Waitomo is situated 3 hours South of Auckland or 2 hours West of Rotorua. Filled with natural attractions the region serves as a great place for unique adventures and activities for those looking for abit of a challenge with a place to retreat and relax to.

This is one of the most beautiful destinations in New Zealand and extraordinary for any kind of voyager. 

On the surface, the area is serene and full of greenery and vast plains, yet under all that beauty lies a series of sinkholes, caves and underground waterways that are waiting to be uncovered and explored.

Check out the main attractions and things to do below.


1. The Glow Worm Caves

The incredibly famous Waitomo Caves is highly regarded as the focal point of the area. It should definitely be on the list. With an enormous amount of glowworms - ranging in the thousands, they call the caves ‘home’, flawlessly illuminating the cave and creating a magical sight to see. 

Visits to the Waitomo Caves are separated into areas where guided visits can either take you on a walk or on a tender vessel ride through the cave, silently admiring an impeccable representation of a dark yet bright starry night.

There are also adventures in the caves for adrenaline junkies.  There are intense abseiling and caving experiences that range from easy to difficult - from a few hours to several. 

The Lost World Tour is one notable adventure that is a definitive ordeal that should not be taken lightly. This unbelievable 7 hour guided tour takes you around the highlights of the cave.

This marvel of nature is a thrilling course, giving you a chance to slither, crawl, swim, abseil, zipline and float through the abyss. This is one of the best adventures in New Zealand.


2. Delve Into The Ruakuri Cave

Ruakuri Cave

The Ruakuri Cave is the longest guided underground visit in New Zealand and is just a part of the Waitomo caves. This experience gets visitors up close with glowworms and the cave formations.

This awe-inspiring tour particularly showcases the impressive stalactites that extensively reaches down to the ground from the ceiling. This tour is also wheelchair accessible. The tour takes roughly 2 hours in total and the price for an adult is $72. 


3. The Prettiest - St Benedict's Cavern

St Benedict's Cavern is not your typical cave visit.

With no glow worms here, it is still regarded as the most prettiest caves in New Zealand that is towering with stalactites, stalagmites, flowstone and limestone in a wide range of formations. 

This adventure is typically gentle, and you can choose to stay dry. It includes abseiling and a flying fox underground! The trip takes roughly 4 hours. 


4. See A Kiwi Up Close & Active

Kiwi bird

A pearl for bird-watchers & lovers. Kiwi House & Native Bird Park is a small yet well-presented park that showcases rare and endangered bird species of New Zealand with the iconic native kiwi as the centrepiece.

Make sure you check out the feeding time as you can see the birds up close and active. Times are at 10:30am, 1:30pm and 3:30pm. While the other notable birds are 11:00am, Noon & 2:30pm. They are open everyday except for Christmas from 9:00am to 5:00pm. An adult ticket is $24.  


5. Stopover At Marokopa Falls

Marokopa Falls

Only a couple of kilometers from the caves, Marokopa Falls trail is only a 20 minutes stroll from the car park. It is a great attraction for the whole family.

This towering 30m waterfall is a dazzling sight to see, and what's best is that it is free and certainly well worth the quick stopover whether you are just stretching your legs or having a picnic.

There are also other well known attractions closeby, the Mangapohue Natural Bridge and Piripiri Caves. The Waitomo area is full of natural attractions within reach of each other, so ensure you have a means of transport at the ready.

You can compare car rentals or hire a motorhome and look for the best vehicle to suit your needs. Having that flexibility to go wherever and whenever is a sure plus! 


6. Explore The Native Pureora Forest

Pureora Forest

Though if these underground activities does not gain your interest, Pureora Forest Park is a green wonderland that is full of wildlife and staggering 1,000 year old trees.

Perceived as one the finest on the planet, there are short and long strolls for any adventurer, so ensure you are very well prepared. Other notable activities in this area are horse riding, hunting, swimming, wildlife watching, outdoors, 4x4ing, fishing, mountain biking and quad-biking. 


Plan a Trip to Waitomo 

Waitomo makes an incredible destination for the outdoor lover, it is just a beautiful experience packed wonderland.

This area has it all, on the off chance that you are going by the North Island, this area should be made as a stopover. Even for locals, it is an incredible area for a weekend retreat.

You can visit independently or lots of New Zealand group tours also add a stop here on overland trips.

If you are planning a trip to New Zealand these pages will give you ideas for things to do: