GLOW WORM CAVE RAFTING
Updated: Mar 30, 2020
Waitomo, New Zealand
Technically speaking...this isn't a cave full of worms. They're actually maggots. So I'll just throw that out there if you scare easily lol.
The caves were such a cool experience. Going to Waitomo, New Zealand in August, the weather wasn't the most warm to be hanging out in damp clothes, and it only gets colder in the cave water, so keep that in mind, as well!
Before scaring you off too much, I should say, that this was such a cool experience. I did wish I wore my contacts so that I could see the worms better and that I wasn't frozen solid, BUT I'm very glad I sucked it up and went on this tour with Black Water Rafting Co.
We got geared up on site before getting the full run down on what to expect in the caves. This included a wet suit, helmet, fleece sweater (optional), socks, and boots. These were previously worn and sanitized, AKA they hadn't dried completely yet. So being cold and then putting on a wet suit that was dripping, wasn't super ideal in 50 degree weather.
Once we loaded on the bus, the first stop was a river, where we learned about aspects of the cave tour ahead of time. The main ones being (1) how to jump off a small waterfall and (2) how to connect to the rest of the group during a certain portion. To make sure we understood the former, we actually had to practice by jumping into the lake with out floaty. The water was so cold, I actually felt like it knocked the breath out of me. Again, trying not to be too much of a wimp, I sucked it up and we were off to the actual cave site.
Once we were there we got a little information about creatures (eels) that live in the cave and the cave "worms" (maggots), as well. The temperature in the caves is about 60 degrees year round, but I think it was the water that did me over. Once we had to jump off the waterfall and were fully submersed, I started losing feeling in my feet and hands. This only really mattered when we had to stand up and step over rocks and ridges.
Towards the end, they shut off all flashlights, leaving you in the pitch black to stare up at the ceiling at all the beautiful glowing maggots. I made it a point to keep my mouth closed in case anything fell lol.
Once we were out, we all loaded on the bus. I started trying to take off layers to warm up. Both Drew and I were barely able to use our fingers and hands, but we helped each other strip the wet suits. There were hot showers which I took full advantage of. Literally until there was no more hot water lol. They served us soup afterwards which I had multiple bowls of. So even though I was frozen, I thawed out pretty quick.
Overall, like I mentioned, such a cool excursion that I'm glad I went on, but I've also never been more cold and miserable in my entire life lol but sometimes ya gotta deal with it for the experience.