NZ 0800 946 543
AUS 1800 11 4881
INT’L +64 3 768 6649

Blackwater Rafting & Glow-worm FAQ

Important Information & FAQ
Where do I meet?
  Cave Rafting adventures start by reporting into our base in the Greymouth town centre next to McDonald's. It is a bright green building, you need sun glasses to look at it, with the address 8 Whall Str, Greymouth
Is there any food?
You get a hot drink and chocolate bar in the cave plus a drink and muffin back at the spa after your trip but this is not a meal. We recommend that you have a good meal before the activity.
What does the company supply?
We supply all equipment including, thermal tops and leggings, wetsuits, socks, boots and polyprop underwear for those without their own swimsuits. Gloves, woolen jerseys & inner booties are also supplied to keep you toasty warm at all times during your adventure if you think you feel the cold and in winter. If possible, wear your bathing costume under your clothes before coming to our base. We do have changing facilities with showers & a spa. Bring a swimsuit (or change of underwear) & a towel.
What is the pleasure spa?
The trip finishes with hot showers and an indoor heated spa in which you are welcome to relax for as long as you like after your trip. Usually visitors spend about 45 minutes of the trips 5 hours in the spa at trip's conclusion. Those people wishing to get away early can do so by bringing their own vehicle to the Cave Rafting Base in Greymouth and departing from there as soon as they are ready. We also supply a hot drink and a snack during this time but note that this is not a meal.
What if I need to cancel?
Once you are booked, if you do not turn up or if someone in your group does not go then the credit card you use to make your booking is charged in full. So you need to be sure everyone does want to go. You can cancel outside of 72 hours and there is no charge. We advise you to take out travel insurance.
What if the company needs to cancel?
If the company needs to cancel anything for safety or other reasons then you will get a refund.  If you have purchased a Combo trip or added an upgrade to your tour and one of the combo or upgrade components cannot go you will be refunded the price of the upgrade. If the other components of a combo are able to continue you cannot cancel them on the day since you will be inside our no refund period.  
Are there any deals?
Have a look at the Hot Deals page as there may be discounted seats available on the days that you are visiting.
Will the trip vary from what is described above?
There may be times when we have to vary the trip from what is described above due to river and cave water levels or for other considerations to help keep you safe. If there are any major differences we will inform you before departing on the trip so you can decide if you still want to go or not. It is always a good idea for you to check with any tour operator on arrival at their office to ensure you are about to do the tour you understand you are booked on. We have in the past had people leave our base with the wrong group and they ended up doing a completely different trip. Check with us on arrival if you are not sure.
What is the abseil option for the cave
The abseil option, you might know it as rappelling, is entering the cave by going down an entrance which is a shaft instead of walking in via the main cave entrance. We give you a safety and instruction session before you go down the rope. You would be abseiling about 30 feet down into the dark with most of it as a ‘hanging free’ descent. This means you descend on the rope away from any rock walls. You control your own rate of descent down the rope. You are also attached by a second backup safety rope that your guide can control if he needs to. This means that if your guide feels you are likely to get out of control then he can control your descent for you.
How extreme??? This depends on your previous experience, if you have abseiled before then don't do this part of the trip, it is good fun for those who haven't tried it before.
How do you keep me warm on my cave trip ?
You can do a cave trip all year including the winter. Some people need more warmth than others so just let us know if you are like this and we will give you more thermals to wear. We provide long sleeved thermal tops and bottoms (2 of each if you are really concerned about getting cold) and wet suits and jackets, then you can put a dry suit to go over the top of all this if you wish. On some days we give this to everyone anyway but just ask if you want one and they haven't been issued on your day. (We might think it's hot but you don't!) Then we also all get gloves & woolen socks & neoprene booties & thermal helmet liner all of which will keep you nice & warm. You also get a drink of hot chocolate in the cave & finish with a hot spa & showers .
Can’t swim, can I still do the cave trip.
Yes you can, you do not need to be able to swim. The water we are floating on is about waist deep so you can stand up if you come off your tubes during the floating part of the trip (no-one ever does though). There is a place where you can slide down a waterfall and sometimes non-swimmers feel uncomfortable about this. However you can miss this part if you want. It is a good idea to tell us when you check-in at our base before your trip if you are a non swimmer. We have a pre-trip registration form where you can mark this so that we know. This just means that the guide will keep a special eye on you to make sure you are comfortable throughout the trip.
Not sure about small spaces or being underground
Here is a description of the cave size so that you can decide if you will be comfortable on the trip.
At the cave entrance, if you stand up on a rock and reach up as high as you can then you may be able to just touch the roof. The cave at this point is about two car lengths wide. When you get 10 minutes into the cave it changes so that the roof is twice as high as a normal room and if you reached out wide with your arms and rocked from side to side you might just be able to touch the sides. We have found that some people feel more comfortable if they are at the back of the group on the way in & at the front of the group on the way out so that there is no-one between them and the entrance.
How fit do I need to be, I'm on the cuddly side, will I be able to do a cave trip.
Many people of various sizes and weights do this cave adventure but it is hard for us to advise you without having met you. There are some very large people who are fairly fit and do the trip easily. We have wetsuits to fit even very large people. The main thing to consider is that you will be active for around three hours. To give people an idea of the activity level we ask them, could you do a 3 hour hike with a five minute rest every half hour and not be exhausted after it. Now this is not what we do but it gives you an idea of the activity level on the trip. We don’t have to rush and we do have breaks at many points of interest. If you are very overweight and a smoker then you may struggle, but if you regularly exercise and have average agility then you will be fine. It is always a good idea to do some regular walking for a few weeks before you go on holiday as an adventure holiday can be more active, at times, than your normal routine. Try and get up to walk sessions of at least an hour and do some of the walking session at a speed that makes you sweat a little, it’s good for the heart!!!
Can I wear Glasses?
Yes you can, we advise you to wear a restraining strap around your neck for your glasses. If you don't have one we will provide you with a piece of string that works OK.
Are our children too young for this trip?
If you are a family group with children under 10 years then you might like to consider doing the children's trip. Your family gets its own guide so you’ll be able to do whatever your youngsters are comfortable with. Usually family groups spend the same amount of time underground as other groups and they do the cave activities closer to the entrance. So you do a short tube float in the dark with glow-worms, lots of scrambling for the kids, a tube jump if appropriate and the rock hydroslide.
As a parent you know your children better than we do so the main thing is to decide how they will cope with the dark and the ‘rushing water’ noise. These are the two aspects that younger children seem to have the most difficulty in dealing with.
We do take a lot of family groups with younger children but please remember that if you put young children into situations they cannot cope emotionally with then this can affect them for a long time afterwards (years!) so it's important for you to be sure your children will be happy with the cave environment.
There are lots of things you can do on the trip and they are optional so some of you might do everything and some just do what you are comfortable with. But remember, for young children, they need to be able to cope with being active & on their feet for around three hours. There is plenty of time for rests and we go at the pace of the slowest person but you know what kids can be like, when they get tired they can be grisly and unco-operative and we do need everyone to follow the guide's instructions at all times.
Also it is quite a bit of money for a family and if your child decides they don’t want to carry on with the trip then you do not get a refund.
If you do decide your children will love the cave tubing adventure then we also need to be sure Mum & Dad are up to it. Dad there are places where you will need to help your children and this may involve piggy backing them in places.
It is a great fun trip and our guides are skilled at helping families with children but we want to be sure it is the right trip for your family so if you have any more questions then feel free to contact us.
Can I bring my Camera?
We do not recommend that you bring your own camera. In the past people have dropped their expensive cameras in the water and we even lose several expensive cameras a year.
Your guide will take photos on your  trip with a low light underwater camera. When you get back to the base these photos are shown on a screen. If you like them they can be purchased on a CD, if you don't then there is no cost! These CDs also come with over 100 postcard photos from around New Zealand, both scenic and adventures.
Some people ask if they can take their own cheap camera, saying that they are not worried if they lose it. You could do that but when you get back you'll probably find your photos are not that good as it takes a wide angle lens, a fast shutter speed and low light settings to get good photos. Our guides are experienced at getting good photos but even they are challenged in getting good photos on some days so it is unlikely that you will do better.. It is also not possible to take photos of the glow-worms during your trip. We provide glow-worm photos on the CDs that have been taken with special equipment
Can I do this if I’m pregnant?
Pregnancy does not necessarily stop you from leading an active life.
How much activity a pregnant woman can do depends a lot on the individual. It is difficult to give relevant advice without meeting you and please keep in mind that we're not in any way taking over the role of your medical adviser with our comments below. Our comments are based on the experiences of other pregnant women who have done adventure activities. You could talk to your doctor and get their opinion. Here are some things to consider when deciding how active to be. These may help you decide once you see the level of activity required for each adventure.
Is your pregnancy affecting your ability to get around?
Do you tire easily?
Have you had any health problems in the past? These may or may not be related to pregnancy.
How active is the adventure you want to do?

For Cave rafting: The activity level for the cave rafting is about the same as a 3 hour hike over rough ground with a 5 minute break every half hour. This is not what we do but it gives you an idea of the activity level. There is some climbing (about 3 meters high) and you are scrambling around rocks & wading through pools of water. The trip includes sliding down some water falls & we would advise you not to do that part, they are optional & you can go around them if you want.
For White Water Rafting: Generally up to a grade 3 river is OK as you do not have to be very active when you are in the raft if you do not want to be. It is a good idea to be on a river where it is possible to get off the river if you become uncomfortable with it part way through. You should also be a person who is confident around water. 


 

We are happy to help you plan your visit. We can do any NZ bookings for you anywhere in the country or if you want us to check anything for you such as travel times then just ask, we are here to help.

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Enjoy your planning.
 


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NZ 0800 946 543
AUS 1800 11 4881
INT’L +64 3 768 6649