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“Another great spot to see” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Abbey Caves

Abbey Caves
Abbey Caves Road, Whangarei, New Zealand
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Ranked #4 of 19 attractions in Whangarei
Type: Caverns/ Caves
Attraction Details
Whangarei, New Zealand
11 reviews 11 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Another great spot to see”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 8, 2013

This is a great place to have an explore. A few Caves to explore. Prepare to get wet though as the caves are occasionally deep with water, Head down this way in the dry period.

Visited January 2013
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23 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Whangarei, New Zealand
Top Contributor
99 reviews 99 reviews
10 attraction reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
64 helpful votes 64 helpful votes
“Saw sooooooo many glow worms! Loved it.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 4, 2013 via mobile

As a free alternative to Waitomo caves its awesome! Saw loads of glow worms. We wore wetsuit shoes and they were the best. Was water up to our knees. Don't go if it's been raining beforehand and otherwise, take a torch each. Head torches would be best. We had 2 lanterns between 6 of us (including 2 under 10s) and it was a little hairy. All good though. Loved it :)

Visited November 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
61 reviews 61 reviews
9 attraction reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
“Worth it just to explore the outside”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 30, 2013

A free attraction well worth visiting for the walk down and through the meadows with some amazing rocks and the beautiful backdrop of NZ hills. As others have said you need to be fit with proper caving equipment to safely explore inside the caves but you can clamber around the outside as long as you have suitable footwear. Definitely go take a look for yourself

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Top Contributor
200 reviews 200 reviews
68 attraction reviews
Reviews in 44 cities Reviews in 44 cities
129 helpful votes 129 helpful votes
“My no.1 in whangarei”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 28, 2013

Free attraction. Unsupervised, you get to explore caves AND see glow worms, cave formation at your own leisure. This is absolutely must do (although preferrably for those relatively young and fit). Perhaps the best kept secret around. FOr those wanting a more leisurely and set path glowarm experience, try the Kawiti Caves for $15 where you can walk on established paths, not get wet and risk almost no injury compared to Abbey.

You have to visit at your own Abbey at your very own risk. The system can be very dangerous and unsafe. To be responsible, you ought to get a helmet, non slip water shoes and, gloves and head lamp. I have explored the outdoors extensively and did it with a tiny led torch and admit it is doable but at times I had to turn off my torch temporarily just so I could make use of my hands. My torch required constant pressure to stay switched on so I couldn't place in mouth. You will get wet.

Minimal signage inside the caves and I had no cave map. Not sure where I could get one. I got quite confused in the organ and lava caves (largest) and ended up spending 2 each just moving around and probably exploring areas. In the organ I think I explored areas not often explored before coming to a dead end and having to turn around. There are a lot of tight spaces to squeeze into, once you're in, you're in the dark. The lava caves has even more spaces to explore and should have more than one/two extra exits. Unless you are extremely keen, just go in, have fun and turn back out. Exploring should only be done in groups (have a lead and and a backup team, follow ropes and white markings) as some areas can be extremely dangerous and unsafe, not to mention really muddy and slippery.

They should have more education on protecting the gloworms and cave formations. Don't touch them and when observing the glow worm traps, don't blow on it, it causes them to tangle up and ruins all their hard work! Cover your mouth and breath away where possible.

Visited October 2013
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Olympia, WA
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
68 helpful votes 68 helpful votes
“Fantastic free caving and glow worms, but pick up map beforehand”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 26, 2013

This cave exploration was one of the most memorable things we did during a three week holiday on the North Island. It was doubly satisfying to save the more than 100 dollars I would have otherwise spent for a guided tour of the commercialized Waitomo caves. This trio of three caves is free. You can explore at your own pace and may be able to enjoy - as we were - the magical allure of a constellation of glow worms reflected in a cavern pool all by yourself.
There are some caveats. These caves are virtually undeveloped. There are no guides and no signage inside. Considerable clambering over large boulders is required to enter and exit each cave. You are bound to get wet. The water came up to my waist in one underground passage. But if you can deal with this, it adds to the adventure.
You will be more confident in your exploration if you pick up the Abbey Caves guide map at either of the i-SITES in Whangarei. I strongly recommend getting this free brochure beforehand. If you are a guest at certain youth hostels in Whangarei, you can rent helmets and torches from the front desk. These items are not otherwise for rent as far as I could tell. A helmet is reassuring but not essential. I went without because I was travelling by camper van. Instead I purchased a second flashlight and inexpensive water shoes at a discount store in Whangarei before driving to the cave trailhead. With these preparations, the self-guided caving was pure magic.

Visited April 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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