If you’re sick of your teenager(s) spending all day sitting inside watching TV or on their phones, and want to get them outside doing something fun and good for their fitness, then the Legendary Blackwater Rafting Company’s Black Odyssey tour at Waitomo is perfect. This is a great way to bond with the teens because, let’s face it, with the amount of time they spend plugged in to technology, we have to grab every opportunity to interact with them.
The Black Odyssey tour starts with everyone meeting at the Legendary Blackwater Rafting Company office. Before you even start there are a few things you have to do. Firstly you need to be able to fit through what is known at “the fit box”. This is to determine whether you will make it through the first 20 minutes of the tour, as this is made up of some very tight spaces. Not to worry, if your teen can navigate through their cluttered room expertly, they should be able to manage it. From there you head down to get geared up and go through the safety procedures you will need to know while down in the caves.
The system that they use for the Odyssey tour consists of a magnetic “Clic-it” latch that is attached to your harness. This is used to connect you to the cables that run through the caves. They work on a system when one has to be connected at all times, this means you can’t just take them both off. Although it was a little clunky at times, once you got used to it, it becomes second nature, and really when it comes to yours and your teen’s safety, you want to know you’re covered.
From there you drive down to the entrance of the caves, without giving too much away you head in and it’s a pretty amazing start to the caves. You head through what looks like a nuclear fallout blast door and down you go in to the darkness. Once you are at the bottom you get to see the sheer beauty that is the cave formations of stalactites and stalagmites around you. You move through to the first part of the tour, which for me was the hardest as I struggle a little with tight spaces. You will also need reasonable upper body strength, but if you can manage at the local rock climbing, you should be able to handle the climbing factor.
Once you have made your way through the tight spaces, you find yourself in the open cave area. This is where you are connected to the safety wires that are all through the caves. There is some amazing cave face scaling that you will do, accompanied by some awesome flying foxes, yes you heard right, flying foxes in a cave! There are also a couple of ladder bridges and a wire one at the end.
This whole experience takes around 5 hours, and it an amazing opportunity to show your teen some of the hidden wonders New Zealand has to offer. Once you have completed the journey, you head back to the main office where you can sit and enjoy some hot soup and warm toasted bagels, while waiting for your photos if you chose to get them.
The Black Odyssey Tour is a great experience. The only restrictions are that your teen needs to be over 16, and all people on the tour need to pass a breath test before you start. This is really about your safety and making sure you have the best experience possible. We would highly recommend this as a weekend activity, or maybe something incredible to do during the school/uni holidays. Make sure you bring a change of t-shirt and nice thick socks, as you can get pretty hot while doing it and the thick socks stop blisters.
The Legendary Blackwater Rafting Co has a range of amazing tours available so check them out at HERE