The Waitomo Glowworm Caves – An Underground Adventure

Waitomo Glowworm Caves underground river

The Waitomo Glowworm Caves offer a magical glimpse back in time. In fact, these ancient limestone formations have not changed in the century since the Maori Chief Tane Tinorau and English surveyor Fred Mace discovered them. The mystical turquoise shimmer in the caves emanates from thousands of tiny glowworms. Unique to New Zealand, these luminous insects nestle among the stalagmites and stalactites. Here they light up the caves’ walls and ceilings. Yet the Waitomo Caves have something to capture every visitor’s imagination. All in all, the fascinating geology, underground waterfalls and thrill of spelunking make the Waitomo Caves a spellbinding destination for local and overseas visitors alike. 

Explore the ancient Waitomo Glowworm Caves

Over 30 million years ago, the legendary Waitomo Caves started to take shape. In time, the formation of limestone sediment at the bottom of New Zealand’s oceans created these caves. Today these caves are among the most inspiring natural sights that New Zealand has to offer. You can really feel the magic of this place when you take the boat ride through the caves. As you glide along the underground waterways, you will pass by stalactites shimmering with haunting light from the glowworms. These awe-inspiring caves are truly a marvel of geology and biology, where ancient stone formations meet a teeming ecosystem of plant and animal life. Whatever your preferred activity, the Waitomo Caves are sure to leave you with a sense of magic and enchantment. Our action-packed Waitomo Caves Tour from Auckland covers the highlights, with plenty of extras and optional upgrades for thrill seekers. 

Waitomo Caves boat tour guide pointing out glowworms to visitors
Black Water Rafters sliding down underground waterfalls at Waitomo Caves

Black Water Rafting: a spelunking challenge for the active adventurer

If you fancy yourself the adventurous type, you can try Black Water Rafting for the thrill of it. Black Water Rafting in the darkness of the “Black Labyrinth” is a genuine bucket list item for adrenaline junkies. On this exciting challenge you’ll crawl and swim through the caves’ subterranean waterways and waterfalls on a rubber tube. There is no better way to get up close and personal with the elements in this underground wonderland. The Cheeky Kiwi Travel Waitomo Caves tour offers optional upgrades to include this adrenaline-pumping challenge. 

The Ruakuri Cave: New Zealand’s longest guided underground walking tour

The Ruakuri Cave at Waitomo also offers a captivating blend of Waitomo’s most compelling subterranean experiences. It is home to New Zealand’s longest guided underground walking tour, covering 1.6km of the 7.5km cave system. The 15m high spiral staircase provides a close-up view of the ancient limestone formations. As you near the glowworms, you can hear the distant thunder of the underground waterfalls. Walking through the Ruakuri Cave is truly an experience beyond imagination. 

Walkway in the Ruakuri underground limestone cave, Waitomo

Explore the Waitomo Glowworm Caves 

Join our Waitomo Caves full day tour from Auckland, with optional upgrades for even more thrilling activities. Alternatively, combine your caving adventure with a visit to Hobbiton or Rotorua and Te Puia.

For a unique tour tailored around your unique interests, you can also consider creating a custom tour.