An extra day off and the sun is shining, so it was definitely an outdoors day. After a bit of research it was decided that the Maitai caves were to be the destination. After a meandering river side road up to the dam you arrive at the start of the 6km trail. After a short hill climb you descend back to a rough track, after about a km this starts to enter an increasingly thick forest. A few small river crossings await (I only got wet feet on the way back), the further you enter the forrest the older it seems to get, with giant fallen trees often crossing the path. Giant ferns and an abundance of fungi keep you looking around, accompanied by the constant sound of running water.
NZ famous silver fern covered the forrest floor
As you near the cave the route gets steeper and the path is mostly made up of a carpet of knotted tree roots, you are finally greeted by a small boulder with a plaque identifying the cave and immediately rustling of bushes as the local weka comes to see if you have food.
The decent into the cave is wet, with a thin old bit of rope to lower yourself down, my lanky legs aided my decent. Once inside you are in a large cavern, there is a stream running under the boulders and a wall climbing away from you at the rear. Upon scaling this the is a small gap and another scraggly bit of rope to drop yourself towards the pool. Stalagmite and stalactites litter the caves, water running down them from the roof.
GoPro went flying, and view from its resting place.
Pool at the bottom
These above your head
Switching the head torches off we were in complete darkness, just the sound of water in the background, it was a lovely find and great to be exploring it without a guide or a crowd, leaving a bit muddy but happy. Gollum followed me out of the cave….