Saturday, May 14, 2011

Spellbound glowworm caves

Two hours away from Auckland is Waitomo, a must-visit place for its famous glowworm caves. Waitomo offers a lot of cave tours to choose from but in our case, we decided to go with Spellbound Glowworm Tours.

Booking is necessary and it is important to tell the guide if you have medical concerns that may affect your caving activity. What I liked about this tour is that the group is limited to 12 people, a smaller group means better view of the cave. Price per adult is $67.50 and includes shuttle service going to the cave and 3 1/2 hour combined tour of the glowworm and walk-through cave. Unlike other cave tours, Spellbound allows you to take pictures inside the cave and the best thing about it is that you won't get wet while touring the cave.

On your way to the cave, the guide will give a short history of Waitomo and how the place evolved into one of the best caving places in the country. On the middle of the ride, you can choose whether you'll have a 5-minute walk to the cave or ride in the shuttle on your way there. I suggest you take a walk to absorb the sights and warm yourself up for a long cave walk ahead.

Before entering the cave, the guide will give you some safety instructions and special caving helmets. You don't need to be worried about your safety inside the cave because the walkway has hand railings, some parts of the floor are matted to avoid slipping. All you have to do is to mind your head for you may bump into low-hanging stalactites. Halfway inside the cave, you will immediately be mesmerized by the glowing cave ceiling. Though photography is allowed, they will appreciate it if you don't use flash inside the cave.

Thirty minutes of your tour will be spent on a raft ride under the glowworms. The raft ride is just gentle and slow which will enable you to look at the glowworms better.

The tour does not end there, after a short coffee break, you will proceed with a tour of another cave.

This cave doesn't have many glowworms in it but you will appreciate its cave features because the Spellbound people worked round the clock building well-lit and safe walkways.

All-in-all this tour is one of the best and well-worth your money because the tour is long and features two caves. The guide is well-informed of the caves' history and friendly.  The cave is well-maintained and apart from the built walkways, there aren't any part of the cave that has been altered so you can appreciate the cave's genuinity and marvel at one of New Zealand's natural wonders.


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