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Hidden gem

Fiona Thomson

Recently when we were traveling south from Whangārei on State Highway 1, we spotted a sign for Waipu Caves.


It was a spur of the moment decision to investigate further, as we turned onto a gravel side road. The road took us on a short journey through a variety of scenery including wetlands, farmland and native bush.


On arrival, we were meet by the friendly staff who were just sending a group of school students off with their guides to explore the caves. We enjoyed our hour or so guided walk through the Milky Way Glow Worm cave, where our guide taught us about cave conservation, its geology and ecology. The concrete path, and stainless steel handrails, made for a nice experience as we got up close to the underworld cave formations of stalactites and stalagmites.


This is a wet cave system, with water flowing deep below us. This provided just the right habitat to see New Zealand’s world-famous glow worms.


There are a number of other activities available at the 320-acre park, including; caving, mountain biking, bush walks through naturally sculpted limestone formations, orienteering, abseiling, rock climbing and archery by arrangement.


There are also campground sites set aside for tenting and parking motorhomes, at this newly opened attraction.

up close to the stalactites and stalagmites

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