Welcome to the next level of thrill rides – deep underground. Black-water rafting is a roller coaster spin on an inflated inner tube along subterranean rapids – the cold, darkness and disorientating fear are thrown in for free… it involves abseiling into pitch-black caves and then white water rafting in darkness.
The sport started back in the late Eighties at the magnificent Ruakuri Cave at Waitomo. Now known as the Black Labyrinth, this 3-hour cave tubing adventure starts with a 100ft abseil down into the darkness of a huge chasm lined with stunning limestone formations. At the bottom there’s a claustrophobic scramble through a dank, intricate maze, with the occasional crawl and squeeze through tight gaps. You emerge into a vast, cathedral-like cavern offering one of the most fascinating spectacles of the natural world – a galaxy of tiny lights that are in fact millions of the famous native glow-worms, which live in the caves.
When you reach the river, you climb onto an inflatable tube and let the water carry you through tunnels that have been cut out of the rocks over millions of years. Sometimes the water moves gently through caves pinpricked with the soft blue light of more glow-worms; at other times, the current spills you over rapids and eddies, with only helmet torches to show where rock ends and water begins…
PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO DO THE VIRTUAL TOUR “TOP RIGHT” THIS WILL GIVE YOU A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF THE CHALLENGES THIS CAVE PUTS FORWARD