When visiting New Zealand’s north island one of the first things that comes up on every google search is the Waitomo glowworm caves. Considered the most pristine glowworm caves in the world, of course they were going on our travel itinerary. Then we heard about the opportunity to actually tube through the caves (enter the Legendary Black Water Rafting Company) and we were sold!
Here are some tips from our trip to the Waitomo Glowworm Caves in New Zealand!
Where to Stay in Waitomo
Our group of three decided to stay at the Waitomo Top 10 Holiday Park which ended up being a great find. The location offers small duplex style units with easy parking and are handicap accessible. Each unit has a mall kitchen and larger bathroom (shower only) and we found the place very comfortable. Minus the shaky bunk bed obliviously not designed for grown men. The property had onsite washing machines and dryers, pool and hot tub, communal kitchen, and we found every one to be extremely friendly. The location is also walking distance to several restaurants and the only bar in town. Very convienent when you see how remote the area is.
Where to Eat in Waitomo
During our two night stay in Waitomo we found there to be two restaurants open. The more upscale HUHU Cafe and the town local watering hole, the Tomo Bar.
Hours: Daily 11:00am – 9:00pm (21:00)
Tomo Bar & Eatery
We really enjoyed both the food and the beer Tomo Bar. The pizzas, burgers, and fish and chips were all amazing. The insider tip, while not advertised the Tomo Bar is also a brewery!! Home to King Country Brewing Co. make sure to stop in and get yourself a fresh pint.
Hours: Daily 11:00am – 2:00am
King Country Brewing Co.
Waitomo Glowworm Caves & Tours
When it comes to visiting the Wiotomo glowworm caves you have a few options. There are multiple access point to the cave system which runs across multiple properties. You also have an option to either walk the caves or raft through the caves. We chose the latter and decided to spend a few hours rafting with The Legendary Black Water Rafting Company.
The tour package we chose was Black Water’s Black Labyrinth. A three hour tour featuring caving, rafting, and a few waterfall jumps. Nothing too crazy but it was definitely and adventure. We were able to book out tour in advance through their website which made it ready easy.
Here is a link to the package we chose: https://www.waitomo.com/experiences/legendary-black-water-rafting-co-black-labyrinth
I’ll get a review of the tour soon and link it here.
Other Things to See in Wiatomo
Marokopa Falls is a 35 meter waterfall located just a short drive from the Wiatomo caves. The trail is incredibly well maintained and features several look outs on the way down to the bottom. Definitely worth the short drive!
Ruakuri Tunnels Loop
The Ruakuri Tunnels Loop is a 1.1 mile gem of a trail located just a few minutes from the center of Wiatomo. Leading through an incredible rain forest and natural caves formed by rain and water that has carved the terrain over thousands of years. I highly recommend adding it to your list.
The glowworm caves are what brought us to Wiatomo and we are sure glad we came. Making the choice to spend two nights gave us the opportunity to hake a few trails and enjoy everything else that the small has to offer. Are visit was in December so the town was dead, even so the area offered a certain magical feel that made it special to the natives hundreds of years ago. A lot of people make a short stop in on a tour from Aukland to see the caves but never really see the area. It’s a shame, Wiatomo will always stand out to me as one of the most beautiful places on the North Island.