Touri Cave

To'uri Cave

Useful Information

Location: Mangaia Island.

(-21.906640, -157.935281)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave
Light: bring torch
Dimension: L=489 m, VR=3 m, A=3 m asl.
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Joann C. Ellison (1994): Caves and Speleogenesis of Mangaia, Cook Island, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., U.S.A., August 1994. pdf
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.



Touri Cave is located west of the Tava'enga swamp, where the water reaches the limestone of the makatea wall and vanishes underground. The stream is reached by a steep climb down over boulders, overgrown by ferns, into a large shelter formed by an overhanging cliff. The stream is often dry, only after heavy rain it rises, and follows the cave passage on the left side for 60 m. Then it vanishes in a swallow hole and flows below the now dry cave passage. Small black fish live in the stream, obviously only cave visitors, not true troglobionts.

The cave passage is huge, between 3 and 10 m wide and up to 30 m high. At the end of the passage, after almost 500 m, it is again water filled, much closer to the sea the water is brackish. At this point its possible to hear the waves from the nearby sea. The underground lake is more or less at sea level. Several websites and guidebooks talk about two streams, one with fresh water and the other one with salt water. That's obviously nonsense, the cave stream starts as sweet water but at the end of the cave it mixes with seawater and becomes brackish.