The jump itself was exhilarating if over quickly. A big step into nothingness and the adrenaline-packed plummet was in full flow, flying down to the building tops below and staring out over that beautiful sea view.
Unstrapped at the bottom and bag recollected, it was time to get on with the rest of the day. In at 10am, out by 10.45am having leapt off an 193m building. Adventure waits for no man in New Zealand, and there’s plenty of the stuff to go around.
New Zealand Below: Caving
We’re standing 65m below ground, waist-deep in 12 degree water in the Waitomo Caves with less room than a killer whale at SeaWorld. It’s not the only time we’ve been in the water in New Zealand, but it’s certainly the coldest.
Surfing hadn’t required a wetsuit, canyoning in the stunning Piha Canyon; abseiling down giant waterfalls into perfect blue pools, had required one, but it hadn’t been too chilly. Whitewater rafting on the Kaituna river, taking on the seven metre biggest commercially rafted waterfall in the world, had pretty much been like a journey through a tropical rainforest.
“If they had called them the Waitomo Maggot Caves you wouldn’t have come down here, would you?”
This, standing 213ft below ground level in the Waitomo Caves, was something really quite different.
Stalactites hang down from the alien-like rock formations on the roof of the cave, 10 or 20 metres above. The walls show signs of erosion and wear taken place over millions of years. The sounds of waterfalls can be heard funnelling far through the passageways.
And yet neither us, nor any of the company we’re travelling with, could care less about any of that. We’re all fixated on something far more unique and compelling; the glowworms.
Dangling from nearly every surface in the passageway since we first abseiled the 35m into the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, to give them their full name, have been stunning sparkles of blue illuminating the darkness.