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 The Waitomo Glowworm Caves are one of New Zealand's most popular tourist attractions.

The Waitomo Glowworm Caves are situated on the North Island around two and a half hours drive from Auckland, and attract thousands of visitors each year.

Derived from the Maori words for water (wai) and hole (tomo) the name Waitomo literally means "water running through a hole".

The system comprises three main caves, the Glowworm Caves, Ruakuri Caves, and Aranui Caves, and was first explored in 1887 by local Maori chief Tane Tinorau, and surveyor Fred Mace.

Waitomo Glowworm Caves Family Looking up at formations Courtesy waitomo.com

Waitomo Glowworm Caves

The Waitomo Glowworm Caves have become world famous and are a must see if you are planning a North Island holiday.

Waitomo Glowworm Caves boat Courtesy waitomo.com

Stretching for more than 200 metres, the caves spread over two levels, and feature an 18 metre high Cathedral, the 16 metre deep shaft (tomo), and of course the stream and glowworms.

This mystical cave is like another world, as you glide serenely beneath thousands of tiny glowworms on the iconic boat ride.

Your tour guide reveals the features and history of the cave and also lots of interesting information about these amazing creatures.

Imagine yourself looking up at the universe on a clear night. The glowworms give a very similar effect.

We have a range of Cave tours operating out of Rotorua and Auckland.

Check them out here.

Ruakuri Cave

Ruakuri Cave is also part of the Waitomo Cave system and is New Zealand's longest guided cave tour.

Waitomo Ruakuri Cave 2 Girls Looking at formations Courtesy waitomo.com

Derived from the Maori words rua (den) and kuri (dog), Maori legend tells us that the cave was discovered hundreds of years ago by a young Maori boy who was attacked by wild dogs near the caves original entrance.

Following renovations early this century, the caves were once again opened to the public in 2005, and showcase a wide range of beautiful subterranean features.

Waitomo Ruakuri Cave Girl Looking at glowworms Courtesy waitomo.com

Starting in the spiral entry, crystal features and Limestone shawls can be seen, whilst in the distance, visitors can hear the sound of waterfalls. Ruakuri Cave also has a Glowworm colony and this stunning cave will leave you mesmerised with its beauty.

Ruakuri is also the Southern Hemisphere's only wheelchair accessible cave.

And to top things off, Ruakuri Cave is home to the Legendary Black Water Rafting Co. Brave souls can join New Zealand's first black water adventure company on a thrilling journey through the glowworm decorated rivers deep within the Cave.

Check out our range of cave tours here.

Aranui Cave

Aranui Cave is the third cave in the Waitomo system. Located around five minutes drive from the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, Aranui is part of the Ruakuri Scenic Reserve.

Waitomo Aranui Cave Weta Courtesy waitomo.com

Discovered in 1910 by local Maori Ruruku Aranui, the cave is the smallest of the three in the Waitomo system. And being a dry cave, with no flowing water, Aranui has very little life within the cave. It is however home to the rare (and odd looking) New Zealand cave weta, a small creature resembling a grasshopper.

Visitors are also treated to a range of flowstones, stalactites (coming down from the roof), and stalagmites (rising up from the ground).

This unique cave is well worth a visit.

Check out our range of cave tours here.

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