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Introducing Waitomo Caves

Even if damp, dark tunnels sound like your idea of hell, take a chill pill and head to Waitomo anyway. The limestone caves and glowing bugs here are one of the North Island's premier attractions.

The name Waitomo comes from wai (water) and tomo (hole or shaft): dotted across this region are numerous shafts dropping into underground cave systems and streams. There are 300-plus mapped caves in the area: the three main caves – Glowworm, Ruakuri and Aranui – have been bewitching visitors for over 100 years.

Your Waitomo experience needn't be claustrophobic: the electrically lit, cathedral-like Glowworm Cave is far from squeezy. But if it’s tight, gut-wrenching, soaking-wet, pitch-black excitement you’re after, Waitomo can oblige.