We were so “touristed out” at this point and were abhorred to find out that the cave exploration cost an upwards of $400, that we just threw our hands up helplessly. It is so easy to get sucked into the “gotta do” activities and the excellent marketing that New Zealand offers all the sucker foreigners, that you forget to even ask if a guided tour is necessary. With our budget high on our minds, we gathered some insight of the locals and found out that there were some caves that you could venture into without the helmets, gear and guided tours and see the same, if not better, glowworms – all for free! So we slept in and headed the direction of the Ruakuri Scenic Reserve just after sunset to see the infamous glowworms nestled into the nooks and crannies of the limestone caverns.
Not to miss in Waitomo, is the highly hilarious and free Angora Rabbit Shearing Show, run by some cute librarian-type grannies, where they shear the softest, pure snow-white, fluffy bunny on a rotating spit everyday at 12:15pm. Hilarious!