About Waitomo & the Caves

Discover a world away from the everyday

​Undulating green fields, tumbling waterfalls, spectacular rural vistas and, of course, its world renowned limestone formations and cave systems make Waitomo a destination like no other.

30 million years ago the entire Waitomo region lay far beneath the sea.

Today, both above and below ground, it stands as a revealing testament to a landmark period in New Zealand's and the world's natural history.

It is also a region that offers a multitude of recreational sightseeing and tourist attractions. So much so, that it's virtually impossible to take it all in over just one day.

So take two or even a few days and discover Waitomo at your own pace.

About Waitomo





Waitomo is a Maori word made up of two parts. 'Wai' which translates as water and 'tomo' which means entrance or hole. Waitomo can be translated as the 'stream which flows into the hole in the ground'. This meaning is reflected through its fantastic geological history and landscape, however it also has a rich tourism and cultural history. As a region it is one of New Zealand's original tourist destinations.

The Waitomo District, encompassing the main town and service centre of Te Kuiti and the townships of Waitomo, Mokau, PioPio, Awakino, Marokapa and Benneydale amongst others, is home to around 9,700 people. The prosperous local economy is built around tourism, farming, mining and forestry.

Waitomo is amongst New Zealand's most tranquil areas, with one of the country's lowest population densities of just 2.7 people per square kilometre compared to the national average of 14.1.

This relative solitude makes the Waitomo District a wonderful place to spread one's wings and shake off everyday urban frustrations. Whether your recreational interests extend to the wildly adventurous or just the ever-so-gently relaxing, a visit to Waitomo will leave you feeling refreshed and very much alive.

To read more about Waitomo, click on the links below.


  • Education center in Waitomo


    ​Bring your children to the education center in Waitomo. There are plenty of fun & games for kids and it’s perfect for an educational school trip.


    ​There are around 300 known limestone caves beneath the hills of the Waitomo region. Learn more about how they were formed and the limestone landscape of Waitomo.


    ​See what has been going on in Waitomo recently, we'll keep you up to date with the latest news.

  • Glowworms


    Learn about the New Zealand Glowworm - 'arachnocampa luminosa',a species unique to New Zealand and found in Waitomo. Find out why they glow and the four stages in the Glowworm Lifecyle.