6 Ways to Take On the Waitomo Caves

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An Unforgettable Journey into the Underworld

Explore the underground of New Zealand in more ways than one! The activities available in the Waitomo Caves of the North Island takes adventure to a whole new level, as you can abseil, go tubing over rapids, do obstacle courses, and more in this underground playground.

It’s not just about seeing the rock features that so few get to see more than 100 metres (328 feet) underground, but the Waitomo Caves also have resident glowworms in the masses! The decorative maggots are easy to visit, even if you are not keen on a caving adventure.

1. Abseiling into the Waitomo Caves

Make an epic entrance into the caves! Abseil for over 100 metres (328 feet) with Waitomo Adventures into the gigantic cave network. After the long descent, you will be able to explore multiple caves and rooms while making your way back to the surface.

Abseiling is available with The Legendary Black Water Rafting Co’s Black Abyss Tour (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor) and Waitomo Adventures’ Lost World Tour.


2. Ziplining

If flying under a stalactite ceiling has ever been one of your dreams, the underground flying fox should be your method of choice!

Ziplining is available with The Legendary Black Water Rafting Co’s Black Abyss (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor) and Waitomo Adventure’s Lost World Tour.


3. Tubing in Waitomo

Probably the most epic way to make your way through the cave network is to put on a wetsuit, grab a tube, and let the streams show you the way! Ok, so it’s not quite like that with a trained guide, but it’s easy enough to let your imagination run free. A tubing tour of the caves usually includes walking, climbing, jumping and swimming. It’s often described as one of the most unique adventure activities in New Zealand.

Tubing is available with The Legendary Black Water Rafting Co (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor) and Waitomo Adventures.


4. Climb Through the Waitomo Caves

Almost all of the options above include a bit of climbing but you can take on more of a challenge with both dry and wet climbing tours in the cave. Witha guide, you will explore the caves both horizontally and vertically to uncover all their secrets and unique forms of life.

Available with The Legendary Black Water Rafting Co (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor) and Waitomo Adventures.©

5. Boating

For those whose heart is not ready for such craziness, a nice gentle boat ride under the magnificent glowing ceiling is a one-of-a-kind phenomenon to witness during your trip in New Zealand. This experience gives you the largest density of glowworms to view.

Available with the Waitomo Glowworm Caves (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor) and Spellbound.


6. Walking Tours in Waitomo

If even a boat is too much, the Waitomo area has many other well-lit dry caves to explore by foot. With or without a guide, it is up to you to choose how you want to explore the surroundings. And if you want to save a little money, consider doing one of the free glowworm walks in Waitomo.

Available with Discover Waitomo (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor), Glowing Adventures (on Viator and Tripadvisor) and Cave World Waitomo (on Viator and Tripadvisor).

THL© Shaun Jeffers - THL


The information in this guide has been compiled from our extensive research, travel and experiences across New Zealand and the South Pacific, accumulated over more than a decade of numerous visits to each destination. Additional sources for this guide include the following:

Our editorial standards: At NZ Pocket Guide, we uphold strict editorial standards to ensure accurate and quality content.

About The Author

Laura S.

This article has been reviewed and published by Laura, the editor-in-chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Laura is a first-class honours journalism graduate and a travel journalist with expertise in New Zealand and South Pacific tourism for over 10 years. She also runs travel guides for five of the top destinations in the South Pacific and is the co-host of over 250 episodes of the NZ Travel Show on YouTube.

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