The mystical region of Waitomo is home to a triad of caverns that hold one of New Zealand’s best kept secrets – these three spectacular cave systems allow visitors to trek through and explore the unique formations for themselves!
1. Waitomo Glowworm Caves
The world renowned Glowworm Caves are a must-see if you are planning to visit the Waitomo Caves. Every corner of the grotto is adorned with glowing crystals that are illuminated by the light of thousands of glow worms.
Accompanied by a tour guide, take a boat and sail silently through the canals underground on the Waitomo River, witnessing what history has created over thousands of years. Each tour lasts approximately 45 minutes, and your tour guide will enlighten you on how these caves were formed, Maori history and other interesting titbits about the region.
2. Ruakuri Cave
Formed over two million years ago, the Ruakuri Cave is a long, winding, spiral cave system that goes deep underground – hear the distant crash of subterranean waterfalls, while getting up close and personal with crystal tapestries and glowworms.
Note: these unique insects spend most of their lives in the larval state and stuck to the wall, so don’t worry about them dropping on you as you explore!
The sights and sounds of the cave, aided by the radiating lights of the glowworms all around, will truly transport you to another world.
3. Aranui Cave
Having been formed as a result of an earthquake, you will notice the entire ceiling of the Aranui Cave is made up of stalactites that glow in pink and white. Rock formations in various shapes (like broccoli, cheese, sheep and cows!!) cover the walls, allowing your imagination to run wild.
The caves are also home to the Cave Weta’s, insects similar to crickets, which scientists believe have been around since the prehistoric era –
Luckily, much like the glowworms, they keep to themselves! This illuminated cave system has many narrow paths, so it’ll be a fun walk as your manoeuvre your way through.
The Waitomo Caves are truly a beautiful, mystical attraction, rich in Maori myth and legend. We recommend the following accommodation when planning your trip to the Waitomo Caves!