Family Fun

Go on an old-fashioned family holiday and spend time with the kids around Waitomo. Take them to the glowworm caves, go Black Water Rafting, eat fish and chips on the wharf at Kawhia, visit the Otorohanga Kiwi House & Native Bird Park and check out the Waitomo Caves Discovery Centre. Drive to stunning West Coast beaches at Kawhia, Marokopa and Kiritehere, see the Marokopa Falls and walk the Mangapohue Natural Bridge loop trail, go horse trekking and bush walking or check out the Kiwiana displays in the Ed Hillary Walkway in Otorohanga... It's all just 2 and a bit hours south of Auckland, but you'll need at least 3 days!

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Otorohanga Kiwi House & Native Bird Park

The best place in NZ to see  Kiwi!

  • Enjoy close-up, all day viewing of our national bird, the Kiwi, in special nocturnal enclosures.
  • Kiwi feeding daily at 10.30am, 1.30pm & 3.30pm,  Kea & Kaka feeding at 11.00am, kakariki at 12.00pm, native Longfin eels at 2.30pm. Keeper talks throughout the day.
  • Walk through New Zealand's largest dome aviary. You might get a chance to help hand-feed the Red-crowned Kakariki (parakeets) - you'll even see Tuatara reptiles, which pre-dated the dinosaurs, basking in the summer sunshine
  • Wander along the Park's tree-lined paths and see a great range of New Zealand native birds - Kea, Kaka, Kakariki (parakeets) native wood pigeons, waterfowl and so much more!...
  • We are just 15 minutes from the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, Black Water Rafting and caving adventure tours

The Otorohanga Kiwi House is a truly authentic New Zealand nature experience, owned and operated by the Otorohanga Zoological Society Inc. – a "not-for-profit" dedicated to the conservation of New Zealand's native wildlife. Every cent of your entry fee is invested in the Park's operation and our breeding programs for Kiwi and endangered wildlife.

The Otorohanga Kiwi House & Native Bird Park is open daily (except Christmas Day).

OPENING HOURS:

9:00am to 5.00pm

Prices:

  • $24.00 Adult
  • $8.00 Children (Ages 5-15)
  • $59.00 Family (2 adults & up to 3 children-a saving of $13)

(Under 5 years of age - free of charge with fee paying adult/s)

Phone 07 873 7391

Alex Telfer Drive, Otorohanga

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Ruakuri Cave

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.

Phone 0800 782 5874

585 Waitomo Caves Road, Waitomo Caves

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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.

We provide:

  • 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

Phone 07 878 7622

Waitomo Caves General Store, Waitomo Caves Village

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Pa Harakeke

Pa Harakeke or "Harakeke World" is located below the Pureora Mountain, beside the Kakaho Stream and next door to the Pureora Forest Park. It showcases harakeke (native flax) a valuable resource for Maori in pre-European times and now in demand as a natural fibre and for the medicinal properties in the gel.

Pa Harakeke is open 7 days a week during summer and 5 days for the remainder of the year. Our friendly and experienced staff are locals, and are eager to assist those who venture into our neck of the woods and are perhaps in need of sustenance, shelter, transport or information. Pa Harakeke first opened to visitors in March 2009 and offers visitors

  • Food & Beverages from our coffee bar
  • Quality 2 bedroom chalet accommodation (2 chalets, 1 with disabled access, fully serviced)
  • Shuttle transport for people, bikes & baggage along the Timber Trail cycle way
  • Mountain bike hire
  • Secure overnight storage for vehicles
  • Pop over parking facility for self contained campervans & motor homes
  • Gift Shop with many locally produced goods
  • Conference Meeting Room facility
  • Harakeke Gallery showcasing harakeke products, local legends & history
  • Maori Pa with defensive fortifications (pre-1800)
  • Eco-Tree planting with native trees selected from the Native Plant Nursery
  • Guided Tours (includes the Pa Harakeke Eco-Cultural Tour plus mountain, native bush & cycling tours)

Phone 07 929 8708

138 Maraeroa Road, Pureora

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Waitomo Caves Discovery Centre

The award-winning Waitomo Caves Discovery Centre is located in the heart of Waitomo village. It is one of the best special interest museums in New Zealand and possibly one of the best cave interpretation centres in the world.

Our must-see centre explores the above and below ground treasures of Waitomo. We feature a multi-media show called Arachnocampa Luminosa that describes the life-cycle of the New Zealand glowworm. Displays include the formation of karst (limestone) landscapes and caves, local history and culture, an impressive collection of cave fossils and moa bones and a cave crawl challenge for the adventurous.

The Waitomo Caves region has a unique mix of history and heritage and people of all interests and backgrounds form a backdrop to this vital, energetic, small rural community that has developed its own colourful and interesting history.

Our constantly growing collection includes an extensive collection of fossil skeletons uniquely preserved for thousands of years in the stable cave environment. Caving memorabilia keeps us in touch with the stream of colourful, intrepid and very interesting people who have travelled from every corner of the world to explore the caves of Waitomo. The centre preserves these items and thus the stories and experiences of the Waitomo Caves people.

The Discovery Centre also houses the Waitomo i-SITE, the Waitomo Education Service, a souvenir shop, a post shop, luggage storage, internet access, photocopying and phone top ups.

It is open every day of the year except Christmas Day.

logo WCDC

OPENING HOURS:

  • 26th December to end of February: 8:30am – 6:30pm* daily
  • 1st March to end of Easter weekend: 8:45am – 5.45pm* daily
  • End of easter weekend to 1st April: 9.00am – 5:30pm* daily
  • 1st April to start of Labour weekend: 9:00am – 5:00pm* daily
  • Start of Labour weekend to 24th December: 9.00am – 5:30pm* daily

*(Times may be subject to change throughout the year)

 

Phone 07 878 7640

Waitomo Caves Village

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Waitomo Glowworm Cave Grotto

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

Phone 07 878 8228

39 Waitomo Caves Road, Waitomo

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Roselands Farm & Garden Restaurant

Roselands is New Zealand’s leading Barbeque and Buffet Restaurant. Peacefully nestled amongst native bush and lush farm land and only 3km from Waitomo Caves Village.

Open from 9am daily. We offer morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. Small to large group catering, walk-ins welcome. Specialty catering - weddings, birthdays, special occasions and work functions.

We offer the opportunity to dine outside, either on the decks or under our spectacular old cherry tree. This blooms in October and makes a picturesque setting. Over summer it provides a cool shady place to dine and enjoy the views of the surrounding award-winning gardens and native bush teaming with bird life.

Or dine indoors and enjoy the elevated views from the large windows in the main dining room.  On those cooler days cosy up next to the wood burner in our smaller dining area.

Our restaurant has two dining rooms - the main dining room seats 150 people and the adjoining dining room seats 100 people. There is outdoor seating for 90 people. We are perfectly suited as a wedding venue and offer special menus plus equipment hire. Our premises are fully licenced and we proudly stock a great selection of premium wines as well as New Zealand beers and soft drinks.

Family activities, accommodation, established gardens and native bush walk onsite. Try adding some of the activities below (we offer combo rates for these too).

  • Farm Park – Feed and pet the friendly farm animals.
  • Angora Rabbit Shearing Show – 11.30am daily (subject to availability).
  • Win $1000! - A hole-in-one golf challenge to test your skills for a chance to win $1000!  or a FREE meal or $30 gift shop voucher.
  • Scenic Helicopter Flights – See Waitomo from above

 

FREE Wifi

 

Phone 07 878 7611

579 Fullerton Road, Waitomo Caves

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Waikawau Beach Tunnel

Waikawau Beach Tunnel

Access to Waikawau Beach is through the Waikawau Beach Tunnel. The short tunnel was formed by 3 employees of the Works Department using picks and shovels and finished in 1911. It opened the beach route for stock to reach Nukuhakere Station and was built wide enough for the largest horned beast and high enough for a tall horseman.

Directions: From Waitomo drive west along Te Anga Road. Turn left at Te Anga towards Marokopa, Kiritehere and Waikawau. Turn right into Waikawau Road and drive 4.4 kilometres to the end.

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Kiwiana Town Otorohanga mural

Otorohanga 'Kiwiana Town'

Otorohanga has long been home to the Otorohanga Kiwi House & Native Bird Park, a wildlife sanctuary dedicated to the conservation and breeding of Kiwi and a host of other endangered NZ birds & reptiles. Not surprisingly, Otorohanga became known as the 'Kiwi Town' and it was a logical move to adopt the Kiwiana theme and claim the 'Kiwiana Town' title!

Today Otorohanga's main street (Maniapoto Street / State Highway 3) is full of Kiwiana memorabilia. (Even the Public Toilets are Kiwiana-themed inside and out!)

Pride of place, however, goes to the Ed Hillary Walkway in the middle of town. It's a gallery-style arcade connecting Otorohanga's main shopping street (Maniapoto Street/State Highway 3) and the heritage-listed Otorohanga Railway Station (now the home of Origin Coffee Roaster & Espresso Bar). It's a fitting tribute to that most iconic of Kiwi heroes, Sir Edmund Hillary.

The Walkway is lined with Kiwiana display cases depicting everything from Pavlova (a NZ invention commonly disputed by Australia!) the ANZAC Story, School Milk and Sir Ed Hillary to the All Blacks, Team NZ and Aunt Daisy.

"...In the main street adorned with colourful floral baskets, it was time to check out the Ed Hillary Walkway opened by Lady June Hillary in December 2008. In keeping with Otorohanga's Kiwiana theme, the walkway encases iconic New Zealand memorabilia behind glass panels to view as you stroll. There are buzzy bees, boot polish, All Blacks and the great man himself speaking via video. It was wonderful to hear that distinctive voice again and even though Sir Ed was not an Otorohanga boy, the town has paid him a fitting tribute. There is still much discussion about the best way to honour New Zealand’s treasure of a man and Otorohanga has gone and done it."
Bonnie Tucker – Eclipse magazine

Phone 07 873 8951

Ed Hillary Walkway - Maniapoto Street, Otorohanga (by ANZ)

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Running of the Sheep Te Kuiti

"Running of the Sheep" - Te Kuiti

It's the largest Sheep Run in the world! In a quirky Kiwi version of the Pamplona Bull Run, Te Kuiti lets loose about 2000 sheep to run down the town's main street. The annual "Running of the Sheep" is usually held the weekend after Easter each year and is part of The Great New Zealand Muster, Te Kuiti's celebration of its status as "The Sheep Shearing Capital of the World". It's a traditional Kiwi Country Fair with shearing contests, sideshows, fairground rides, food stalls, live music, local arts and crafts and up to 100 stalls and exhibits - a free, fun event for the whole family!

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Marokopa west of Waitomo from the air

Marokopa

Drive west from Waitomo for breathtaking views of Marokopa Village on the dramatic West Coast. There's wonderful fishing and swimming, panoramic views of the Marokopa River mouth south of the village and an old Maori pa site, Puketoa.

West of Waitomo on Marokopa/Mangatoa Roads

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Timber Trail Pureora Forest Park

The Timber Trail

The Timber Trail cycle way is a stunning 85 km cycling adventure from Pureora Forest Park Village (off State Highway 30 between Te Kuiti and Mangakino) to Ongarue near Taumarunui. The full trail is a 2–3 day ride on easy and intermediate gradients and surfaces - it varies from flat smooth track with some gentle climbs to steep slopes in places.

(At Pureora Forest Village there are Department of Conservation campsites and cabins available plus beautiful bush walks in the area).

Trail sections vary from 5–45 kms in length with:

  • 35 bridges, including 8 impressive suspension bridges (the longest is 141 metres)
  • Magnificent native forests of massive totara, rimu, kahikatea, miro & matai trees & wonderful birdlife
  • Historic bush tramways including the Ongarue Spiral (an engineering marvel) & newly built tracks
  • Panoramic views
  • Historic timber-milling sites to explore

Pureora Forest, State Highway 30

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mangapohue natural bridge

Mangapohue Natural Bridge

The Mangapohue Natural Bridge walking trail on Te Anga Road west of Waitomo is a highlight on the scenic drive to Marokopa on the West Coast. A boardwalk through an impressive limestone gorge leads to the Natural Bridge, a spectacular 17 metre-high limestone arch spanning the Mangapohue Stream and all that remains of an ancient cave system.

A loop track (20 minutes return) passes under the bridge and continues over a farm trail. Look out for 25 million year old fossilised oysters exposed in the limestone outcrops. At night there are wonderful glowworm displays.

 

Te Anga Road (25 km west of Waitomo Caves Village)

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Marokopa Falls NZ

Marokopa Falls

Drive west from Waitomo Caves Village to the spectacular Marokopa Falls. A short walk through native forest from a car park on the Te Anga Road leads through lush forest to the 35-metre high falls cascading over a magnificent greywacke bluff. The Marokopa Falls (often described as some of the most beautiful in NZ) can be viewed from a platform at the end of a short track through nikau and tawa forest.

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Dundle Hill Walk

Dundle Hill Walk is a unique 2-day Waitomo walk though lush native bush, unique limestone formations, caves, forestry and farmland. The clearly marked walk is 27 kilometres long. Located halfway along, high up in the bush on Dundle Hill, is the Kay's Cabin.

The Dundle Hill Waitomo 2-Day Walk has 3 great walk sections:

  • The Waitomo Walkway from Waitomo village to the Ruakuri Bush Reserve.
  • The Ruakuri Bush Walk, home of the spectacular Aranui Cave and the Ruakuri Tunnel.
  • The Walk to Kay's Cabin from Ruakuri Reserve to Kay's Cabin on top of Dundle Hill, then back along the Waitomo stream to the Reserve.

The 32-bunk cabin offers accommodation with a magnificent view of the surrounding country side. 

Cabin facilities:

  • Cabin sleeps 32 (4 bunk room)
  • No electricity
  • Showers & flush toilets
  • Fresh drinking water
  • Wood burning fire for heating
  • Gas element for cooking
  • Pots & pans
  • Barbeque facilities
  • Eating utensils
  • Pillows provided
  • Cabin has cell phone coverage
  • Tent sites also available at Kay's Cabin on Dundle Hill

(Luggage cartage services available)

Phone 07 878 7788

Discovery Centre, Waitomo Caves Village

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pureora forest park

Pureora Forest Park

Pureora has magnificent native forest walks including the Waihora Lagoon Track (30 minutes) Totara Track (30 minutes) Waihaha Track (3 hours) Arataki Track (3 hours) and Mt Titiraupenga Track (8 hr return to Link Rd car park). 10 tracks are available within the forest park.

State Highway 30 (between Te Kuiti & Rotorua)

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Kawhia harbour entrance

Kawhia Township

Kawhia is a tranquil, coastal town beside the 6000-hectare Kawhia Harbour at the end of State Highway 31, west of Waitomo and Otorohanga.

Kawhia is one of the few coastal villages in New Zealand which has retained a nostalgic, "good-old-days" charm. It's an hour's drive from Hamilton, two hours from Auckland, and 45 minutes from Te Awamutu or Otorohanga. For some travelers, the hill road is a beautiful but formidable drive; although it's sealed and well formed, it shouldn't be hurried. You'll have time to admire the view across Kawhia Moana, "the Sea of Kawhia", from the top of the hill. Another popular route is the scenic back road from Raglan - with intriguing coastal and bush views as you skirt Mount Karioi and Aotea Harbour. (Allow an hour between Raglan and Kawhia Harbour).

For Maori of Tainui descent, Kawhia is of special significance. Tradition has it that the Tainui waka arrived in Kawhia Harbour in the 14th century and was hauled ashore where Maketu Marae now stands. Kawhia was also one of the first places where Europeans settled in New Zealand.

The Kawhia area offers harbour trips, bush walks, kayaking, yachting and fishing . There is an excellent boat launching ramp, a fishing wharf with boat-boarding pontoon attached and sand flats which yield fat flounders.

On your Kawhia visit be sure to make time to dig your own hot pool on the beach at the Te Puia Natural Hot Springs. When the tide's low, you can sit in a hot pool dug in the black sand on Ocean Beach. Follow the signs to Ocean beach, drive to the end of Te Puia Road and walk over the sand dunes. The Hot Springs can also be reached by walking along the beach from the boat ramp on the south side of Kawhia township. You have two hours on either side of low tide to dig a pool. (Check websites for tide charts). Watch for warm water running gently out of the sand or bubbles and steam rising, sometimes accompanied by a sulphurous smell. Then dig a shallow pool and trap the warm water with walls of dug-out sand.

(Ask the locals for the best location and time and take a shovel or spade to make the digging easier! Take care in fine weather to wear shoes of some kind - the dry black sand becomes very hot on sunny days).

Phone 07 871 0161

SH31, approx 45 minutes from Otorohanga

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Ruakuri Scenic Reserve Waitomo

Ruakuri Scenic Reserve

The Ruakuri Bushwalk is a beautiful loop track (30 minutes return) through limestone outcrops, caves, tunnels and native forest. The track descends into the Ruakuri Natural Tunnel - for sheer beauty and stunning glowworm displays take a torch and do an evening walk.

Tumutumu Road (4km west of Waitomo Village)

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kiritehere beach

Kiritehere Beach

Stroll along the beach at Kiritehere south of the Kiritehere Stream to see sandstones containing fossilised clams, mussels and scallops. The rocks are unusually tilted in the same direction (evidence of seafloor movement following ancient earthquakes) and the surfing is a "best kept secret"!

Location: From Marokopa travel south along Mangatoa Road for approx. 3 kms until the intersection with Soundy Road. Turn right into Soundy Road and proceed 3.3 kms to the end of the road.

Soundy Road, Marokopa

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Glowing Adentures glowworm cavern

Glowing Adventures

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.

Phone 07 878 7234

1199 Oparure Road, Te Kuiti

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Hairy Feet MAIN image

Hairy Feet Waitomo

"Hairy Feet Waitomo" offers twice-daily film location tours at 10 am and 1 pm. Enjoy a 90-minute guided tour of the stunning farm location at Mangaotaki Rocks Piopio, near Waitomo, where the troll and campfire scenes in "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" were filmed.

Fascinating rock formations, massive limestone cliffs, and a primeval forest on Warrick & Suzie Denize's farm became the location for Staddle Farm and Trollshaws... and the home of "Sting", the magical sword Gandalf bestowed on Bilbo Baggins. (Have your photo taken standing in the exact spot where Bilbo took possession of "Sting").

Walk along well-formed paths and forest trails and visit the sites where Sir Peter Jackson and his crew filmed:

    • The Company arriving at a destroyed farmhouse
    • The exit from the cave containing the troll hoard
    • Gandalf bestowing the sword, "Sting" upon Bilbo
    • Radagast arriving
    • The Orcs and Wargs attacking

Phone 07 877 8003

1411 Mangaotaki Road, Piopio

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Kawhia Regional Museum Gallery

Phone 07 871 0161

Omimiti Street, Kawhia

Mokau River Tours

Phone 06 752 9036

Mokau

Piopio Museum

Phone 07 877 8293

Ruru Street, Piopio

Otorohanga Museum

Phone 07 873 8849

Kakamutu Road, Otorohanga

Waitomo Clay Birds

Phone 07 873 8320

87 Haurua Road, Otorohanga