Uncovering a magical world at Waitomo Glow Worm Caves
For a quiet village tucked away in rural New Zealand, Waitomo has a huge international reputation. People come from all over the world to travel deep underground to the caves of Waitomo with one thing in mind — glow worms! These tiny creatures stud the ceilings of Waitomo’s caves and light up the darkness with an incredible natural glow. With three unique caves and an adrenaline–packed twist on offer, we think a visit to Waitomo is an absolute must for anybody visiting NZ.
Waitomo Glow Worm Cave
Waitomo’s caves aren’t just glowing, they’re ancient and historic. With roots dating back nearly 30 million years, you won’t set foot in an older spot during your time in NZ! The most famous of the caves, the Waitomo cave is made up of two levels, the upper level, dry and studded with stunning rock formations, and the lower level, a network of streams which you’ll navigate on a magical boat ride.
Seeing the Waitomo cave takes around 45 minutes.
The glow worms found in all of the Waitomo caves are found only in New Zealand and are famous for their mesmerising blue-green natural glow. Thousands of them dot the cave ceilings, providing a 24/7 natural lightshow.
The Ruakuri cave offers a different experience, starting with an incredible descent via a spiral staircase into a cave that takes you closer the glow worms. Unlike the Waitomo cave, photography and videos are permitted in the Ruakuri cave, so selfie time with the glow worms is on the cards for keen snappers. The cave visitor centre is solar powered and designed to be fully sustainable. Allow 90 minutes to see the Ruakuri cave.
Combo deals are available and are a popular way of seeing both the Waitomo and Ruakuri caves. A combo tour takes just over two hours.
Adventure time with the Legendary Black Water Rafting Co.
Want to take things up a notch on your glow worm tour? Book a zipline or rafting trip with the legends at the Legendary Black Water Rafting co. The Black Abyss tour sends you abseiling down into the network of caves, jumping off waterfalls and riding a tube down the river as you gaze up at the glow worm studded cave ceiling, following in the steps of your expert guide. The Black Labyrinth tour is definitely NZ’s most out there rafting experience, after all how many people can say “we went black water rafting!”? Allow 5 hours for the Black Abyss tour, and 3 hours for the Black Labyrinth tour. Whichever way you choose to experience Waitomo, good times are guaranteed.
The most intimate of the Waitomo caves, the Aranui cave is accessed by a stroll through an enchanted forest, and wows visitors with its incredible limestone formations, huge stalactites in shades of pink and yellow. While this cave isn’t home to glow worms, it is photograph friendly. Allow one hour to see the Aranui cave.