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The month of the cavorn called the Wj't'imo Owes, In the King Country, eleven miles fro en Otorohaoga, b«s been known to tbs M<nri* for generations, and a ctretm which roni into it haa been a buted place for eel fishing. 80 far as is known, they never ventured to enter, hel'evlnii the plaoe to be the abode of ianiwhas and other f *^nl .ua monsters. & European setiler, Mr F. Mace, however, oue day constructed * slander raft of dry logs, and entered tha forbidding darkness m company with a Maori named Tang Tinorau, who> af'er long persuasion, wfts Induced to Bhare m the voyage of discovery. They soon found themselvei m a marvellous domain of boaaty. We h&vo no space to attempt unyhing like * d. tailed description of tbe OAvea. They are not drily -very lovely, but on a moat imposing soale. The entrance fs 30ft wide and 20ft high, and is beautifully arched. Tbe visitor li taken In a taooe, ani landed In tbe d»rk on a silt-formed b«»oh 90ffc from- tha entrance. By the aid of cardies he findi hlmne f among ponderras itsUotlteß, 3ft to 6ft thick, reaching from the rr of 20ft high, to within a foot of the gerund. These are known aa " The Monsters," One b fally 10ft m diameter at Its base, Tbe travellet next follows the bank of the stream foi 140 ft on foot, and then orosses it by a footbridge. To add to the welrdneis of the soene the roof of tbe cavern Is seen to be studded with thousands of glow* worms, "giving thedsrk vaaU," ire are told, "tha appearance of a etarllt eky." From the entranoo to the bridge the cavern aver* gen 50ft broad and 20ft to 30ft high. OfoHdag the brldga a sharp tarn to the right is made op a slight incline for a distance of 70ft to the foot of a 10ft ladder, which leads to a narrow o*ssage, the entrance m the Grand Cavern. Here most beautiful and Interesting staUotltes and stalagmites are met w:th. The length of the cavern Is 250 ft, and It varies from 20ft to 50ft In height. Climbing np a 30ft ladder from the ground oavern the Organ Gallery is reached, iti entrance guarded by several magnificent white enorusted pillars supporting the roof. Eighty feet In from the entrance stands the " Organ " Th's la desorlbed by the Chief Sarveyor of Aaokltnd as "a grand btahgmftlo mass, tier upon tier of marble like appearance, somewhat resembling the front of an. organ. It Is inrronnded by stalaotltei of equal brightness and of all lengths np to 4ft, some as thin aa a reed, with glistening drops of Hquld hanging from the extremities." Just behind !• a small white terrace formation, and 40ft farther, at the termination of tha gallery, Is a larger one, completely blooklng It from floor to roof. Bat we mast stop* There la no space left to tall of the wonders of the Well, the Fairy Grotto (which even surpasses the Organ In lovelloeoe), the Banqaeit Chamber, the White Terrace, the Black Terrace, or Mtlr's Gave. There Is an extraordinary drapery* lika sta)ao»lte, •» Tha Blanket," so strikingly like one, says Mr Humphreys, at to deceive the beholder at 20ft dlstanoe, It h»nga In moat perfeot folds, whloh are to thin aa to be transparent. One word In o<nolnslon as to the oalor of the Inorastations. Before reaohlng the Grand Oivorn i"; seems the appearanoes !f vary fr< m a dall brown oolor to a light yellow, but on rising 30ft to the higher. gallerlei there are alabaster and Parian marble* like eoanes of unsurpassed loveliness, nnsallied by the forbid Inundations whloh have occurred m the caverns balow." It is maddening to learn that already the obscene pencil of the scribbling maniac, who seems to baant all soonea of natural loveliness for the purpose of defiling them, has been at work. Toe Government ought to take tbe oaves at onoa coder their charge, and protaot them with ft \ most j aatoaa oare from Injury or disfigure* m&nt,

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Bibliographic details

THE WAITOMO CAVES., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 22358, 24 September 1889

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THE WAITOMO CAVES. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 22358, 24 September 1889