This morning we checked out of our hotel and drove two hours to Waitomo and the famous Glow work caves. We had heard good reviews for the Spellbound Glow Worm Cave Tours, so we checked in with them when we arrived. Unfortunately, they had a large group and would not be able to accommodate us on a tour that would fit our travel schedule. Next door to the Spellbound office is the Waitomo General Store which served lunch. So we ate lunch and discussed our options.
After doing a bit of research on the cave tours we chose Discover Waitomo Cave Tours. Because of our time constraints the put us on the Ruakuri Cave tour. We drove to the cave entrance. It is a guided tour, so we had to wait about 30 minutes for the next tour to begin. The tour starts by walking across the street to the cave entrance. Our guide took us inside the cave and down a huge spiral walkway. The whole cave tour was along improved paths throughout the cave. At one point in the tour you reach a large pipe in the middle of the path. If you look up through it, you can see the sky. Our guide told us that this was how concrete was transported into the cave during construction.
The Māori consider this cave to be sacred ground, so at the end of the cave, following Māori tradition we sprinted our solves with water to wash off the sacred spirits and leave them in the cave.
After the tour we continued our travels. We had a two hour drive the the Chateau Tongariro where we will spend the next few nights.
We arrived at the Chateau and checked in. We chose to walk across the street to Tussock’s Bar and Restaurant. They had a great beer selection on tap. We shared a pizza for dinner and enjoyed another beer after dinner. The restaurant has a ski lodge atmosphere including a fire place. It was a relaxing spot to end the day.