Is there a latent speleologist inside you waiting to get out and explore the limestone labyrinths of the underworld?
Caving opportunities abound in New Zealand, which has extensive areas of karst limestone landscape. Serious caving enthusiasts can stay in the Tomo Group Lodge at Waitomo and meet up with members of the largest caving club in the country. In the Nelson area caving clubs regularly run trips into the Takaka caving systems, which are among the longest and deepest in the world.
Visitors who would like to taste caving adventure and view wondrous sculptured limestone formations, subterranean streams and waterfalls, prehistoric fossils and galaxies of glow-worms, can join guided tours in many parts of the country. The well-publicised ones in the North Island are Waipu (Northland), Waikaretu (Auckland), Ahuriri (Hawke’s Bay), and Waitomo. In the South Island notable areas are Collingwood, Takaka and Murchison (Nelson), and Karamea, Charleston and Greymouth (West Coast).
The full-on adrenalin rush caving tours at Waitomo are ideal for giving you a memorable hands-on experience of real caving using professional equipment. There are numerous high ‘Rambo Rating’ excursions involving difficult cavern traverses, tight rock squeezes, passageway crawls, rock chute slides and waterfall abseils, replicating the best of pioneer cave exploration. Similar tours on the West Coast involve 30 metre descents on static abseil ropes and 30 metre hydro slides on water-smoothed rock.
There is a wealth of subterranean adventure out there just waiting for you and other brave, resourceful troglodytes. Just sign up, don your helmet, wetsuit and rubber boots and drop in for the time of your life.