What an experience, from the check in at the day spa to the great explanation of how the pods work... read more
What an experience, from the check in at the day spa to the great explanation of how the pods work... read more
Magical experience. My wife and I did the Lost World tour. Great mix of physical challenge and... read more
My wife and I signed up for the 3+ hour Tumutumu Toobing experience on a whim and had a wonderful time! We were lucky that there were only 2 of us, so we had Charlie all to ourselves.
Pay attention to the description (which we didn’t - we just showed up), because you might think this is just a lazy tube ride through a cave. Nothing could be further from the truth!
This is an active excursion. Yes, you spend a few minutes on 2 small tube rides, but most of the time is spent walking through the cave. It’s a wonderful experience from start to finish.
If you are not healthy or are overweight, this isn’t the tour for you.
The guide drives you to the cave, where you change into wetsuits, boots, and helmets. Be sure to bring your towel and socks that are long enough to cover your ankles. (You can buy them there if needed.). Don’t bring your camera or go-pro, as they are not allowed. You won’t miss them, however, as the guide will take pictures on her camera and then email to you at no charge.
After gearing up, you walk past the sheep through a beautiful area to get to the ladder down to the cave. You are then led through a very, very narrow. I’m 6 feet tall, 190 lbs and had no problem getting through, even though I don’t enjoy tight places.
Once you get past that claustrophobia test, it’s a wonderful, but active, experience. The guide points out various features along the way. She always made sure we were prepared for each section, with tips and tricks for getting around safely.
At no point were we concerned about safety. However, there are many areas where you have to take great care to avoid misstepping, slipping on rocks, hitting your head, etc.
There were 2 brief swims, which were easy to due given the buoyancy of the wetsuits.
The only request would be to provide neoprene socks during the winter. Our guide estimated the water temp was 6 to 7 degrees Celsius (~45 degrees F). After about an hour with water in our boots our feet lost feeling, which made it difficult to walk on the rocks safely. I would still do and recommend the trip in a heartbeat, but providing socks would make a great adventure even better.
Omg! I can’t gush enough about how great this trip was. I was with a family and the mom was terrified of heights and the guide was so amazing and understanding. We moved at her pace and everyone felt completely safe and so well taken care of while also experiencing such a thrill being suspended so high. The caves were absolutely amazing and so cool. Our guide Ian was so knowledgeable about glow worms and made this amazing adventure educational as well. This was my favorite activity I did in New Zealand and cannot stress how important it is for people to do it and conquer some serious adventures with guides helping you all the way! Definitely a must do and big shout out to our awesome guide Ian who made this experience so worthwhile.
The abseil is nice and slow, but not thrilling if you've done a lot of adrenaline type things. Over the years I have prided myself in being able to discern what something is really saying in print. Cozy=Small, Fixer-upper=Run down, Backpackers Paradise=mattresses are from the 1800's. In reading about this adventure, it talks a lot about the abseiling and the glow worms, but not much about the 3 hours of scrambling/pulling/hiking/ etc. over rocks (Cave fitness is was Scott called it). After we did the tour with TK and Scott, I looked back at the description of the adventure. There it was. "Palpable feeling of personal accomplishment." This is because if you make it out alive that's how you feel. Lol!
I feel like I had great guides that were very knowledgeable. Safety is a priority. We are very fit individuals, but this was truly a challenge for me. My legs were like jelly by the time I faced the 90 ft. vertical ladder. My main complaint (and I gave it to the guides) were the boots. I understand why you can't wear your own boots, but even though my toes touched the end of the boots, they are men's and my narrow foot kept sliding side to side in them and a couple of time came off when caught in a rock. This led to having to be extra cautious and my leg muscles were in a constant state of clenching. I was sore for two days.
They do provide some pictures, but the close ups of myself and husband were all blurry. I am glad cameras aren't allowed as I can see where it would take up a lot of time for people to try and get that perfect photo.
I think this is a unique experience and only the fit should attempt it. My husband loved it and it was the highlight of his New Zealand trip.
This abseiling and caving experience was incredible, I was guided through the tiniest of spaces and into dark dark caverns under waterfalls and got to see lots of glow worms along the way. Our guides were awesome and they made us feel very safe all the way. Although don’t by fall for the ‘saber tooth dolphin fossil’ line when you’re down there!
My bf and I did the 4h adventure tour “Haggas Honking Hole”. It was amazing! We had quite high expectations because of their exciting commercial video and the good reviews, but despite that we differently didn’t get disappointed! It was exciting from the very first minute of the tour and continued all the way to the end! We where only 4 people and had 2 guides with us, so you are very well looked after the whole time.
Be prepare to get wet. Expect to be active. Prepare for lots of fun.
If you are only here to see lots of glow worms don’t do this tour. You will see them several places in the cave, but not in huge amounts. But if you are ready for the most fun you have every had in a cave and at the same time enjoy the beauty of it, I would totally recommend this tour!
I may come back and try one of the other tours they have, cause this was absolutely worth the money! Thanks for an awesome day
This was a difficult activity for me to choose a rating for, as although the experience was overall enjoyable and the staff were lovely, it wasn't at all what we expected and not really "as advertised"
There are a few things I'd address:
Overall experience: overall this was an enjoyable cave exploring experience- and cave exploring is how I would describe it, rather than a toobing experience. You climb down a ladder into a moderately sized cave network, and spend a few hours down there exploring. The cave is very interesting to look at, and our guide was knowledgeable. You do a combination of climbing, swimming, and sitting in a tube- but ultimately the majority of your time down there will be spent walking around in the cave. The drive from the base area to the tubing area is has some really stunning scenery, and some cute sheep- which was a nice bonus
The cold: I have seen some fairly dramatic reviews in here about how cold it was down there. We went in what would be described as late autumn/winter. As someone from a much warmer climate than NZ, I'm incredibly sensitive to cold so was pretty worried about this- however the wetsuits really do do a lot, and I wouldn't say that at any point in the trip I was unbearably cold and certainly not anywhere near close to hypothermia (the temp was nowhere near actual freezing level).
The toobing- the water in the caves is basically completely still, so if you're expecting a fun, action filled tubing/rafting experience this is not it- you pull yourself along on a rope in the water- not really what I had envisioned. Overall in the entire tour, you spend about 30minutes tubing. There is definitely a lot more swimming and generic cave exploring than there is tubing.
Fitness level: We were a young/healthy couple (i.e. not overweight etc) however we are not fitness junkies or regular hikers/cave explorers etc. Honestly, we found this trip pretty exhausting as- as above, it is mostly climbing through the cave for a few hours, and we weren't really expecting that. There are also quite a few points where the climbing can be quite precarious. I wouldn't really recommend it to children or people with a particularly poor fitness level. You're not going to die of a heart attack, but it won't necessarily be a fun time either.
Claustrophobia- unless you have true claustrophobia, I doubt this will be an issue. I am an anxious person and was worried about this from when I saw the small hole with a ladder heading into the cave. I thought "what have I gotten myself into". But the tightest parts are early on, and they consider this somewhat of a "claustrophobia test"- if you freak out at the beginning they won't take you the rest of the way. I didn't have any issues, and there are a few points where the guide will give you an option of the "easy way" or the "fun way" (i.e. more challenging way)
Photos: access to a dropbox with your photos is now given FREE which is a nice addition but should have always been the case given the price of the activity. It sucks that you can't bring your phone/camera down there "at your own risk" as this activity is never really "extreme" enough that a water resistant phone or camera in a good case wouldn't be safe
Ultimately, I would advise simply changing the name of this particular tour, as "Toobing" really only plays a minor part in the few hours that you are there, and ends up being a bit misleading as a title. What it is- is an interesting all-rounder cave tour which would be a good option for beginners who want to explore around a cave, see a couple of glow-worms (there aren't HEAPS like you see in some of the waitamo photos- they look cool, but I'm not sure I'd describe them as "breath-taking") - without getting themselves into a full-day trip with abseiling etc.
If someone had a clear understanding of what it really is and liked the sound of it- I'd recommend this particular company as they were professional, friendly, and made the experience fun- it is also a slightly smaller company, meaning that your tour could be small- in our case, a "private tour" with just myself, my partner and the guide. However, for the money (nearly $200 each), I probably would opt for a different activity if I were in NZ again.
Thanks for your review and also the many favourable comments. However, I have to take issue with your opening comment that the trip is "not as advertised"... The trip is exactly as advertised...i.e. our website says "This ripper of a trip combines the best elements of blackwater rafting with walking, climbing, swimming and tubing through distinctive sections of the spectacular TumuTumu Cave.
I concede that the name of the trip (TumuTumu ToObing) could be interpreted as meaning that there is more tubing than there is. However the activity description quickly goes on to describe the what is involved. The name is really just a bit of alliterative fun using the caves name and the letter "T". If that's held to be unacceptable then so too should the phrase "blackwater rafting". It doesn't matter which operator you go with, the water isn't black and there's no rafts. All of these trips have elements of walking, wading, swimming and tubing - yet the public likes to call these types of activity "blackwater rafting" (sometimes even when they're doing completely dry activities).
Our view is that even if it's not quite what you imagined before the trip, if you're being well looked-after and having fun in a crazy environment why not just relax and enjoy the experience ?
Knocking us down to 3 stars feels very harsh when you actually received your own private tour - which on a quiet day in winter was run in good faith for your specific benefit.
The good thing about our version of blackwater rafting is that you get to enjoy approximately twice as much quality underground time as any comparable blackwater rafting trip at Waitomo and explore an interesting range of terrain...including dry areas of the cave.
With regards to fitness, I should perhaps comment that this particular activity is actually one of our easiest and other activities e.g. Haggas Honking Holes are in a whole different league...very satisfying but quite demanding. So if you were tired after your TTT activity you might want to train up a bit before you step up to the next level. I guarantee that it's fun but my wife describes the feeling afterwards "as though she'd been hit all over with a small rock !". This may not appeal to some ...Really it depends what you want out of an adventure.
Our minimum age for children on TTT is 12 years and minimum weight 40kg which has proven to be appropriate over the past 30 years.
Glowworms. No one has actually counted them, but in my view there is a similar or even greater number of glowworms in this cave than most other caves at Waitomo - so I'm not sure how you missed those. People are generally amazed by what's down there under the pastureland. Many of the photos of glowworms available online are "fake" in so far as they are either completely fake or they are taken using special time lapse techniques that show something that the naked eye will simply not see. To the human eye, glowworms generally look like small dots of light....like a starry night.