Along New Zealand’s State Highway 73, lies the Cave Stream Scenic Reserve. Looking inconspicuous from the highway, we were told by another world traveller that it is worth a visit. And so, we pulled into the parking lot to have a look.
Besides gazing at the beautiful landscape, there is an underlying cave system that you can explore, as long as the stream waters are not too high. Plaques warn of the dangers and recommend gear you need to safely traverse the stream. After lots of contemplation and scouting out the scene, Simon and I decided we’d go for it. And I’m very glad we did.
As soon as you enter the cave, you are submerged in a cold chest-deep pool of water. With my headlamp lighting the way, we traversed upstream, careful of our footing. The rocks on the floor of the stream and the tunnel walls have been smoothed by the rushing waters. Up waterfalls, past little crevices, through cathedral-like caverns, we eventually emerge at the stream inlet into the sun and faced with a group of on-lookers watching is curiously. Likely because there was just no way of understanding why we were all emerging with such huge smiles on our faces.