Waitomo
Culture & History

Enter your dates to find available activities

Our most recommended Waitomo 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.

...
Aranui Cave 1-Hour Guided Tour

3. Aranui Cave 1-Hour Guided Tour

Explore the ancient cave formations, high chambers and huge stalactites and stalagmites of Aranui Cave, one of Waitomo’s best kept secrets, on a guided walking tour. Set in the forest of the Ruakuri scenic reserve and just a 5 minute drive from the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, Aranui Cave is a magical, mystical place that is steeped in Maori myth and legend. It has a natural cave entrance and is the smallest and most delicate of Waitomo's three main caves. Departing from the Waitomo Glowworm Caves Visitor Centre, your tour is led by an experienced guide who will bring the history, features and legends of the cave to life with their storytelling. Enter the cave and walk along safe boardwalks into narrow chambers. Discover the colony of cave weta, large insects unique to New Zealand, just inside the entrance.  Further into the cave you will discover the spectacular high chambers, magnificent limestone formations and the pale brown, pink and white shades of the huge stalactites. Tour groups are small to provide you with an up-close and personal encounter with nature and some magical memories to take away.

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

4. 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.

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

5. 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

6. 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.

...

Other Sightseeing Options in Waitomo

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

What people are saying about Waitomo

Overall rating

3.9 / 5

based on 55 reviews

Venue was easy to find and staff were friendly, we did the Ruakuri tour and it was amazing. Touring with a small group makes a huge difference as there isn’t a-lot of room to move at times. Loved the long spiral walk down to the caves, there is limited lighting within the cave and path ways but that made the tour more exciting, make sure you have a good camera as you can not use your camera flash, and trust me you’ll take pics I definitely would recommend this tour to people of all ages and abilities

I would definately recommend the Ruakuri Cave visit to everyone. Tour guide Angus is so knowledgeable, it was a pleasure to hear him explain everything in detail and with so much passion. Money well spent. AAA+++

Our Guide was amazing ,she explained so many things, and the cave so well maintained ans safe !

Very good. We were in a small group which made easy to hear the guide talk about the caves

Was amazing to see, awesome tour guide fulled with lots of knowledge and was lots of fun