The Waipu Caves were better than I expected
Recently we went with a Meetup group to explore the Waipu caves & region.
Ryan and I were debating all weekend long whether or not we should go to this Meetup with a group we had gone to White Island with a few weeks back. We were going back and forth based on the weather, the fact it was a 2 hour drive one way, plus the fact we would have to wake up super early.
We finally caved in and decided we were going to go. To our surprise, It turned out to be an absolutely gorgeous day in Waipu. The sun was shining bright and of course we didn't bring any sunscreen.
We met up with our group late morning at the start of the caves. We went on a miniature hike through some of the trails located along side of the cave before making our way in . A lesson I learned on this trip in particular is that bug spray is now essential with the warm weather coming in to season. Sand flies are real and their bites hurt really badly.
For the cave, we were told to bring good water shoes, a head lamp or torch light (flash light) with us. We walked essentially into a pitch black cave with the hopes of seeing glow worms hanging from the ceiling. From the pictures I saw online, it didn't seem like there were going to be many at all. Walking deeper and deeper into the cave and stumbling around in the water we made our way to this long pathway that was just lit up with thousands of glow worms. It looked absolutely magnificent.
Glow worms are larvae of a special type of fly known as the fungus gnat. The glow worms tail shines from a light that is equivalent to the human kidney. Apparently all insects have this organ but the glow worm is able to produce a blue/green light from it.
Before going into the cave I had made friends with someone who ended up letting me borrow their tripod for my camera. I stood in the pitch dark cave essentially feeling like Gollum from Lord of the Rings trying to capture the perfect photos of the glow worms. I got completely covered in mud and essentially was shooting manually in the dark on uneven rock surfaces and in water. I came out of the cave with camera and myself completely covered in mud. It was definitely a funny site to see.
After checking out the caves we went to the Waipu Coast area and went on a walk to the North Island Pancake Rocks. These rocks were exactly like the Pancake Rocks that are so famous in the South Island of New Zealand. The cool thing about these is you can actually tramp right next to them and walk on them. They are honestly so much cooler than the ones in the South Island and worth the trip to Waipu to see.
The coastal hike took a bit longer than we had expected and the weather towards the end did start getting pretty bad. Lucking we finished in time before it started pouring. On our way back to Auckland, unfortunately we had to make like a 30-45 minute detour and take a dirt road. The main highway road to Auckland had a major accident. I guess that is the way of life when you live in a tiny country with hardly any major highways. It's definitely worth it though. Come see for yourself.