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Waitomo cave tour vs spellbound

Canberra, Australia
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63 posts
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Waitomo cave tour vs spellbound


I will be travelling to Waitomo area with my two kids aged 10 and 12. Does spellbound tour visit different caves to the waitomo cave gloworm tour. Also is Raukai the most spectacular of the caves you can visit. I like the sound of the small group size of the spellbound tour but really I want to spend my time in the most spectacular ones. We have seen caves here in Aus before so are looking for the best NZ has to offer.

Tks for any advice.

Christchurch, New...
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for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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1. Re: Waitomo cave tour vs spellbound

Yes, Spellbound have their own two caves on private farmland, a few KM from the Village of Waitomo Caves. One cave is dry, with limestone formations and the other has a river where you travel a short distance in a boat, propelled along an overhead wire in total silence - quite magical. In between you get a picnic morning tea and a chance to feed tame eels. My Chinese tour groups love it. It is a long time since I did Ruakuri so I can't compare, but many people feel they are herded into Waitomo in large groups.

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2. Re: Waitomo cave tour vs spellbound

We went with Spellbound in February and really enjoyed our experience and were glad we used a smaller operator when we saw all the huge tour buses outside Waitomo Caves. Our guide was informative and friendly. Zhuhai is spot on when she says its magical - like a big fairy grotto. It was one of my highlights of NZ. Also the journey across farmland to get to the caves is good.

NSW, Australia
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3. Re: Waitomo cave tour vs spellbound

It is hard to compare when you only do one cave tour ... but we really enjoyed Ruakuri...and to a lesser extent the Glow Worm Cave also offered by the Black Water Rafting Co. See trip report tripadvisor.com.au/…49016800 for more details.

Rotorua, New Zealand
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4. Re: Waitomo cave tour vs spellbound

My Wife & I had a Really great time at Waitomo Caves last year. Really wellworth visiting too.

Ballarat, Australia
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5. Re: Waitomo cave tour vs spellbound

When we were in Waitomo we enjoyed the Spellbound wet trip the most. We were the only people on the trip and it was pitch black, with an eerie rumble from the water that kept getting closer - very spooky. (It's actually a small weir where they moor the boat.) Without any lighting your eyes adapt to the darkness and by the end of the trip you can read a book by the light of the glowworms. After that we found the Waitomo Caves trip a bit disappointing - the main viewing area is all lit up and has walkways, so we didn't feel like we were really in a cave at all - it felt a bit like a movie set to us.

Those were the only two sightseeing caves we did - the boys wanted to do blackwater tubing and stuff which I wasn't interested in and the girls were too little so I stayed on the farmstay with them. I'm sure they're all interesting in their own way though, so do squeeze in as many as you can. :)

Sydney Australia
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6. Re: Waitomo cave tour vs spellbound


we really enjoy caves so when we went to Waitomo we had several nights and did all of the show caves as well as Spellbound. Perhaps it doesn't help much but Spellbound and Ruakuri caves are just different experiences. IMHO one is not better than the other. One of the features I really enjoyed about the Ruakuri cave was the entrance way and the huge spiral going down, it felt so "James Bond"! and the slope was really easy to walk back up. They did a great job on the engineering to be able to reopen it. There's interesting history and formations within the cave as well and a few glow worms. We were glad to have done the tour.

Easily the best for glow worms IMHO is the main Waitomo Glow Worm cave. I felt the biggest contrast is the noise. The Glow Worm Cave is quiet. The cave with glow worms on Spellbound is near some sort of waterfall so it's noisy. Quite a different experience altogether. The day we were there the main glow worm cave had many more lights over a considerably bigger ceiling area and in the quiet it felt very much like a special natural cathedral. I also found the boats at the glow worm cave more comfortable. They use tinnies with flat seats. Spellbound we were sitting on the rounded edges of an inflatable. We did the main glow worm cave towards the end of the day and found it wasn't crowded, so if your schedule allows and you can do that, it's probably a good plan. In the dark the presence of another boat following along after you wouldn't be a problem IMHO. Spellbound was good for the more personal approach of the guide. More interactive and there's the opportunity for a little walk along the way as well. Mind you, the guide we had on Ruakuri was friendly too. No doubt various guides have different approaches and even different moods on any given day.

So, basically, IMHO all the caves at Waitomo were a good experience and we had a great time over the few days. They don't have crystal as spectacular as the crystal you can see at Jenolan, or better than you'd see at Carey's Caves at Wee Jasper, but they have other features that are unique to the area that make the visit worthwhile.

Edited: 12 July 2013, 04:56
7. Re: Waitomo cave tour vs spellbound

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