Blackwater rafting began about 20 years ago in New Zealand, where many crazy activities can trace their origins it seems. Back then, Pete Chandler, who is an avid spelunker, got the bright idea of guiding tourists through Ruakuri Cave via it’s underground river, which generates some fast rapids and swells at times. The cave is described as a ” glow worm-studded subterranean wonderland”.
This isn’t rafting the traditional sense though. Those coming along for the ride wear dry suits, helmets, and headlamps, then settle into an inner-tube that takes them through the underground maze of caverns and tunnels. Tourists come from all over the World to explore the cave system, with the darkness and rushing water giving them a sense of adventure and anticipation as they explore the unknown.
There are a number of tours to choose from, including the Black Labyrinth Tour, which lasts 3 hours and the Black Abyss Tour which is over 5 hours in length and includes some abseiling and cave exploration before hitting the water.
Sounds like a fun adventure. Another thing to do when I get to New Zealand.
(Story comes via Outdoor Ed.