Floating Through The Waitomo Glowworm Caves

If you ever want to feel like you have stepped right into a fairytale, you should visit Waitomo Glowworm caves. It’s a world renowned attraction on the North Island of New Zealand that is unlike anywhere you have visited before.

This specific glow worm, officially known as arachnocampa luminosa, is unique to New Zealand. Millions of these little guys live inside the deep caves of Waitomo and radiate an unmistakable light from their body.

The Waitomo Caves were formed over 30 million years ago, beginning their life as limestone formations at the bottom of the ocean. There are two levels of the caves, the upper dry level which includes the cave entrance and the lower level, which includes the river running through the cave chambers.

waitomo glowworm caves

Different unique formations are easily identifiable down in the caves. Some of the most amazing places to check out amongst the caves are the Cathedral, Catacombs, Pipe Organ and the Banquet Chamber. The Tomo is another of the wonders of Waitomo. It is a 16 metre vertical limestone shaft which marks the course of an ancient waterfall, which still flows today during heavy rains.

All of the our guides at Waitomo are local to the area and have an incredible amount of knowledge about the caves, their history and the life cycle of the glowworms. Make sure you always follow their instructions as you are entering an extremely sensitive environment and it is important to leave the caves exactly how you found them.

Book your guided tour at Waitomo Glowworm Caves here

30 Adventures On New Zealand's North Island

waitomo glowworm caves

Touring the Glowworm Caves

A tour of the glowworm caves takes you for a walk and a boat ride throughout the whole caves system, before floating slowly below a million sparkly glowworm lights that line the top of the caves. The cave guides have such a great insight of the caves system and the eco-system that has developed inside, so it’s great to get a little bit of an insight into the glowworm life.

You can just book your tour when you get there, although they can book out during the peak periods, so it’s a good idea to make a reservation if you’re on a tight schedule.

Tours of the Waitomo Glowworm Caves depart every half hour from 9am to 5pm each day. The tour is approximately 45 minutes long, and includes a walk through the cave followed by a boat ride along the river and through the sections of the cave, absolutely covered in glow worms.

An adult ticket to the Waitomo Glowworm Caves is $49 NZD with concession, family and combo tickets available. Cave Combo tours are also available if you are also interested in he Ruakuri Cave Tour or the Aranui Cave Tour.

Due to the sensitivity of the glowworms you are not allowed to take photos inside the caves, as lights and flashes are very harmful to the glowing nature of the worms. All of these photos have been taken from the Waitomo Glowworm Caves Facebook page.

Waitomo Glowworm Caves || 39 Waitomo Caves Road, Otorohanga || Ph: 0800 533 115

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Emma is a travel photographer and blogger, living in Melbourne, Australia with her husband Thom in between adventures. She started Explore Shaw to share her experiences, travel tips and destination advice, and to inspire others to travel the world and their own backyard whenever they can.

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