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“Night Abseil: Best Tour in Waitomo” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Caveworld

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Cave Tubing at Waitomo Caves
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: Cave World offer two fantastic tours with the aim to create memorable caving and glowworm experiences for all our customers. Either choose our fun-filled black water rafting adventure Tube It, or bring your family and friends along and join our Footwhistle Glowworm Cave Tour, a relaxed one hour guided walk down through glowworm displays and formations. We are A family-run, locally owned and operated business, Cave World specialises in providing the personal and professional touch on our authentic Waitomo tours, with over 10,000 satisfied visitors experiencing our unique piece of New Zealand each year.
Austin, Texas
2 reviews
“Night Abseil: Best Tour in Waitomo”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 24, 2014

I cannot speak to the TubeIt tour since we opted to do the night abseil instead. However, our time with CaveWorld was one of the most memorable of our trip. We were driving up from a post-wedding barbecue in Taranaki the day of our abseil and unfortunately did not have time to call and confirm the reservation we made with CaveWorld through email (since we did not have a NZ mobile and WiFi was hard to find). When we arrived in Waitomo, we found that the shop was closed and feared that we were going to miss out on seeing the glowworms. After asking around at the nearby general store, we were able to get in contact with the owner. Shortly after, Robin (our guide) came to pick us up for the tour. I can't say enough good things about Robin and CaveWorld's flexibility in accommodating us. He was very friendly and extremely knowledgeable about the area. My girlfriend was a bit apprehensive about the whole thing at first due to her fear of heights, but Robin was very reassuring and, after getting comfortable with the equipment and its use, it became a non-issue. The abseil is separate from the main caves, as it is held on a private farm. We enjoyed the experience because it was more personal than the other offers; it was just the two of us and Robin. After gearing up and taking a short walk down to the edge of the crevice, we hooked in around dusk and began the first of two abseils. The first part was spent mostly getting a feel for how to use the equipment since the glowworms were just starting to come out. It was a little nerve-wracking to start, but once we were on our way, it became like second nature. It is dark enough from the start to where you are not able to see the bottom. Although that seems daunting, it was actually more comforting not being able to look down directly to the bottom. When we reached the floor of the crevice, Robin walked us around to look at the glowworms up close and educated us about the area. One thing that may seem a bit scary to some at first is that to get back up to the top, you need to climb a set of four ladders. You are securely hooked in the whole time, so if you did slip the rope would catch you immediately. It can be a bit of a workout, but wasn't all that bad in my opinion. After climbing the ladders, the sun had fully set and we were ready to do our final abseil in the dark, without the aid of our lights. By this time, the glowworms were on full display. Once we took some time for our eyes to adjust, we began to descend again. This time, it was at a slower pace. The sight is surreal on the second trip and it will remain burned in memory (since photos are virtually impossible due to the lighting). At times, I caught myself asking if what I was experiencing was real, because it seemed like an environment straight out of the fantasy books. Robin let us take our time on the way back up, sitting on one of the platforms (hooked in) to take it all in. Bottom line, if you want to see the glowworms in all their glory, sign up for this tour. Even if you are afraid of heights, don't let your fear hold you back because you will miss out on a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Visited February 2014
Thank Gregory E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Wellington, New Zealand
Level Contributor
22 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“There are better options”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 17, 2014

Clearly a lot of people enjoyed the Tube It tour but I didn't love it and wish I'd known more going in as I probably would have chosen something different. It was a bit more physical than I was expecting, by no means overly difficult but just worth knowing as some of the less fit in our group struggled a bit. It starts with a trip to their grotty changing rooms to get everyone sausaged into cold, wet wetsuits, then a drive in an old van to the farm, where you hike uphill through a cow poop filled field to get to the entrance. (Stopping over and over for pictures to ensure you spend the $24 for the CD). You then may hit your head multiple times as you make your way through the caves to the water - I found it really hard to see up with the helmet so it was just one hit after another, may have been user error though! The first time you turn your lights off one of the guides will set off a cap gun to try and startle everyone. It was moderately funny the first time, although I saw it coming, but not when they did it again. And again and again throughout the tour. They then tell you you're going to ride over a waterfall but just kidding, it's a 2m platform that they make you drop off by falling backwards so perhaps expect a lot of painful and dirty water up your nose. Normally no big deal and par for the course, it's tubing after all, but it was worse than expected and sinus pain persisted for hours afterwards (I have no sinus issues). I noticed afterwards that there was a ladder, which wasn't offered as an option. Then it's more floating, often daisy chained together with the person behind you's feet shoved in your armpits, but a good chunk of it is pulling yourself hand over hand along ropes strung up along the rocks. It wasn't difficult but it is an arm workout and of course you aren't able to really look around or enjoy it while trying to maneuver around corners and keep from getting kicked by the person in front of you. Then comes the hydro slide which I was actually really looking forward to. They send you down feet first, laying on your back and tell you to hold your nose. The force of impact at the bottom was so great though that I ended up punching myself in the face instead, and as the water at the bottom is dangerously shallow, twisting a knee. Perhaps user error again but looking at the faces of everyone else as they came through, it appeared no one really enjoyed it - and it was a young adventurous group. Then be prepared to hike many many stairs to get back out. Don't get too excited about the "hot showers and hot drink" they mention - the showers are 4 heads in the wall in the gross changing room (trust me, your high school locker room was nicer) and the drink is crappy hot chocolate out of a machine. I had a voucher so I wasn't bothered by the cost but overall it felt like it was a bit of a low brow operation, especially after taking a tour with another company the next day that was far more organized and professional. The guides were nice guys but were largely preoccupied with playing haunted house instead of ensuring everyone was comfortable and having a good time. The glow worms are great but what you see in the first 20 seconds is pretty much what you're going to get throughout. I was actually quite excited for it and open to anything but it just wasn't what I expected. I may have had misplaced expectations but I wasn't alone, several in the group were very "meh" about it afterward and we were all pretty fit and adventurous. I think it might be great for a family with older, strong, kids and others did enjoy it so YMMV.

Visited January 2014
6 Thank MSCHY
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Salisbury Wiltshire
Level Contributor
54 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“small group footwhistle tour”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 14, 2014

We chose this tour, there are plenty to choose from, on the srength of the positive reviews and were not disappointed. It is one of the newer caves to be opened to the public and so the access and presentation was well designed. Ross our guide was knowledgeable, friendly and obviously enjoyed his job. He includes facts about the local area and sprinkle of good humour. The glow worms were amazing. My only slight criticism was that as photography is allowed there were not enough moments in complete darkness for my liking.

Visited January 2014
Thank Ms_j_Subtle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Widnes, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“The night time abseil was fantastic”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 5, 2014

We had a fantastic time doing the night time abseil. Our guide was really helpful, informative and ensured we were safe and comfortable throughout the trip. Seeing thousands of glow worms light up the cave was incredible but my top tip is to check how to turn off your flash/work out the correct setting on your camera beforehand so you can capture the moment

Visited November 2013
Thank Hannah B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland Region, New Zealand
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Footwhistle Tour”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 3, 2014

Four of us did the FootwhistleCave Evening tour,8pm,and would recommend it highly.Just us and our guide,Barnzi,who was a fount of knowledge with a sense of humour,exceptional.The tour is a dry tour descending down 100 steps,but easy and safe to navigate,both down and back up and very good glow worm displays.The footwhistle stalacmite sculpture is worth the tour cost alone,but for us the hilight was exiting the cave and continuing up through the bush for 50 metres of really great glowing worms!

Thanks for a superb tour,
Geoff,Sharon,Craig, and Barbara.

Visited February 2014
Thank Geoff R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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