The limestone landscape around Waitomo is riddled with cave systems large and small. Many have stunning glowworm displays and limestone formations. Some caves are easily accessible, with hundreds of visitors daily. Others are for the more adventurous, where small groups can abseil, crawl, climb and raft underground accompanied by trained adventure caving guides.
Spellbound Glowworm & Cave Tours
On a Spellbound Tour we visit two wonderful caves.
In the first, see glowworms close up to discover their real identities. Then board a raft to experience a spellbinding drift down the mysterious cave river. Sit beneath the closest, densest and most sweeping glowworm display you could wish for. Lots of time is taken; you can truly enjoy one of nature's greatest light spectacles.
Our second cave is approached via a scenic gorge path retracing a lost river. At the cave we turn on soft lighting and introduce you to the ancient world of the Cave of the Spirit. Be prepared to be surprised by this cave.
- Small group tours - no crowds.
- Walks in a beautiful and intriguing farm and limestone setting.
- Transport from Waitomo Caves is included.
- Light refreshments.
- Great guides.
- Photographic opportunities.
Freephone (NZ only) 0800 773 552
Postal address: PO Box 4, Waitomo Caves Village
Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Marvel at the amazing limestone formations created by Mother Nature. Glide silently through the starry wonderland of the Glowworm Grotto, your way lit by a myriad of tiny glowworm lights glittering, glimmering and reflecting off the water.
Your guided tour will take you through stunning underground scenery commencing with the magnificent 'Cathedral'. The acoustics in this cave are world-renowned. Acclaimed New Zealand Opera Diva, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, has sung here and was delighted with the purity of the sound.
The highlight of your tour is an unrivalled boat trip through the spectacular Glowworm Grotto. As you enter this galaxy of tiny living lights, you'll immediately experience a serene atmosphere and be fascinated and intrigued by tiny glowworms that light your way. Your experienced tour guide will deliver a highly informative commentary sharing stories, cultural legends and the natural history of this awe-inspiring region of Waitomo.
NZ Freephone: 0800 456 922
Ruakuri Cave is New Zealand's longest guided underground walking tour and an experience that must be seen to be believed. It will leave you open-mouthed, awe-struck and humbled by the sheer majesty of nature.
Your journey begins at The Legendary Black Water Rafting Co. headquarters where your guide will meet you. From here you will be transported to Ruakuri Cave, where you will enter through the drum entrance down a spiral walkway. A world of mystery and intrigue awaits you. Immerse yourself in the Mana of Ruakuri and discover the spirit that connects the land and people.
Your guided journey will take you deep into the unknown. Crystal cave tapestries will enthrall you in the Drum Passage and as you descend, you will follow the rumbling sound of the Hidden Waterfall to the bridge where the glowworms illuminate this eerie world. Gaze in wonder at stalactite straws, flowstone and majestic formations that surround you. Continue into the dark corners of Holden's Cavern, where your guide will tell you about the local Maori legends and tapu places. Experience a sense of trepidation as you traverse the Ghost Walk. Let your imagination take hold and feel the spiritual power of the cave.
The Legendary Black Water Rafting Company - "Black Odyssey"
Challenge yourself on this awesome dry caving adventure with The Legendary Black Water Rafting Co. who have over 25 years of caving expertise. Experience a range of different caving techniques to complete this journey that will seriously stretch your limits.
Test yourself as you twist and turn through the Ruakuri Cave's main network and hidden passageways. Conquer thrilling rock traverses and mind-blowing heights. Edge over crossings high above roaring streamways. You'll also spider-walk through ancient rift passages and experience the challenges of high rope work and flying foxes.
At every stage you're accompanied and supported by experienced caving guides from The Legendary Black Water Rafting Co. who know and love this totally unique and mind-blowing environment.
The Legendary Black Water Rafting Company - "Black Labyrinth"
This is the original 3-hour Waitomo subterranean adventure that will have you climbing, black water tubing, leaping and floating through Ruakuri Cave where streams spill & twist, joining up to build a river canyon. The water carries you down the hidden waterfall and rocky chute then slides through vaulted limestone galleries to finally emerge into the Waitomo forest.
This classic caving adventure has made The Legendary Black Water Rafting Company famous the world over.
Over three hours you'll take leaps of faith over cascading waterfalls and float serenely down an underground river as you enjoy the glow worm show on the vaulted limestone galleries above.Your journey ends when you emerge into the sunlight of the Waitomo forest.
"Black Labyrinth" is suitable for beginners 12 years and over and at least 45 kgs in weight. You'll need to bring swimwear and a towel (Wetsuits and footwear are provided). Water temperatures are 10-14 C. We restrict each tour to a maximum of 12 people (allow 3 hours).
Free Phone 0800 228 464
Join our locally owned and operated company! You will:
- raft the longest "in cave" black water rafting stream passage
- see more glowworms - our glowworm display is rated 10/10
- ride the ultimate Cave Water Slide!
- book anytime with our 24 hour free phone booking service
- upgrade any of our products at discounted prices
- know that there is no chance that your booking will be cancelled due to poor weather conditions - we operate 365 days of the year
- receive our unbeatable 100% satisfaction guarantee
We're so confident of our products that if you're not 100% satisfied with your trip, we'll give you a full, no questions asked, money back guarantee.
Haggas Honking Holes
Waitomo's most concentrated Action!
Ever wondered what it would be like to be flushed down the loo on a rope?... Well this is it... and what an amazing facility it is!
See stalactites and stalagmites, columns and delicate straws. Even NZ's famous glowworms make an appearance - see them up close and personal. This trip is not for the faint-hearted. Participants are brave and fit, but you don't need any prior experience. All training and equipment is supplied. There is a very high guide ratio (1:5) and your safety is assured.
Nothing else in NZ, let alone Waitomo, compares to this activity. Allow 4 hours (approx 2 hours actually underground). With over 25 years of operational experience Waitomo Adventures Ltd is Waitomo's leading independent adventure operator, remains family owned and offers unique, safe, reliable quality activities.
Our changing and showering facilities are the best at Waitomo and all our activities are Qualmark endorsed. Check out our website for deals, photos and videos, plus our other 4 amazing options.
Lost World 4 Hour
The descent takes around 30 minutes of the total 4 hours required. Abseil slowly alongside your instructor, who is on a separate rope providing information, reassurance... and a backup safety tether.
Imagine free-hanging in a massive void... bouncing a bit and turning because of the sheer length of the rope. Look around into the upper levels of the cave and see giant spagatites (like giant green hands growing out of the walls. Weird plants struggle to cling to the sheer walls and all the while the roar of the Mangapu river echoes up from caverns far below. One guide looks after up to 4 people, all making their unforgettable descent together through the surreal mists and eventually landing in the base of this massive cavern.
Once down, take in the awesome views before starting on an even more amazing trip back to the surface. Climb over huge slabs of rock and a series of ladders. See excellent glowworms and huge flowstone formations. See why Tom Cruise did this trip 4 times!
The Legendary Black Water Rafting Company - "Black Abyss"
Black Abyss is the ultimate Waitomo adventure and is the caving tour of choice for natural born adrenaline junkies everywhere. Descend into the seemingly bottomless black depths of the glow worm studded Ruakuri Cave. This five-hour expedition combines abseiling (rappelling) into the 35 metre tomo, climbing, whizzing down a flying fox and cave tubing underneath glow worms into one unforgettable journey. At every stage you're accompanied and supported by experienced caving guides from The Legendary Black Water Rafting Co. who know and love this totally unique and mind-blowing environment.
Lost World 7 Hour Epic
The 100m freehanging abseil will astound you, but that's only the beginning. Spend the rest of the day walking, wading and swimming through the cavernous passages of this famous underground system. Yes, you need to be moderately fit (e.g. go bush walking for a day) but the trip is intended for complete novices - all you need is a swimsuit and a smile!
See giant oyster fossils and whalebones, giant flowstone (like icing sugar running down the walls). Lots of fun and optional challenges - water jumps, climbs and spiders. Includes an absolutely fantastic glowworm display.
Includes lunch & a BBQ dinner, plus all equipment (helmets, lights, wetsuits, ropes, harnesses, boots etc).
This will be the highlight of your world trip. If you came to NZ looking for top adventure, this is the one thing you must do - it's the unchallenged, unbeatable Best!
With over 25 years of operation, Waitomo Adventures Ltd is Waitomo's leading independent adventure operator and remains family owned.
St. Benedicts Cavern
Imagine a huge underground chamber 100m long and 40m high just bristling with stalactites, stalagmites, flowstone and all manner of wonderful natural creations. You gain access down a 40m shaft in two abseils. Once down the group makes its way along connecting passages until suddenly you've arrived... The main chamber is fabulous and the best part is yet to come. Clip onto a flying fox (zip line) that will zing you part way across the chamber. After that you walk and clamber past even more unusual formations until you reach the exit stair. Pop out a round door in the side of a hill and back into sunlight.
With over 25 years of operation, Waitomo Adventures Ltd is Waitomo's leading independent adventure operator, remains family owned and offers unique, safe, reliable, quality activities. All equipment is supplied with a high ratio of well trained guides (1:4). Our changing facilities are the best at Waitomo and all activities are Qualmark endorsed.
Try something different!
Don't be fooled! Blackwater Rafting is not like white water rafting. It's much gentler and you use car inner tubes, not white water rafts. Allow 4 hours for this trip (approx 2 hours underground).
All Blackwater Rafting trips at Waitomo include walking and wading, as well as swimming and tubing. A wide range of people can do it, even down to 12-year-olds. Your wetsuit gives you lots of flotation. You will however get wet!
Remember that not all caves (or operators) are created equal. Generally you will get what you pay for. With over 25 years of operation, Waitomo Adventures Ltd is Waitomo's leading independent adventure operator, remains family owned and offers unique, safe, reliable, quality activities. All equipment is supplied with a high ratio of well trained guides (1:6).
Our changing and showering facilities are the best at Waitomo and all our activities are Qualmark endorsed.
Check out our website for deals, photos and videos, plus our 4 other amazing options.
Footwhistle Glow Worm Tour
The lights are kept low to let you see the magnificent glowworm displays only inches away. Around a corner lie the bones of one of New Zealand's lost treasures, the ancient extinct Moa, and the Te Anaroa cave stream flows in the darkness below.
Because the Footwhistle Tour only takes a maximum of 12 people, feel free to chat to the guide and ask as many questions as you like. The lights are turned up and you see the stunning Te Anaroa cave formations. Be sure to take photos! The guide tells the stories of the creatures that live here - "Titiwai", the glow worm, and "Tuna", the eel.
And after enjoying a relaxed stroll through the cave, you'll see the Te Anaroa Cathedral lit up by a dazzling magnesium torch. Although the display only lasts a few seconds, your memories of the Footwhistle Cave Tour will last a lifetime.
Come and join us for a memorable adventure with guided Waitomo cave eco-tours.
Glowing Adventures runs personalised, unhurried and adventurous walking cave tours for small groups of 2-6 people through our private farm.
Our tours take you through beautiful untouched native New Zealand forest and into two impressive limestone caves. The cave tour includes three magnificent glowworm displays and the chance to get up close to these amazing and beautiful creatures.
We run the most personalised and intimate cave tours in the Waitomo district. There will never be more than 6 people per group. Our walking cave eco-tours are through completely untouched beautiful New Zealand scenery. (There are no concrete paths or handrails or electric lights).
We are off the beaten tourist track, but within a short drive of Waitomo Caves Village and the towns of Te Kuiti and Otorohanga.
Our customers have told us we provide a “real caving experience” - walking up hills, climbing over boulders and wading through a shallow stream, so a reasonable level of physical fitness is required.
We provide all the clothing and equipment you will need, as well as a warm shower and a cuppa after the tour. All you need to bring is a small camera to capture some of New Zealand’s finest scenery.
Our tours do not involve abseiling or heights or blackwater rafting.
Tours take approximately 3 hours.
Rap, Raft 'n Rock
Phone 07 873 9149
95 Waitomo Caves Road, Waitomo