Rafting underground through the Waitomo Caves

For the adventure seeker heading to New Zealand’s north island this is the perfect activity to plan. 

Waitomo Caves, North Island, New Zealand

The day I went black water rafting is one I will never forget. It was one of the most amazing experiences. 

The view as you belay down into the cave

You belay from a beautiful green landscape down into a system of underground caves. Grab a tube and go for one of the best rides. 

Belaying into the cave system

Once deep inside the caves with no natural light your guide will use a noisemaker to bring out the glow worms. They instantly light up the caves. 

At some spots on the journey you have to find unique ways to get through certain areas
Even though we had just met these people you quickly end up working as a team
The glow worms are not easy to capture on camera but those dots above us, those are the very long glow worms hanging from the top of the cave
Limestone formations inside the caves

Waitomo is a bit off the beaten path. So you need to rent a car to get there. Not much around. But worth the journey through all New Zealand’s windy roads. 

The victorious picture of our group after we rock climbed out of the cave
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No. Really. How safe are hostels?

It depends where you are. It depends how they’re designed. And it depends how much luggage you travel with. 

Héraðsskólinn Hostel, Laugarvatn, Iceland
Héraðsskólinn Hostel, Laugarvatn, Iceland


Some have rooms with bunks lined up next to one another. 

Our private room at Héraðsskólinn Hostel, Laugarvatn, Iceland

Some have private bedrooms that lock and shared bathrooms down the hallway. 

Shared bathroom, Héraðsskólinn Hostel, Laugarvatn, Iceland


In Iceland, our hostel, Heraosskolinn, was nicer than some hotels we visited. Though we did have to use a shared bathroom. A good question to ask when booking, how many rooms/people share the bathrooms. Because the last thing you want is lining up to shower and wasting precious time you could be using to explore. 

View from our private room, Héraðsskólinn Hostel, Laugarvatn, Iceland

In New Zealand, we rented a room at Funky Green Voyager with two beds with a door we could lock. We shared a bathroom.

Funky Green Voyager Hostel, Rotorua, New Zealand

Honestly, these were both amazing experiences because we met so many incredible people from all over the globe. 

Héraðsskólinn Hostel, Laugarvatn, Iceland
Héraðsskólinn Hostel, Laugarvatn, Iceland


If you have a suitcase and decide to stay at a hostel where you share a room with other travelers you don’t know, think about where you will keep your luggage secure while you go off exploring for the day. 

If you have a rental car, you can secure your things in that. But bottom line, if you don’t travel light a shared room at a hostel is likely not your best option. 

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