Executive summary by darmansjah
Located in the King country on the North Island is Waitomo, which looks like a simple town above ground, but beneath it lies an extraordinary system of subterranean rivers and limestone caves. Over 300 caves have been mapped, featuring acres of stalactites and stalagmites, all illuminated by thousands of native glow worms. These can be viewed in a sedate and claustrophobe friendly way, such as a walking tour and boat ride through the ethereally beautiful (but rather unimaginatively named ) Glow Worm Cave (US$50; waitomo.com). for the more adventurous, there is black-water rafting – a combination of caving, jumping down waterfalls and floating through underground waterways, with a Milky Way of glow worms passing overhead (US$93, including wetsuit, helmet and other equipment; website as waitomo.com). A quick two-minute walk from the cave’s visitor centre is the Waitomo Caves Guest Lodge, with cabins set in a garden and views of the countryside (doubles from US$100; waitomocavesguestlodge.co.nz).