Waitomo caves

The Waitomo caves are one of New Zealand’s must-see natural attractions. A system of underground caves comprised by the Glowworm caves, the Ruakuri cave and the Aranui cave.


The Waitomo Caves are a labyrinth of caves, stalactite and stalagmites formations and underground rivers, filled with magical Arachnocampa luminosa, a glowworm specie endemic to New Zealand. The Geological and volcanic activity of the area created the limestone caves over the last 30 million years, when the region was still under the ocean.

The word “Waitomo” means “water-hole” in Maori.  They hold a cultural significance to the local Māori people, who have a strong connection to the land and its stories. Many cave tours offer insights into the Māori history, legends, and spiritual significance associated with the caves, adding a cultural dimension to the visitor experience.

Nestled within a scenic rural landscape, the offer opportunities for outdoor activities and exploration. You can enjoy hiking, nature walks, and birdwatching in the surrounding area, immersing yourself in the beauty of the New Zealand countryside.

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Waitomo Glowworm Caves

The Glowworm Caves are the most famous caves, and have been a tourist attraction since 1890. Its tallest chamber, the Cathedral, is 59 feet (18 m) high. As you glide through the dark caverns, thousands of tiny bioluminescent glowworms illuminate the ceiling, creating a mesmerizing display resembling a starry night sky. The ethereal glow emitted by these tiny creatures is truly a sight to behold.

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The Ruakuri Cave 

The Ruakuri Cave is the largest cave in the Waitomo system, discovered 500 years ago. An extensive system of limestone formations and crystal tapestries can be found upon entrance. Known for its spectacular underground waterfall, intricate limestone formations, and expansive chambers, Ruakuri Cave offers a guided walking tour that provides a fascinating glimpse into the natural and cultural history of the area.

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The Aranui Cave

The Aranui Cave is the only cave of the system that doesn’t have water, and therefore doesn’t have worms. However, is home to spectacular pale brown, pink and white stalactites.

A visit to the Waitomo Caves promises a memorable and enchanting experience. Whether you’re admiring the mesmerizing glowworms, marveling at the limestone formations, embarking on adventurous activities, or immersing yourself in the cultural and natural history, the caves offer a truly extraordinary journey into a subterranean world.