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Waitomo's Ruakuri cave offers special family rate

For Immediate Release

September 16 2005

Go 'down under' for the school holidays!

Waitomo's Ruakuri cave offers special family rate

One of New Zealand's foremost natural wonders, Ruakuri cave, is offering families the chance to go 'down under' at a special rate of just $89 for two adults and two children during the coming school holidays. The offer represents a saving of $41 and is valid until October 31.

Ruakuri, recently re-opened after being closed in 1988 as a result of a land ownership dispute, is regarded as one of the most impressive and complex cave systems in the Waitomo region, just south of Hamilton.

The re-opening marks the culmination of 18 months of underground construction work on walkways, bridges and a new spiral entrance way.

First opened to visitors in 1904 by James Holden, an ancestor of the family that has now been declared the legal owner, Ruakuri is open to visitors every day of the year except Christmas Day, with tours departing at 9.00am, 11.00am, 1.00pm and 3.00pm. Additional tour times are available on request.

The two-hour round trip through Ruakuri is 1.6 kilometres and the experience is a spellbinding combination of physical beauty and spiritual journey.

As earlier visitors knew, Ruakuri has it all. Meandering underground streams, vast chambers with intricate stalagmite and stalactite formations, secret passages, fossilised seashells and the distant thunder of subterranean waterfalls provide an awe-inspiring environment, made even more special by the richness of Maori mythology that imbues it.

According to Maori legend, Ruakuri was first discovered four or five centuries ago by a young Maori hunter spearing birds for food. A pack of wild dogs inhabited the entrance way, hence the name Ruakuri - rua meaning den, and kuri meaning dogs.

The cave entrance was used historically as a burial ground, and this waahi tapu (sacred) area has been protected by the construction of the new spiral entrance way, a safe distance from the original.

Regular admission prices for Ruakuri are $49 per adult and $16 per child (5-14 years inclusive). Children 4 years old and under are free of charge.

For further information about Ruakuri visit www.ruakuri.co.nz or phone 0800 RUAKURI (0800 782 5874).

ENDS

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