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.
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