It’s around 150 km from Tongariro to Waitomo and we spent a fair bit of the morning travelling. As we’re travelled around the last few days were are realizing there are areas where we could have created some space in our schedule possibly by doing some of the traveling in the evening and then creating some time earlier the following day. In this case we could have done that.
We decided today that we would just do a Waitomo caves tour. Arriving in Waitomo it is clear that the area is a major commercial operation (which is completely not what I had expected) and there are several options or tours or combinations of tours available with different companies. We elected for a ‘mini-adventure’ type tour with the Legendary Black Water Rafting Company.
The tour is around three hours and involves donning a wetsuit and then being led underground where you are expected to jump backwards off small waterfalls onto a rubber ring and then variously scrambling, climbing and floating on underground streams (some of which were quite fast flowing and deep). We chose this as overall I expected that the glowworms themselves would not be that interesting (and I was right). Overall I think it’s a good experience and worth the $128 (per person) fee.
By the time we had finished the tour it was time to start heading north for our overnight stop in Hamilton. We decided to spend a few minutes on the way at the Otorohanga Kiwi House and Native Bird Park specifically because we wanted to see a Kiwi and they are almost impossible to see in the wild.
We’re staying overnight at Shailers B&B and leaving tomorrow for the South Island. We’ve reached the half-way point in our tour!