Caving with our school holiday programme

Caving at Waipu, Northland, was a ton of fun for the juniors on our free Break-away school holiday programme.

Our Auckland programme manager, Jeff, busted out of the office for the day with Nat, our newest Auckland instructor.

The kids crawled and waded and wriggled and slid down the wet, muddy, dark tunnels. Some of them were fearless, charging ahead with glee. Some of them were genuinely out of their comfort zone with the mixture of darkness, waist-deep water and small spaces. But those kids, who were out of their comfort zone, they were the bravest of all. They felt afraid and did the activities anyway, which was incredibly impressive.

Waipu caves

Waipu caves is open to the public, it is free and it is an incredible experience! But, like all outdoor adventure activities, there is always an element of risk and it’s important to go prepared.

A couple of tips:

  • Wear warm clothes! A thermal layer next to your skin is the warmest option, plus a couple of extra layers of warmth.
  • Wear clothes that you are happy to get wet, muddy and possibly ripped
  • Pack a towel and a change of clothes and shoes for afterwards
  • Pack a drink bottle and a snack
  • Pack a strong torch or headlamp (not the torch on your phone, it’s not strong enough)
  • If you haven’t been before, it’s a good option to go with someone who knows their way around. There are glow worms in some of the caves, if you know where to stop and turn off your lights. And there are multiple tunnels, so be careful not to get lost.
  • Be aware of the weather forecast, especially an severe weather warnings. Heavy rain can cause the river inside the cave to rise and become unsafe. If in doubt, please choose safety over adventure, you can always come back another day!
  • There are also bush walks in the area, if you want a non-cave activity to do (see the DOC website for details)


Breakaway is a free school holiday programme that is fully funded by Oranga Tamariki Ministry for Children.

Every school holiday, we run four programmes: two for juniors (age 11-13) and two for seniors (age 14-17). The programmes run for two full days and one half day, and activities range from caving to sea kayaking, surfing, mountain biking, sand dune boarding, hiking, and more.

Find out more on our website:

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