New Zealand: Natural bridge and Abbey caves

Waitomo is famous for it’s deep limestone caves, rich with stalactites, stalagmites and glowworms. Taking a guided tour through these caves however cost more than our dwindling budget could stomach so we opted for the nearby free attractions which actually turned out to be quite spectacular in themselves. The most impressive of these was called the natural bridge which was formed when the roof of a large cave collapsed leaving just one small section where the roof remains, creating a deep canyon with a bridge over the top.

It’s quite a difficult thing to describe in words but you can see in the pictures that we were walking along what used to be the cave floor and were looking up at the remaining piece of cave ceiling 50ft above our heads.

Waitomo Natural Bridge

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The stream to the bottom left is the old cave floor and you can see the bridge ahead in the centre.

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Directly underneath the bridge, it is believed the whole length of the canyon was once roofed like this section.

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In Waitomo we also stopped off at another old cave which you could walk a small way down inside and have a look at the stalactites and other rock formations. In was here we also had the ‘pleasure’ of seeing our first cave Weta, at which point we almost decided that we didn’t fancy going into the cave after all but were brave and soldiered on! 

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Cave Weta. Hard to tell from the perspective in the photo but it was about 7cm long not including it’s antenna!

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More stalactites.

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Since we’re on the subject of caves, we also did a small bit of exploring in Abbey Caves in Whangarei (pronounced ‘fong-a-ray’… go figure) which were deeper and longer cave systems than we’d seen before and were therefore signposted as only for people with experience in cave exploration. So we decided not to explore too far into these ones, particularly as the signs warned that water levels rise very quickly inside when it rained, and just took some much safer photos of the entrances. Less exciting we know but we used all our cave-related bravery up on the Weta 😉

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Speak to you again soon,

Ben and Jess 🙂

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