New Zealand may have travel restrictions in place due to COVID-19.

Find out moreOpens in new tab or window

Waitomo CavesNew Zealand

This underground labyrinth of spectacular rock formations, with dazzling glowworms and enchanting acoustics, is one of New Zealand’s most popular attractions.

Glide over the ink-black waters and look up to the roof of the Waitomo Caves to see the twinkling glow worms. Take a walk through deep limestone chambers and listen for the eerie echo of the underground waterfalls. Experience the thrill of abseiling down to and tubing through the dark network of caves on a “black-water rafting” tour.

Waitomo Caves have been explored by tourists in New Zealand for over a hundred years. Most visits involve the Ruakuri, the Aranui and the Glowworm Caves, but there are about 300 similar underground limestone formations in the area.

Just behind the visitor center is the entrance to the Glowworm Cave. A 45-minute tour leads you deep into The Cathedral, so named for its near-perfect acoustic quality. A boat waits for you towards the back of the cave and will carry you into a smaller, darker area, which is lit up by the neon lights of thousands of glowworms.

If you want to visit the other caves, be prepared to walk west for an hour or to arrange other transport at the visitor center. Aranui cave is dry, and therefore void of glowworms. It has Gothic-like rock formations and a colony of native insects, the cave “weta”. Head to Ruakuri cave to take the two-hour underground tour, which begins at the spectacular spiral staircase and takes you for 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) past gushing waterfalls, vast caverns and further enclaves of glowworms.

Adrenalin junkies can book in for one of the adventure tours on offer. You can abseil down dark tunnels, climb along narrow ledges, ride a raft down the rapids and swim through rivers. Ask the staff in the visitor center for more details or book ahead on the website. The visitor centre has a café, exhibitions and a short film about the region.

The Waitomo Caves, a one-hour drive south of Hamilton, are open daily. Tours run regularly. If you plan to visit more than one cave, purchase a “Cave Combo” ticket from the visitor center to receive a discount.

Top Hotels in Waitomo Caves

Kiwi Paka Waitomo
Kiwi Paka Waitomo
2 out of 5
Hotel Access Rd., Waitomo Caves
The price is CA $69 per night from Oct 27 to Oct 28

Situated in Waitomo Caves, this hostel is within a 5-minute walk of Caveworld and Waitomo Glowworm Caves. Woodlyn Park and Aranui Cave are also within 3 miles ...

3.8/5Good! (141 reviews)

"Owners were friendly & helpful, checking in & out simple, accommodation well priced for what it is. Everything is clean, but tired looking although new owners have clearly been upgrading some fittings. Chalet en-suite could do with somewhere dry to put clean clothes while showering as shower screen ..."…"

Reviewed on Sep. 28, 2020

Kiwi Paka Waitomo
Waitomo Top 10 Holiday Park
Waitomo Top 10 Holiday Park
3 out of 5
12 Waitomo Caves Road, Waitomo Caves
The price is CA $90 per night from Oct 27 to Oct 28

Situated in Waitomo Caves, this motel is within a 5-minute walk of Caveworld and Waitomo Glowworm Caves. Woodlyn Park and Aranui Cave are also within 3 miles ...

4.4/5Wonderful! (216 reviews)

"The Holiday Park was a perfect piece of New Zealand, providing a relaxed and friendly escape from the city. The staff and facilities were outstanding."…"

Reviewed on Oct. 8, 2020

Waitomo Top 10 Holiday Park
Waitomo Orchard Estate B&B
Waitomo Orchard Estate B&B
3 out of 5
38 Whitbourne Road, Waitomo, Waitomo Caves
The price is CA $68 per night from Oct 27 to Oct 28

Situated in Waitomo Caves, this golf bed & breakfast is within 9 miles (15 km) of Kiwi House Native Bird Park, Waitomo Glowworm Caves and Caveworld. Woodlyn ...

4.4/5Excellent! (146 reviews)

"the room with the attached bathroom was excellent. Thoroughly enjoyed our stay. The view was amazing and the breakfast was extremely generous."…"

Reviewed on Jul. 31, 2020

Waitomo Orchard Estate B&B
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Vacation Rentals in Waitomo Caves

Woodlyn Park
Woodlyn Park
3.5 out of 5
1177 Waitomo Valley Road, Waitomo Caves, Waikato
The price is CA $121 per night from Oct 27 to Oct 28

Situated in Waitomo Caves, this apartment building is within 1 mi (2 km) of Woodlyn Park and Waitomo Glowworm Caves. Caveworld and Aranui Cave are also within ...

4.1/5Very Good! (139 reviews)

"Interesting property with the different accommodation available."…"

Reviewed on Jul. 12, 2020

Woodlyn Park
Woodlyn Park Plane Cockpit Unit
Woodlyn Park Plane Cockpit Unit
1177 Waitomo Valley Rd, Waitomo Caves, Waikato
The price is CA $160 per night from Oct 27 to Oct 28

Situated in a rural location, this historic holiday home is within 1 mile (2 km) of Woodlyn Park and Waitomo Glowworm Caves. Caveworld and Aranui Cave are also ...

Woodlyn Park Plane Cockpit Unit
Rock Retreat Bed and Breakfast Eco Retreat
Rock Retreat Bed and Breakfast Eco Retreat
Te Anga/Hauturu Rd, R.D.8, Waitomo Caves, Waikato
The price is CA $158 per night from Nov 2 to Nov 3

Situated by the ocean, this romantic cottage is within 9 miles (15 km) of Waitomo Glowworm Caves, Caveworld and Woodlyn Park. Aranui Cave and Mangapohue Natural ...

5/5Exceptional! (3 reviews)
Stunning view

"Great experience, cozy house and amazing place."…"

Reviewed on Oct. 18, 2020

Rock Retreat Bed and Breakfast Eco Retreat
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Top things to do in Waitomo Caves

Waitomo Glowworm Caves Boat Tour
Image for Waitomo Glowworm Caves Boat Tour

Waitomo Glowworm Caves Boat Tour

CA $48
Per adult
86% of travellers recommend
Private Waitomo Caves Transportation via Luxury Vehicle
Image for Private Waitomo Caves Transportation via Luxury Vehicle

Private Waitomo Caves Transportation via Luxury Vehicle

CA $686
Per adult
100% of travellers recommend
Blackwater Rafting and Caving ex Auckland or Rotorua
Image for Blackwater Rafting and Caving ex Auckland or Rotorua

Blackwater Rafting and Caving ex Auckland or Rotorua

CA $290
Per adult
90% of travellers recommend
Black Water Rafting - The Black Labyrinth Tubing Tour
Image for Black Water Rafting - The Black Labyrinth Tubing Tour

Black Water Rafting - The Black Labyrinth Tubing Tour

CA $130
Per adult
84% of travellers recommend
Auckland to Waitomo, Hobbiton and Rotorua 2 Day Private Tour
Image for Auckland to Waitomo, Hobbiton and Rotorua 2 Day Private Tour

Auckland to Waitomo, Hobbiton and Rotorua 2 Day Private Tour

CA $1,468
Per adult
Auckland to Waitomo Caves Private Tour
Image for Auckland to Waitomo Caves Private Tour

Auckland to Waitomo Caves Private Tour

CA $728
Per adult

Reviews of Waitomo Caves

4.5

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
4
5 - Excellent 50%
4 - Good
4
4 - Good 50%
3 - Okay
0
3 - Okay 0%
2 - Disappointing
0
2 - Disappointing 0%
1 - Terrible
0
1 - Terrible 0%

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

Jan 28, 2020

Pushing too many people in together in each group made it difficult for the guide to actually keep control of the group. Some people were loud, disrespectful, gross and just did not follow the rules. The boat was too full, other tourists rude.

5/5 - Excellent

Yrol

Nov 16, 2018

Book with Spellbound tours. Worth the cost as you get a much more unique and memorable experience!

Cities near Waitomo Caves

Photo by Cheskie's Gap Life

Otorohanga

Photo by Nicole Smelson

Te Anga