We now provide important safety information. Please ensure you read this carefully prior to your trip. Our caving, abseiling and blackwater rafting adventures are governed by strict procedures to ensure your safety. However they are not without risk. They are some of the most adventurous activities available in New Zealand. Caving is complicated by the fact that any incident or problem under the ground is more difficult to deal with than a similar issue above ground. Rescue underground is a very slow and difficult process. You cannot fly a rescue helicopter into a cave. Neither do mobile phones work underground. Our caves may look like they are something designed by Disney but they are not. They are wild, isolated and potentially dangerous places. Having said that, all our activities have passed independent audits and carry both Outdoorsmark and Qualmark endorsement.
Policy - Fitness Health & Safety
Our safety objective is zero serious harm to clients.
We have been operating since Oct 1987 (over 27 years) and within our sector, our safety record is exemplary.
In that time over 400,000 visitors have enjoyed our activities.
We strive at all times to keep it like that.
We are not a faceless corporate. We are a boutique family-based business with the owner and founder still working in the company.
We embrace both the moral and legal requirement to actively manage our risks with care.
Since our adventures include some of the most physical activities available in New Zealand, we therefore require that participants should have a moderate level of fitness – if you can bush-walk or ski for a day, you should be fine.
Clients should not be heavily overweight or suffer from serious health problems such as heart conditions or significant back/neck complaints.
If the guide(s) on the day have any doubt about a client’s fitness they may ask them to prove it by completing a fitness-test.
One quick and simple test we may use is “to step up and down a 20 cm (8 inches) step not less than 45 times in 60 seconds”. We strongly recommend clients complete this test before they book their activity and before they travel to Waitomo.
Clients may also be requested to submit to breath-testing for alcohol or other drugs.
Where appropriate, guides may at their sole discretion cancel a departure or remove an unsuitable client from a departing trip for any safety related reason.
All medical issues must be declared to both our booking staff and activity guides prior to the commencement of your adventure.
In most cases, minor medical issues will not preclude participation.
Where a client is not suitable for a particular activity we will do our best to indicate a more appropriate alternative.
We do not recommend abseiling ( rappelling ) during the 1st and 3rd trimester due to the need to wear a tight fitting harness across your waist during the abseil.
All pregnant clients wishing to participate in one of our adventure options must provide a medical certificate from their General Medical Practitioner confirming that they are fit for abseiling ( rappelling ) and caving.
This policy is required for us to comply with the NZ Adventure Safety Regulations.
Our company does not offer any insurance to clients.
In New Zealand, under our “ACC” laws, overseas nationals may be eligible for limited medical support in the event of an accident.
Nevertheless we highly recommend that clients carry their own travel insurance including medical insurance before engaging in any of our activities.
Eye Glasses & Contact Lenses
We recommend that our clients DO NOT wear eye-glasses during our action activities – unless your impaired vision will compromise your safety (glasses may be scratched, broken or become lost).
It is however possible to wear them, provided appropriate care is taken.
It is also possible to wear contact lenses. These can sometimes become lost – especially when under a waterfall. We therefore recommend the use of disposable contact lenses.
If you choose to wear your glasses, you must ensure they are secured to you at all times. You are required to accept full responsibility for them. We strongly recommend that customers carry their own insurance for losses of this kind.
Waitomo Adventures Ltd and staff may not be held liable for any damage to or loss of eye glasses or contacts.
Both Blackwater Rafting - TumuTumu Toobing and the Lost World Epic are sometimes closed by flooding. Other activities are almost never closed.
In the event that your chosen option is flooded we will do our best to either offer you an acceptable alternative or support a refund of the ticket. Sales made direct with us will be refunded in full or if you have purchased a voucher from a travel agent we will recommend a refund from that agent.
We are fortunate that we manage a number of different cave systems which allows us to usually (but not always) offer a good alternative that is not flooded.
Guides & Equipment
We will supply all of your equipment; including helmets, lights, special vertical gear, and overalls/wetsuits (as appropriate) and PVC boots. Thick socks are a good idea, but optional (please note your socks will get wet and muddy). All our safety equipment is amongst the best available, often especially manufactured for the purpose.
Our guides are trained to the highest industry standards for this type of work in New Zealand.
TRAINEE GUIDES are always under immediate and close supervision by a qualified instructor.