Greetings, and welcome to my caving page.
First of all I'd like to tell you a bit about Cave Conservation and Safety, then some of my experiences, or skip to my Photos or my Links.

Cave Conservation is all about keeping the caves as "original" as possible. That means trying to minimise any effect that we as visitors have on the caves.
Some caves are more fragile than others. Some would be hard to damage even if you let a bull loose in there, but the majority require a lot more care. Even breathing can be damaging to some caves!! The other important thing to remember is not to break things and not to take anything out of the caves. Cave formations take years - sometimes hundreds or even thousands of years - to form. So any damage done will probably never be "repaired".
Then there is the safety issue! Caves can be dangerous places if you are not familiar with them, or if you don't have the proper equipment. If you do injure yourself in a cave, it can take a very long time to get you out and hypothermia can be your biggest enemy.
If you are going to venture into a cave, I suggest doing it with one of the Caving clubs around the country. If you are going to go anyway, remember a few basics - torch (1 each!), helemt, good footware. Never cave alone. It is best if the torch is a head lamp, so your hands are free.

Remember SAFETY FIRST!

I got started with caving around about 10 years ago through an abseil school that I was involved in through Scouting. I had been Abseiling for about 8 years prior to that. I don't do much abseiling any more, unless it's into a cave of course!
My very first experience of caving was actually a couple of years earlier but was a bit of a disaster. I was part of a group of Venturer Scouts who were being escorted through an "easy" cave by two very experienced guides. We were told that the cave was an easy abseil in, followed by a "walk through to the exit". We abseiled in the easy 20m pitch, no problems there. Then after walking through the cave for a while we were informed that the guides weren't sure if we were in the correct cave! Shortly after that we came accross a dead end. We made our way back to the entance Tomo no problem, but no one had any climbing equipment (of course NOW I know better and take it even if I shouldn't need it!). Luckily, when we didn't show up at a meeting point with some others from the group, they came looking for us. They ended up calling out the Cave Rescue Team who came and retrieved several tired and cold Venturers and a couple of very embarrased guides.

Then I had an opportunity through our abseil school to be part of a group to go to lost world. I wont go into all the boring detail of the trip etc.. I will just give you a quick summary. Also check out some photos.
The trip was to include a day of caving, then a day spent at Lost World. However the day at Lost World not only included abseiling into the Tomo, we were also going to Ascend back up the rope about 100 meters!!
The small catch was that we had to be able to complete the asscent in under 20 minutes. This meant that before we even got close to Waitomo, we had to do a bit of training. This included a trip to Waitakare Dam where we found out that even if you are 50 meters away from a descent site, you are still in danger of falling rocks!! We also went up and down trees many, many, many times. Eventually our Leader decided we were capable of our goal and off we went to Waitomo.
The first day we were there involved a caving trip in the morning, followed by a bit of a test by the Lost World Guides. That is, we had to go up and down the equivalent of Lost World height in 20 minutes. Everyone got through ok.
Later in the day we had another quick cave trip, followed by a good feed and some sleep to prepare ourselves for the next days activities.
Sunday: Lost World here we come. What can I say, it was AWESOME! A huge hole in the ground with amazing vegetation clinging to the walls, mist in the air and way down there somewhere is a river flowing through. We all got paired off and waited our turn. The abseil took about 10 - 15 minutes just to get down (with a bit of sightseeing on the way!). Once we were down there we had just enough time to have a look around the main cavern and about 100 meters into the cave. Then we had to head back out. The asscent up the rope was hard work, but we had trained for it so had no excuses.
We had a great time. Since then I have been into Lost World twice, though we only came out the "Spider Hole" those times, which is only about 30 meters! These days, of course, the only way in there is with the tour operators. If you've got the money, it's a great trip!

Since my Lost World trips I have joined the Hamilton Tomo Group and have met many people and had many great adventures. Although compared to most people in the club I am very much an amateur and, due to the fact I hardly ever get underground, I struggle to call myself a caver at all! The pictures below show some of them.
There are many great caving trips to do around Waitomo, and other areas. Most of them are NOT commercial, however you do need to belong to the NZ Speleological Society to get to some of them. To try and keep these caves as natural as possible, the locations of the caves are not published, except to NZSS members. Conservation is a MUST! Caves take thousands of years to form, and moments to destroy.
The best way to try caving is through a club. Click on the picture of our hut to find out about our club (it's not expensive - and you can try it out first to see if you like it) or click the link to the NZSS for info on other clubs around the country.

H.T.G's Hut.
This is the Hamilton Tomo Group's Hut at Waitomo.
The Hut also accepts Backpackers/Travellers at very reasonable rates.
Phone the hut on +64 7 8787442 or e-mail me for more information.

E-mail Me


Back to the top!

Home

Last Updated: April 2005

Valid XHTML 1.0!