Waitomo Caves

Enter a galaxy of tiny living lights in New Zealand.


Underground rivers pushing through soft limestone over thousands of years created a magnificent web of caves and sinkholes under the green hills of Waitomo. These caves are famous for the glowworms unique to New Zealand called Arachnocampa Luminosa, which are luminescent during the larval and imago stages. Once you enter the caves, you are transported into a galaxy of tiny living lights as you view Mother Nature’s shimmering light display.
The language of New Zealand’s native Māori people is the language that gives these caves their name: wai means ‘water’ and tomo is a ‘doline’ or ‘sinkhole’. It translates to ‘water passing through a hole.’ Local Māori guides still bring you through the caves, offering a commentary on the history and geological significance. Immerse yourself in an underground expedition along the Waitomo River and silently gaze at the awe-inspiring glowworm grotto. There is so much to do in these dazzling caves. Adventurers can go black-water rafting, abseiling, zip-lining, and climbing, or you could take a boat or float through the underground wonderland in a tube.
The Waitomo District area has become popular for caving for the last 120 years by both local and international visitors. Even before heading into the caves, there is a lot to do aboveground. Sit in cafes, go on walks, visit the incredible Marokopa Falls, and walk over the limestone Mangapohue bridge. Hike in the Pureora forest, go on a guided trek or visit some of New Zealand’s rarest birds. For avid fans of The Hobbit, nearby to Waitomo is Piopio, which offers walking trails, cafes, golf and Hairy Feet Waitomo, a filming location for Staddle Farm and the Trollshaw forest in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
It is safe to say that fascinating stalagmites and stalactites, the spectacular glowworms and the stunning caves are absolutely worth visiting. The surrounding areas do nothing but add to the stunning displays of the grottos below. For the most adventurous travelers to the most relaxed – Waitomo Caves will offer an incredible day on your New Zealand voyage.

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