Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Culture & History

Enter your dates to find available activities

Our most recommended Waitomo Glowworm Caves Culture & History

Ruakuri Cave 1.25-Hour Guided Tour

1. Ruakuri Cave 1.25-Hour Guided Tour

Explore Ruakuri Cave, New Zealand’s longest guided underground walking tour. Ruakuri Cave offers a captivating blend of Waitomo's most compelling subterranean experiences. Ruakuri Cave has displays of glowworms and is filled with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites formed over millions of years. Journey down through the spectacular spiral entrance, and marvel at the softly folding shawl-like limestone formations and crystal tapestries. Hear the distant thunder of the subterranean waterfalls and get up close to the glowworms. Major features include Holdens Cavern, named after James Holden who first opened the cave to the public, The Drum Passage, The Pretties, and The Ghost Passage. Your knowledgeable guide will bring the history, features and legends of the cave to life with their storytelling.  Many of the guides are local people whose parents and grandparents have guided in the caves. The experience will leave you open-mouthed, awe-struck and humbled by the sheer majesty of nature.

Auckland: Hobbiton Movie Set and Waitomo Small Group Tour

2. Auckland: Hobbiton Movie Set and Waitomo Small Group Tour

The tour starts with pickup from Auckland city, where the adventure begins as you drive through the stunning Waikato countryside, the most extensive farming area in the world, on a fully guided journey to Hobbiton. Along the way, don’t forget to take advantage of the photo opportunities as you admire the stunning natural landscapes all around of beautiful mountains and farmlands. After the drive, arrive at Alexander Family Sheep Farm and Shire's Rest, the entrance to Hobbiton, and marvel at the thousands of sheep that live here. While you’re here, grab a bite to eat, a coffee, or enjoy an ice cream to cool off while your guide collects your tickets to the movie set. Next, hop on board one of the big green Hobbiton buses to depart on your two hour fully guided tour of this amazing 12-acre movie set with a professional Hobbiton guide to ensure you get the most out of your visit. During your tour trip into the lush pastures of the Shire, visit 44 hobbit holes, see amazing gardens, hear secrets and stories about the making of the movies and finish your LOTR experience with a cold beverage at the famous Hobbiton pub, The Green Dragon Inn. After your LOTR experience, it’s time to head west towards the stunning Waitomo region. Along the way admire the incredible hydro dams, beautiful farmland, race horses and the Kiwiana capital of New Zealand. Before arriving at the caves, stop by Waitomo homestead for lunch, and a little surprise too. Once in Waitomo, explore the ancient and amazing caves and marvel at the many cave formations including Stalactites, Stalagmites, and Lime Columns before descending even further underground for your Glowworm Grotto experience. Board your glow-worm boat for a cruise on the grotto river with thousands of glowworms sparkling above you. Unique to New Zealand for over 120 years, Waitomo Glowworm Caves are a must see for any traveler. On the guided trip back to Auckland the sights continue with New Zealand's longest river, Huntly power station and the Maori Queens’ burial site.

From Auckland: Two-Day Rotorua, Hobbiton, Waitomo Caves Tour

3. From Auckland: Two-Day Rotorua, Hobbiton, Waitomo Caves Tour

Enjoy this overnight all-inclusive tour from Auckland and experience the Central North Island's most iconic attractions at a leisurely pace.  Take guided tours of Hobbiton and Waitomo Caves. Discover the Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland and the thermal areas and geysers of Te Puia. Experience a Maori cultural evening with a meal and concert.  At the end of the two days, you will return to your hotel in Auckland or a different location in the central area, if specified. Most of the transport is supplied in Mercedes minibuses with luxury seating. Your driver guide will take the time to make sure you enjoy your time on the tour. The largest vehicle seats 15 passengers, but on most occasions your group will be 12 people or less.

From Auckland: Hobbiton and Waitomo & Ruakari Caves Day Trip

4. From Auckland: Hobbiton and Waitomo & Ruakari Caves Day Trip

Get extra value by visiting both the Hobbiton Movie Set and the 2 caves at Waitomo in one day with this tour. Avoid the trap of standard tours that only visit 1 cave, and enjoy more time off your coach to explore and less time hanging around waiting for others. The order in which you do the two activities changes from day to day but the start time always remains the same and pickup from centrally located hotels in Auckland is always included. On days where Hobbiton is visited first, get picked up from your hotel then travel through the Waikato region, passing by cattle, dairy, and sheep farms along the way. Upon arrival at Hobbiton, have some time to get something to eat or explore the Shires Rest souvenir shop before joining Hobbiton Tours for a tour of the Hobbiton Movie Set. Be transported into the movie set by one of their buses, then go on a guided walking tour of the set, which was used for all filming in the Village of Hobbiton in both the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movie series. Enjoy a complimentary drink at the Green Dragon before boarding the coach to return to Auckland. Next, take some time to eat your provided picnic lunch between Hobbiton and Waitomo Caves. On arrival in Waitomo, take a 90-minute tour of Ruakuri Cave, the largest and deepest cave in the Waitomo Complex open to the public. After Ruakuri, you'll have a short break before joining a group tour of the world-renowned Waitomo Cave. Walk into the stunning cave and admire its complex underground formation. Exit on a small boat through the Glowworm Grotto and marvel at millions of glowworms. The tour concludes with a return to Auckland and drop-off at your hotel.

From Auckland or Rotorua: Hobbiton and Cave Rafting Day Trip

5. From Auckland or Rotorua: Hobbiton and Cave Rafting Day Trip

Get picked up from your accommodation or an agreed-upon meeting point in Auckland or Rotorua and set off for Hobbiton. Upon arrival, you'll have some time to get something to eat or explore the Shires Rest souvenir shop before joining a two-hour walking tour of the Hobbiton Movie Set, which includes a complimentary drink at the Green Dragon Inn.  Transfer to the movie set on one of the tour operator's buses and hear about how this set was used for all filming of both "The Lord of the Rings" and the "The Hobbit" movies. After the tour, take 15 minutes to relax in the Green Dragon Inn before traveling to Waitomo Caves. Between the two stops, you'll have time to enjoy your picnic lunch. At Waitomo Caves, join a group of up to 12 people on the Black Labyrinth tour, which includes cave tubing and caving in the river that runs through the bottom of the Ruakuri Cave. After arriving at the cave, you will be given a briefing on the art of cave tubing before starting your rafting excursion. Float through a glow-worm grotto, jump over small waterfalls, and enjoy other adrenalin-filled experiences. The tour runs about three hours, 1.5 of which are underground.  Rejoin the main transport for the day and travel to your drop-off destination. On some occasions, the activities may be reversed. After you have completed the final activity, you will be taken to Auckland or Rotorua. You can start and finish in the same place, or choose to make this a one-way journey beginning or ending in Auckland or Rotorua.

New Zealand North & South Island: 14-Day Tour

6. New Zealand North & South Island: 14-Day Tour

Day 1 - Auckland to Hot Water Beach Depart Auckland and head south-east to the pristine beaches of the Coromandel and the world-famous Cathedral Cove. Kayak around this stunning coastline (optional activity) and have the opportunity to visit Hot Water Beach; a unique surf beach where if you catch the tide right, you can dig a hole in the sand to create your own personal spa pool. Day 2 - Hot Water Beach to Waitomo Venture into the enchanting Karangahake Gorge nestled among the Kaimai Ranges, for a hike amongst the walkways and old mining tunnels. Next, head over to Waitomo for a magical tour of the world-famous glow-worm caves. You will also have the opportunity to experience a Black Water Rafting trip. Day 3 - Waitomo to Rotorua Start the day with a walk through the Ruakuri Reserve. Pass through The Shire of Hobbiton where you’ll have the opportunity to discover the Hobbiton Movie Set (optional activity) before rolling on through to Rotorua; a mystical land of bubbling mud pools, rocketing geysers, and natural hot springs. Optional activities are luging down the SkyLine, White Water Rafting, Hells Gate, Mountain biking through the Redwoods, Zorb, Wai-o-tapu, Polynesian Spa, or National Kiwi Hatchery. Day 4 - Rotorua free day and Tamaki Maori Village Explore the geothermal reserve of Te Puia, with New Zealand’s largest geyser, and a chance to see a real live Kiwi bird. Visit the Tamaki Māori Village and be immersed in the traditions and cultural values of the Māori people. Participate in a pōwhiri (welcoming ceremony), learn about the history of the marae (village) and the Rotorua-area from a local Māori guide before feasting on some top kai food from the hāngi pit. Gather around a blazing bonfire and enjoy listening to Māori myths and legends before relaxing in a private forest spa pool and retiring for the night in a traditional carved whare moe (sleeping house). Day 5 - Tamaki Maori Village to Taupo Day 6 - Taupo free day Day 7 - Taupo to Wellington Day 8 - Wellington to Kaikoura Day 9 - Kaikoura to Christchurch Day 10 - Christchurch to Lake Tekapo Day 11 - Lake Tekapo to Wanaka via Mount Cook Day 12 - Wanaka to Queenstown Day 13 - Queenstown free day Day 14 - Queenstown to Glenorchy day trip

Frequently asked questions about Waitomo Glowworm Caves Culture & History

What are other things to do than Waitomo Glowworm Caves Culture & History that are worth visiting in Waitomo?

The other unmissable things to do in Waitomo are:

Which Waitomo Glowworm Caves Culture & History are taking additional COVID-19 precautions?

Other Sightseeing Options in Waitomo Glowworm Caves

Want to discover all there is to do in Waitomo Glowworm Caves? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Waitomo Glowworm Caves

Overall rating

3.9 / 5

based on 55 reviews

it was great as my elderly parents managed to do the walk through the caves quite easily. They enjoyed it thoroughly.

Beautiful cave formations. Interesting knowledge about glow worms. And the spiral was super cool

A very cool experience, fun, interactive and knowledgeable guide! thanks!

A very enjoyable experience Guide was great and very informative

Your guide was so good Friendly. Love the place beautiful