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Best things to do in Waitomo Caves

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Where in the world: South Pacific  /  New Zealand  /  North Island  /  Waikato Region  /  Waitomo District  /  Waitomo Caves

Top 15 things to do in Waitomo Caves

1. Spellbound, Te Kuiti

Suggested duration: 4 hours
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2. Waitomo Glowworm Caves

Home to a species of glowworms found exclusively in New Zealand, Waitomo Glowworm Caves serve as one of the country's most popular natural landmarks. A magnet for both local and foreign visitors, this attraction offers guided tours through three underground levels linked by long vertical shafts made of limestone. Start at the visitor center, where you can learn about the history of this cave system. Guided tours depart from behind the center and take participants past huge stalactites and stalagmites. As you enter a giant cavern known as "the cathedral" and your eyes gradually adjust to the dim light, prepare to see thousands of tiny glowworms sparkling all around you.
Suggested duration: 30 minutes
Tours from $35 › Learn more about Waitomo Glowworm Caves

3. Canyoning & Rappelling Tours

Suggested duration: 2 hours
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4. Hobbiton Movie Set and Waitomo Glowworm Caves Guided Day Trip from Auckland

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Join this tour to visit two of New Zealand’s most famous attractions, Hobbiton Movie Set and Waitomo Caves, in one easy day trip from Auckland. Be fascinated as the magical world of Hobbiton comes to life and take photos in front of your favourite places like the Hobbit Holes, the Shire and the Green Dragon Inn. Then journey to the World Famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves and be captivated by the thousands of magical glowworms twinkling in the Grottos, the stalactites and stalagmites as you glide silently through the cave by boat. Marvel at the stunning scenery en route as we journey off the motorways into the real hinterland of New Zealand. All admission fees and lunch included.
Suggested duration: 11 hours
Tours from $208 › More about this tour at viator.com ›
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Best tours in Waitomo Caves

5. River Rafting & Tubing

Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about River Rafting & Tubing

6. Caveworld

Explore the region's caves by taking a guided tour of Caveworld, featuring glow worm displays and gothic rock formations. Adventurous travelers can don a wet suit, grab an inner tube, and take a black-water rafting tour, which includes jumping off an underwater waterfall and zooming down a waterslide. Back at the bush hut, cap off the tour with a complimentary hot drink.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Caveworld

7. Ruakuri Walk

Explore the verdant forest and limestone walls of Ruakuri Walk, a place of strong spiritual and cultural significance to the Maori. Follow the Ruakuri walk, a looping trail that leads you through rocky outcroppings and flourishing forest. The highlight is the vast Ruakuri natural tunnel, into which the Waitomo stream flows--look up at the dangling stalactites hanging from the high ceiling, and down at the stalagmites reaching up from below. At night, see the cave walls lit up by thousands of glowworms, but keep a respectful distance as touching them will kill them. For more in-depth appreciation of the surroundings, opt for a guided tour, which takes you through Aranui and Ruakuri caves. The local ecosystem supports native birds such as kereru, tui, piwakawaka, and tauhou; kareareas (New Zealand falcons) are often seen and heard from the parking lot. While the walk is relatively easy, do bring a flashlight or headlamp to help you navigate steps inside the caves.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Ruakuri Walk

8. Hobbiton & Waitomo Caves Small Group Tour from Auckland

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Experience the world-famous Lord of The Rings Hobbiton Movie Set plus the Waitomo Glowworm Caves all in one day. This unforgettable combo tour takes you to the top tourist attractions in the North Island. Highlights:• Hobbiton & Alexander Family Sheep Farm• Waitomo Glowworm Caves• Secret Animal Viewing Stops• Waikato Farming RegionWhile the destinations you will be visiting are truly spectacular, Cheeky Kiwi Travel believe it is our small groups, our guides, the journey and the little details that set our tours well apart. Secret stops, wildlife viewings, specially designed vehicles and many other pleasant surprises ensure our tours are an experience to remember.This tour is less rushed than others, making it the ultimate Auckland day tour, and is led by our passionate tour guides, notorious for bringing your journey to life by sharing their stories and rich background knowledge, and run in modern, comfortable minibuses packed with extras ensuring your comfort and safety.
Suggested duration: 12 hours
Tours from $212 › More about this tour at viator.com ›

9. Timber Trail NZ, Pureora Forest Park

Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Timber Trail NZ

10. Aranui Cave, Otorohanga

Located in a natural forest reserve, Aranui Cave is filled with marvels and ancient formations. The dry cave represents the smallest of Waitomo's three caves, yet some visitors cite it as the most memorable. Just inside the entrance look for a large colony of cave wetas, a passive insect with long antennas. A short walk in rewards visitors with sights of stalactites, stalagmites, flowstones, and high chambers. Experienced tour guides lead visitors safely through the cave while offering plenty of information on the attraction.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Tours from $35 › Learn more about Aranui Cave

11. Ruakuri Cave

Embark on an underground adventure at Ruakuri Cave, the only cave in the Southern Hemisphere that has a wheelchair and pushchair access. Listen to the distant roar of subterranean streams and waterfalls as you descend the cleverly designed spiral entrance. Admire the spectacular limestone formations and take pictures of the glowworms. Discovered by local Maori people nearly 500 years ago, the cave served as a sacred burial site before opening to public in 1904.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Tours from $50 › Learn more about Ruakuri Cave

12. Hobbiton, Rotorua and Waitomo Caves Day Trip in Luxury Minibus from Auckland

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This tour will only be available as a round trip from Auckland until 31 October 2023 - Hobbiton are extending their tour duration. There will no longer be enough time to visit all three attractions to return to Auckland on the same dayYou will visit three amazing destinations in one day.  Hobbiton which is perfect for anyone looking to add a little fantasy to their holiday. This tour will bring you to the movie set in Hobbiton. After that you will travel to Rotorua and spend approximately 1.5 hours while enjoying a cafe lunch and visiting the Thermal Valley at Te Puia.Please note that this is a very short time in Rotorua and if you want more time please book an overnight tour or Waitomo or Hobbiton on a separate day. After leaving Rotorua, we travel to Waitomo to visit the Waitomo Caves. The tours at both Hobbiton and the Waitomo Caves are of a set duration and are not shortened. This tour is flexible with options to start or finish in Auckland or Rotorua.
Suggested duration: 13 hours
Tours from $316 › More about this tour at viator.com ›

13. Marakopa Falls

Walk along the nature trail leading to one of the region's most magnificent outdoor attractions, Marakopa Falls. The easy walkway lies between Waitomo Village and Marokopa and usually takes less than an hour to complete. Hike through the native tawa and nikau forest to the trail's main viewpoint. From here, you can take in the picturesque scenery, including the Marokopa River and falls plunging 35 m (114.8 ft). This area also offers great opportunities for fishing.
Suggested duration: 30 minutes
Learn more about Marakopa Falls

14. Mangapohue Natural Bridge Walk

Stand in awe at the geological history of Waikato at Mangapohue Natural Bridge Walk, a 17 m (56 ft) limestone arch that crosses Mangapohue Stream. The last remnant of an ancient cave system, the bridge makes up part of a mighty gorge and is decorated with impressive stalactite rock formations. Easily accessible even for those with infants in strollers, a well-maintained trail leads you to the mouth of the bridge and continues along the gorge and out into pristine farmland.
Suggested duration: 30 minutes
Learn more about Mangapohue Natural Bridge Walk

15. Waitomo Glowworm Caves Guided Tour

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Be amazed by the thousands of magical glowworms above on this 45-minute, small group guided tour, as you glide silently by boat in the world famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves. Many of the current guides are descendants of the Maori chief who originally explored the cave and can share with you the remarkable history of the area. Guided since the late 1880s, this is the original, iconic New Zealand attraction.
Suggested duration: 45 minutes
Tours from $39 › More about this tour at viator.com ›

Best tours in Waitomo Caves