A boat ride through the glowworm caves of Waitomo will leave you speechless
Waitomo Caves
Glowworm caves, Hamilton - Waikato

By Corin Walker

Exploring the glowworm caves in Waitomo
Waitomo Caves
Exploring Waitomo Caves, Hamilton - Waikato

By Corin Walker

Black water rafting through the Waitomo Caves
Waitomo Caves
Black water rafting, Hamilton - Waikato

By Tourism Holdings

Waitomo's Lost World is an exciting abseiling and caving adventure.
Waitomo Caves
Waitomo Caves, Hamilton - Waikato

By Fraser Clements

Waitomo Caves

Under the green hills of Waitomo lies a labyrinth of caves, sinkholes and underground rivers. The area's name comes from the Maori words wai (water) and tomo (hole).

The caves were carved by underground streams pushing through soft limestone over thousands of years. Many have amazing stalactites growing down from the ceiling and stalagmites growing up from the cave floor, pointy cones of layered rock formed over centuries by dripping water. The cave walls are also decorated with galaxies of native glow worms.

The easiest way to see the caves is with a walking or boat tour. If you’re into adventure, try the unique experience of black water rafting - you'll crawl, swim and float through the caves on a rubber tube. Or you could abseil or zip-line through the darkness. However you choose to explore Waitomo Caves, you're bound to agree they're a wonder of nature.

For a quirky insight into rural New Zealand life, take in one of the local farm shows, or go exploring on a guided horse trek. If you'd like to visit some New Zealand’s rarest birds, including our national icon, the kiwi, head to Otorohanga Kiwi House in Otorohanga.

Nearby, the Pureora forest provides some great short and long hikes suitable for all levels. Hunting and fishing tours are also on offer in the area.

South of Waitomo is Piopio. This rural area is making a name for itself with great walking trails, cafes, golf, and Hairy Feet Waitomo, which was the filming location for Staddle Farm and the Trollshaw forest in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Waitomo Township has a few shops and plenty of accommodation. It is easily reached by road from Auckland (3 hours), Rotorua (2 hours) or Hamilton (1 hour).

Content courtesy of Tourism NZ

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Caves Motor Inn - Accommodation in Hangatiki New Zealand
7.70 70 Reviews
Hangatiki
078738109
Just 5 minutes’ drive from the Waitomo Caves, Caves Motor Inn offers rooms with a private balcony and satellite TV. It features a restaurant, a bar with billiards and a shuttle service to central Waitomo. Free parking is available on site. All rooms have a toaster, electric kettle and r... (more)
Glow Worm Motel - Accommodation in Hangatiki New Zealand
7.60 87 Reviews
Hangatiki
078738882
Surrounded by rural countryside, Glow Worms Motel features an outdoor pool, BBQ facilities and a children’s swing set. It offers self-contained accommodation with free Wi-Fi and lovely garden views. Glow Worms Motel Te Kuiti is 6 minutes’ drive from the Waitomo Glow-worm Caves and Waito... (more)
Kiwi Paka - Waitomo - Accommodation in Waitomo New Zealand
7.40 162 Reviews
Waitomo
078783395
Waitomo is beautiful and mysterious both above and below ground. Take the Ruakuri bushwalk through lush forest, enter the underground caves to see our world famouss glow-worms or go on an adrenaline filled black water rafting trip. Kiwipaka is a unique and relaxed rural New Zealand g... (more)
Top Motel Waitomo - Accommodation in Hangatiki New Zealand
Hangatiki
0800521056
We are located right in the heart of Waitomo Caves Village so you can walk to everything Waitomo has to offer. Apart from caving, enjoy horse trekking, a museum, the Ruakuri walkway, the Mangapohue Natural Bridge, and the Marakopa Falls. Swimming pool & hot tub Playground & BBQ area WiF... (more)
Waitomo Caves Guest Lodge - Accommodation in Waitomo New Zealand
9.40 511 Reviews
Waitomo Caves, Waitomo
0800465762
Waitomo Caves Guest Lodge is right in the centre of Waitomo Caves Village, next to the Waitomo General Store, opposite award winning Huhu Cafe, and just a short walk to Waitomo Caves i-SITE/Discovery Centre, the Waitomo Glow-worm Caves and a pizzeria. There is off street parking.Each of th... (more)
Waitomo Caves Hotel - Accommodation in Waitomo New Zealand
6.60 388 Reviews
Waitomo
078788204
This grand historic hotel is situated on a hill overlooking Waitomo Village and the famouss Waitomo Caves. Surrounded by lovely gardens, this country lodge features sweeping staircases, large open fireplaces and unique architecture.Waitomo Caves Hotel has a large lounge and bar area that s... (more)
Waitomo TOP 10 Holiday Park - Accommodation in Waitomo Caves New Zealand
9.20 227 Reviews
Waitomo Caves
0508498666
Waitomo TOP 10 Holiday Park is a Qualmark 4-star Holiday Park in Waitomo. The accommodation options are 1&2brm park motels, ensuite units, standard cabins, backpacker accommodation, motorhome/caravan and tent sites.Waitomo is located in King Country in Waikato. Its most famouss tourist att... (more)
Woodlyn Park - Unique Accommodation - Accommodation in Waitomo New Zealand
8.20 141 Reviews
RD7 Otorohanga, Waitomo
078786666
Experience an exceptional farm stay motel near Waitomo Caves, the most unique Waikato Accommodation available.Our World renowned Waitomo Motels include a Train motel, a Plane Motel, 3 ship motels and the Hobbit motels. All of the units at Woodlyn Park are beautifully furbished self-contain... (more)
YHA Waitomo Juno Hall - Accommodation in Waitomo New Zealand
Waitomo
078787649
Come and relax at our modern 40-bed hostel, situated on our farm, 1km away from Waitomo Village. With stunning views and native forest as your back-drop, you will enjoy your stay and want to come back for more. Hunting/fishing trips. Swimming pool, lawn, tennis court, volleyball, trampolin... (more)
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