Waitomo Caves

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  • Glow worms
  • Black Water Rafting
  • Hobbit filming locations


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).

Black Water Rafting, Waikato

The easiest way to see the Waitomo 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.

There is as much to see and experience above ground as there is below.

Enjoy good cafes and walks as well as natural wonders including the beautiful Marokopa Falls and limestone Mangapohue Natural bridge. A walkway beginning near the Waitomo Museum of Caves leads through farmland where you'll see fascinating rock forms.

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 town of Piopio offers guided tours of the Denize Bluffs, a filming location seen on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and further south the Pureora forest provides some great short and long hikes suitable for all levels as well as the Timber Trail.

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