Auckland Activity Weekend

Jane Gunn-Lewis Director


May 27, 2015

Black Water Rafting at Waitomo Caves

By Marie Gleichauf, Rice University student, University of Auckland

My study abroad group went to see the Waitomo Glowworm Caves and surf in Raglan. The tour of the caves consisted of getting in a super thick wetsuit and spelunking (cave exploring for the laymen). We walked, tubed, and jumped off waterfalls backwards in an extremely dark and deep cave. The water was so cold that our fingers and toes went numb fairly quickly, which we were assured was completely normal. We had lights on our helmets but often had them off so that we could view the glowworms on the ceiling of the cave better.

Fun fact: glowworms do not exist. The shiny green lights we saw on the roof of the cave were actually little poops from the larvae of a fly that takes 9 months to become an adult and promptly dies within 36 hours of being full grown since it hasn’t developed any means to eat or digest (good job, evolution). So yes, we and many other tourists, have paid good money to see lots of shiny maggot droppings. It was awesome!

Definitely one of the most unique and extreme experiences of my life. After the tour we drove to Raglan which was a cute, quirky, surfer town similar to many in California. We stopped at a beautiful waterfall on the way. On Sunday morning we had a surf lesson which I watched, seeing as I hate the ocean and lack balance. Watching my friends fall and in some cases surf was just as enjoyable though. For the whole trip we stayed in backpackers (what Kiwis call hostels), which usually consisted of lots of bunk beds in a small room and a shared bathroom down the hall. These places were surprisingly nice and cozy and very affordable. I’ll probably experience more of them when I travel to the South Island during my two week break.