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Okupata Cave

Wild Uncommercialized Cave And Stream

Difficulty: Difficult cave scrambling, crouching, crawling, clambering, cursing
Bring: Two torches/headlamps, water shoes

NZ Gps: 39° 2' 32.5896" S 175° 31' 13.836" E
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Explore this cave on an overcast day when the volcanoes are clouded in.

This cave’s for ADVENTURERS ONLY! No whiney tour-seeking tourists allowed. Don’t even think of venturing out here without two torches and water shoes. Also, don’t come out “just for a peek,” because you won’t see anything. What you’ve got here is a small stream that disappears into a fractured, jungly, limestone bluff…not scenic, but darkly mysterious. There are 3 different ways into the cave, each requiring ducking, shimmying, and lowering… and then you’ve got the shallow underground streambed to negotiate.

Once inside though…water-carved passages create a maze of inter- connected tunnels where the trickling stream echoes off glowworm- lit yellow flowstone. Wow! At first the cave may seem scary and confusing like you’re going to lose your way…and it is. The DOC brochure (sometimes available at the Turangi I-site), says the cave is for “experienced cavers only.” Really though, it’s not that bad—just remember that you can follow the water back upstream to get out—you can’t get lost!

The best entrance to begin with is probably the far side of the stream. It’s tight at first but then opens up. There are two “squeeze” entrances on either side of the ladder—try to find your way out one. Oh, and did I tell you about the dry sandy “picnic” alcove or the small double waterfall that marks the end of explorable terrain?

Excerpt from "NZ Frenzy Guidebook" by Scott Cook NZ Frenzy Guidebook