Back to list

New Zealand

Waitomo District

The Land of Caves and Waterfalls



Nestled in the heart of New Zealand's North Island, the Waitomo District is a region of otherworldly beauty and breathtaking natural wonders. Known around the world for its famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves, this stunning area offers visitors a chance to explore a subterranean wonderland of sparkling caves, thundering waterfalls, and lush native bush.

The Waitomo Glowworm Caves are undoubtedly the star attraction of the Waitomo District, drawing visitors from around the globe to witness their dazzling displays of bioluminescence. Formed over millions of years by the ceaseless flow of underground rivers, these ancient caves are home to thousands of tiny glowworms, whose shimmering blue light illuminates the cavernous darkness like a galaxy of stars. Visitors can take guided tours of the caves, gliding silently across underground lakes and marveling at the intricate stalactites and stalagmites that adorn the cave walls.

But the Waitomo Glowworm Caves are just the beginning of what this incredible region has to offer. The Waitomo District is also home to a number of other stunning cave systems, each with its own unique character and attractions. The Ruakuri Cave, for example, is known for its dramatic spiral entrance and its subterranean waterfalls, while the Aranui Cave features intricate rock formations and delicate cave pearls. Visitors can explore these hidden worlds on guided tours or even try their hand at caving and abseiling for a more adventurous experience.

Above ground, the Waitomo District is equally spectacular, with a landscape of rolling hills, lush native bush, and stunning waterfalls. The Marokopa Falls, located just a short drive from the Waitomo Caves, are a particular highlight, with their thundering 35-meter drop and picturesque surroundings. Other must-see natural attractions include the Mangapohue Natural Bridge, a towering limestone arch that spans the Mangapohue Stream, and the Piripiri Cave Walk, a short but stunning bushwalk that takes visitors past a series of limestone outcrops and caves.

For those interested in the region's rich cultural heritage, the Waitomo District also offers a range of fascinating historical and archaeological sites. The Otorohanga Kiwi House and Native Bird Park, located in the nearby town of Otorohanga, is a must-visit for anyone interested in New Zealand's unique wildlife, with its displays of kiwi, tuatara, and other native species. The Waitomo Museum of Caves, meanwhile, offers a fascinating glimpse into the history and science of the region's cave systems, with exhibits on everything from the formation of stalactites and stalagmites to the biology of the glowworms themselves.

When it comes to accommodation and dining, the Waitomo District has plenty of options to suit every taste and budget. The region is home to a range of excellent hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts, many of which offer stunning views of the surrounding countryside and easy access to local attractions and activities. For a truly unique experience, visitors can even stay in one of the region's many cave lodges, which offer the chance to sleep underground in the heart of the Waitomo Caves.

The Waitomo District is also home to a thriving food and drink scene, with a range of excellent cafes, restaurants, and pubs that showcase the best of the region's fresh local produce and craft beverages. The Huhu Cafe, located in the heart of the Waitomo Village, is a particular highlight, with its delicious menu of seasonal dishes and its stunning views of the surrounding bush. Other must-visit dining spots include the Waitomo Glowworm Caves Visitor Centre Cafe, which offers a range of tasty snacks and light meals, and the Curly's Bar and Bistro, a classic Kiwi pub with a great selection of local beers and wines.

In conclusion, the Waitomo District is a region of unparalleled natural beauty and wonder, offering visitors a chance to experience a world of subterranean marvels and stunning above-ground landscapes. Whether you're a nature lover, a thrill-seeker, a history buff, or simply looking for a unique and unforgettable travel experience, this special corner of New Zealand's North Island is sure to exceed your expectations. So why not plan your visit today and discover the magic of the Waitomo District for yourself? With its sparkling caves, thundering waterfalls, and welcoming local communities, this incredible region is a destination that will stay with you long after you've left.

Show more
Waitomo District Waitomo District 5 related places

Places to Visit See all

Marokopa Beach
Marokopa Beach
(0 reviews)