The 2 Best Tours with Locals in Waitomo

Welcome to our guide on the best attractions and things to do in Waitomo, New Zealand! Waitomo is a small village located in the North Island that’s known for its underground caves and unique glowworms. In this post, we will explore the top activities and sights to experience while visiting the area. Whether you’re an adventure seeker or a nature lover, Waitomo has much to offer. From thrilling activities like black water rafting to serene walks through lush forests, this guide will help you plan your perfect trip to Waitomo. So, let’s dive in!

The 2 Best Tours with Locals in Waitomo

  1. Ruakuri Cave Guided Tour
  2. Waitomo Glowworm Caves 45 Minute Experience

The 2 Best Tours with Locals in Waitomo

1. Ruakuri Cave Guided Tour

Discover the wonders of underground New Zealand on the Ruakuri Cave guided tour. As the longest underground walking tour offered in Waitomo, this experience is not to be missed. With a small group size, you can enjoy an intimate and educational tour led by a knowledgeable local guide. Marvel at the unique rock formations, subterranean rivers, and thousands of glowworms that call this cave home. Dive deep into the history and geology of Ruakuri Cave while exploring its captivating features. Entry fees are included in this 90-minute walking tour, making it a hassle-free experience you won’t forget. Join us on the Ruakuri Cave guided tour and discover the beauty and intrigue of New Zealand’s underground.

2. Waitomo Glowworm Caves 45 Minute Experience

Discover the natural wonder of Waitomo Glowworm Caves on a 45-minute guided boat tour. Marvel at the thousands of glowworms lighting up the rocky limestone cave as you glide through. Your knowledgeable local guide will provide insights about the history and geology of the caves. Experience the amazing acoustics of the Cathedral Cave while walking through. This tour includes the Waitomo Glowworm Caves entry ticket and souvenir photos. Please note that wheelchair users are not recommended for this tour.

Frequently Asked Questions about Waitomo: Your Ultimate Guide

Waitomo is a small village in the North Island of New Zealand. The village is renowned for its limestone caves system, including the famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves. The geological formations, natural wonders, and thrilling adventure activities attract thousands of tourists each year. In this post, we’ll cover the most frequently asked questions about Waitomo, including what to do, how to get there, and where to stay. Let’s get started!

1. What is Waitomo Best Known For?

As mentioned, Waitomo is known for its limestone caves and the breathtaking Waitomo Glowworm Caves. The caves are filled with thousands of glowworms that light up the dark with a stunning blue glow. The glowworms are unique to New Zealand and are the larvae of the fungus gnat Arachnocampa luminosa. Visiting these caves is a must-do activity during your trip to Waitomo.

2. How to Get to Waitomo?

Waitomo is located in the Waikato region of New Zealand’s North Island. It’s easily accessible from Auckland, Hamilton, Rotorua, and Taupo. The driving distance from Auckland to Waitomo is approximately 200 km, and it takes around 2.5 hours to drive. You can also take a bus or coach from any of the abovementioned cities. The buses run several times a day, and the journey takes around 3-4 hours. If you’re traveling from overseas, the closest international airport is Auckland International Airport.

2.1. Can I Rent a Car in Waitomo?

Yes, you can rent a car in Waitomo if you prefer to explore the region at your own pace. There are several car rental companies in Waitomo, including Thrifty, Hertz, and Avis. You can also rent a car from any major city in New Zealand and drive to Waitomo.

3. What are the Best Things to Do in Waitomo?

Waitomo is a haven for adventure enthusiasts, nature lovers, and those seeking a unique experience. The top things to do in Waitomo are:

3.1. Waitomo Glowworm Caves

The Waitomo Glowworm Caves is the most popular attraction in Waitomo. You’ll take a guided tour through underground caverns where thousands of glowworms illuminate the dark like stars. You’ll also get to ride a boat through the caves, which is an unforgettable experience.

3.2. Black Water Rafting

Black Water Rafting is a thrilling activity that involves tubing through underground blackwater rivers. The guides will take you through the underground river, including jumps, rapids, and climbs, with just your headlamp and the glowworms to light the way.

3.3. Waitomo Adventure Activities

Apart from black water rafting, Waitomo offers a range of adventure activities, including abseiling, rock climbing, and ziplining. These are perfect for those seeking an adrenaline rush.

3.4. Waitomo Walks and Hikes

If you prefer to explore Waitomo’s natural beauty on foot, there are several walks and hikes to choose from. The Waitomo Walkway is an easy three-hour walk that takes you through native bush, farmland, and limestone landscapes.

4. What is the Best Time to Visit Waitomo?

The best time to visit Waitomo is during the summer months from December to February. The weather is warm, and there’s plenty of daylight hours to explore the region. However, this is also the busiest time of the year, and you’ll need to book your accommodation and activities in advance. If you prefer fewer crowds, consider visiting during the shoulder season from March to May or September to November.

5. Where to Stay in Waitomo?

Waitomo has a range of accommodation options to suit all budgets and preferences. There are hotels, motels, lodges, campsites, and backpacker hostels. The most popular accommodation options are:

5.1. Waitomo Top 10 Holiday Park

Waitomo Top 10 Holiday Park is a great option for those seeking a budget-friendly accommodation option. The park offers cabins, motels, and campsites, and has a range of facilities, including a BBQ area, swimming pool, and spa.

5.2. Waitomo Caves Hotel

If you’re looking for a more luxurious option, the Waitomo Caves Hotel is a great choice. The hotel is located in a historic building and offers rooms with antique furnishings and modern amenities. There’s also a restaurant, bar, and lounge on site.

5.3. Kiwi Paka Waitomo

Kiwi Paka Waitomo is a backpacker hostel that offers budget-friendly accommodation in a friendly environment. The hostel has a communal kitchen, lounge area, and BBQ facilities.

6. What Should I Pack for Waitomo?

When visiting Waitomo, it’s essential to pack appropriate clothing and gear. The weather can be changeable, and it can get cold in the caves, so bring warm clothing, including a waterproof jacket and sturdy footwear. You’ll also need a headlamp or torch, as the caves can be dark. If you’re planning on doing adventure activities, bring appropriate clothing, including a wetsuit and waterproof shoes.

How to Spend Your Time as a Tourist in Waitomo

Waitomo is a small town on the North Island of New Zealand that is known for its underground adventures. From caves to glowworms, there are plenty of things to do for tourists. Here is a guide on how to make the most of your time in Waitomo.

1. Explore the Waitomo Glowworm Caves

One of the main attractions in Waitomo is the Waitomo Glowworm Caves. These caves were formed over millions of years and are home to thousands of glowworms. You can take a guided tour of the caves, which includes a boat ride through the glowworm grotto. The tour takes about 45 minutes to an hour.

How to Get There

The Waitomo Glowworm Caves are located on Waitomo Caves Road, just off State Highway 3. If you are driving, follow the signs from Te Kuiti or Otorohanga. There is also a shuttle bus that runs from Rotorua, Hamilton, and Auckland.

What to Expect

The cave temperature is about 14 degrees Celsius (57 degrees Fahrenheit) year-round, so be sure to bring warm clothing. The boat ride through the glowworm grotto is a peaceful and breathtaking experience. The glowworms overhead create a magical, starry night-like atmosphere.

2. Visit the Ruakuri Cave

Another cave worth visiting in Waitomo is the Ruakuri Cave. This cave is known for its limestone formations and glowworm displays. The guided tour takes about two hours and includes a walk through the limestone caves, a boat ride, and a visit to the glowworm grotto.

How to Get There

The Ruakuri Cave is also located on Waitomo Caves Road. It is just a short distance from the Waitomo Glowworm Caves.

What to Expect

The Ruakuri Cave has a more adventurous tour than the Waitomo Glowworm Caves. You will need to climb up stairs, cross a suspended bridge, and crawl through narrow gaps. The glowworm grotto is impressive, with thousands of glowworms lighting up the darkness.

3. Take a Black Water Rafting Adventure

If you are looking for a more adrenaline-pumping activity, try black water rafting. This activity involves floating down underground rivers on a tube, while wearing a wetsuit and helmet. Along the way, you will see glowworm displays and various limestone formations.

How to Get There

There are a few companies that offer black water rafting tours in Waitomo. Check out the options and book ahead of time to ensure availability.

What to Expect

Black water rafting is a unique and thrilling experience. You will need to be reasonably fit and comfortable in the water. The guides will instruct you on how to use the tube and navigate the underground rivers. You will see amazing glowworm displays and limestone formations, making it an unforgettable adventure.

4. Hike the Waitomo Walkway

For a more relaxed activity, the Waitomo Walkway is a great option. This trail is about 3.5 kilometers (2.2 miles) each way and takes about 2.5 hours to complete. Along the way, you will see beautiful views of the surrounding countryside, including farmland and limestone formations.

How to Get There

The Waitomo Walkway starts at the end of Mangapohue Road, just off State Highway 3. There is a car park near the trailhead.

What to Expect

The Waitomo Walkway is a moderate hike, with some inclines and declines. Wear comfortable shoes and bring plenty of water. The views along the way are beautiful and well worth the effort.

5. Visit the Waitomo Museum of Caves

To learn more about the caves in Waitomo, visit the Waitomo Museum of Caves. This museum has exhibits about cave formation, history, and exploration. You can also learn about the Maori culture and its relationship with the caves.

How to Get There

The Waitomo Museum of Caves is located in the Waitomo Village, just off State Highway 3.

What to Expect

The Waitomo Museum of Caves is a small museum, but it has informative exhibits about the area’s geology, history, and culture. You can also find souvenirs and gifts related to the caves.

Book Your Tour Now

Waitomo is a unique and fascinating destination for tourists. Whether you want to experience the glowworm displays or go on a more adventurous activity like black water rafting, there is something for everyone. Don’t forget to visit the Waitomo Museum of Caves to learn more about the area’s history and culture.

The 2 Best Tours with Locals in Waitomo