell backwards while sitting in our tubes and no one hit the bottom.
We continued on our way and saw more glowworms. To all stay together so that our guide could easily direct us as one, each person had to hold the feet of the person behind them. Then we were pulled in the right direction. It felt like you were one piece of a caterpillar because you’d be pushed and condensed and then pulled and lengthened.
The next waterfall was a twenty foot drop and again shallow at the bottom, so this one couldn’t be jumped. The company actually built a waterslide and used the water from the fall to make you slide. It was really steep and fast so you did lightly hit the bottom, but you barely felt it.
Apparently there was also a waterfall climb that you could do at the beginning, but there wasn’t enough time.
It was a really awesome experience. You can only see glowworms in Australia and New Zealand, but New Zealand has the bigger population of the insect.
-Danielle, back in Fiji