Quietly Sh*tting Myself – The Aurora Cave (Part One)

“On a Mish” #316 Quietly Sh*tting myself – Part One. Aurora Caves. Murchison Mountains. Fiordland National Park. 4.1.2022. Facing your fears can have some great effects on your confidence. Stepping up to a challenge with some fear in your belly and terror in your eyes is the true definition of being brave. Depending on the situation, often it is best to keep your fears to yourself to avoid the constant question of “Are you alright?”. Sometimes the constant reminding can work against you, and this was the approach I took when heading to the Aurora Caves in the Murchison Mountains…

The Aurora Caves are the upper sections of the Te Ana-au Glow Worm Caves on the western shores of Lake Te Anau. Unlike the lower sections of the caves, the upper has no lights, no walkway, and very little signs of human activity. As someone who doesn’t like enclosed places I knew this was going to be a big challenge. But facing challenges has been the theme since 2020, and I was going to tackle this like all the other battles I have had over the last couple of years. The day came, and I knew it was time to go exploring the underground world. I felt pretty good so didn’t even come close to mentioning that I was quietly shitting myself, as we boarded the boat to head over the lake to the caves. After crossing over the lake we began the hike up the hill to the cave entrance.

The hike took us about an hour and along the way we got to enjoy all that is on offer when hiking in Fiordland. One part of the trail took us through a large trench which used to be a cave until a complete collapse. Seeing a collapsed cave doesn’t instill much confidence in an already nervous newbie caver! The air was humid and we all got a good sweat on while clambering up the mountainside. I was at the back of the pack when I looked up to see everyone dropping their packs. As I got closer I got my first glimpse of the massive Aurora Caves entrance. Many emotions began to flood into my head. Excitement at the prospect of finally getting to go into a part of the cave I have always wanted to go into. Nervousness knowing that very soon I won’t look up and see the sky. A little bit of pain in my hip from the hike up. And finally the overriding feeling was of terror, knowing it was only a matter of time before I ventured out of my comfort zone and into the underground world of caving. I’m sure at this stage everyone thought I was just as excited as them at the prospect of spending nearly three hours underground. I was not excited about it, but I was ready to step up to the challenge…

The Aurora Cave

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

Subscribe To my newsletter