I’m not afraid of heights, but I’ll admit that peering over the ledge into the 100-metre (about 330 feet) decent awaiting me sends me into a bit of a panic attack. I can’t see the bottom of the cave, as a thick layer of mist fills the gaping shaft. Our guide assures me that I can’t fall; that the rope attached to my waist will allow me to control the speed of my decent…but my mind is screaming at me “Are you crazy?! You’re going to die!” It takes everything in me to slide off the ledge and allow myself to hang mid-air over the void.
It takes 30 minutes to reach the bottom of the cave, and once we arrive, I am surrounded by pre-historic rock formations with plants jutting through the crevices and an understanding of how very small I am in this world.
Our guide leads us through various sections of the cave. Sometimes we climb, sometimes we crawl, and other times we tip-toe across small ledges, hooking ourselves to the carabineers as we go. About half way through our exploration, our guide tells us to turn off our flashlights and look up. As we do,the ceiling of the cave begins to glow, covered by hundreds of glow worms. This is truly a whole other world beneath our own.
This adventure took place in the Waitomo Caves on New Zealand’s north island. We did the 'Lost World Challenge' through ‘Waitomo Adventures’ company. Their website is www.waitomo.co.nz Enjoy the rush!