Don’t be alarmed. This wasn’t a thought that crossed through our minds but that of a Waitomo resident. Said in jest but it does give the idea of the type of location we were at. We had gotten a few funny looks when we said we were staying on a couple of nights in Waitomo and driving into the VERY small village we soon understood why.
Waitomo’s place on the map is due to it’s extensive networks of caves and, perhaps most attractive of all, the abundance of glow worms. But that’s all there really is here. Caves. And a convenience store that sells a lot of pot-noodles. Oh and a bar. I did spot a bar. It’s appeal for us was that we managed to get a cheap private room in a very lovely lodge with a wood burning stove, a cat and a dog. Wondeful.
We had a choice of activities we could do on our first day in Waitomo and opted for the slightly dryer cave walk with Spellbound. Although, we didn’t remain that dry as New Zealand decided to become very English and rain ALL day.
The caves are a bumpy 20 minutes drive outside the village. The glow worms are spectacular. You can board a boat and serenely bob down an underground river staring up at what can only be described as the starriest sky I have ever seen. Our tour guide also taught us the trick of creating vibrations by banging on the boat to wake up more glow worms. They are both deaf and blind.
Waitomo suffers from sink holes and the next set of caves had been particularly badly hit. Bones of animals, who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, littered the ground. But the, in some places mile high, sink holes made for some good viewing and pictures.
Our hostel, Juno Hall, is like a cosy cabin in the middle of nowhere. Wooden, log fire, large communal area and friendly people. With the rain scheduled all night we’ll be very happy here.