Waitomo is home to some amazing free walking tracks and scenic reserves that will allow you to experience the best of the area's magnificent native flora and fauna and limestone landscape. From lush green hills, to limestone outcrops, undulating rivers and fossils over 30 millions years old, there is plenty to discover.
Take a walk through classic limestone country where sculptured rocks, fluted outcrops, gorges, arches and tunnels are a natural and fascinating part of the landscape. The Waitomo Walkway meanders alongside the Waitomo River, though a canopy of native forest to the Ruakuri Scenic Reserve. The track begins just opposite the Waitomo Museum of Caves in the Waitomo Village and is two hours in duration (return).
RUAKURI SCENIC RESERVE
Only four kilometres (off Tumutumu Road) from the Waitomo village, this scenic reserve is renowned for its beauty and historical signifcance.
The reserve contains classic limestone outcrops, caves, tunnels and beautiful native forests. It is also a place of strong cultural and spiritual significance to Maori.
A popular loop track (30 minutes return) takes you to the Ruakuri Natural tunnel. The track descends into the tunnel giving you an unusal 'inside' view of the stream and tunnel entrance.
Guided tours for Aranui Cave also depart from here.
MANGAPOHUE NATURAL BRIDGE
Mangapohue Natural Bridge is located just 25km west of Waitomo. The natural bridge is a 'must-see'. The 17 metre high limestone arch, which spans the Mangapohue Stream is all that remains of the ancient cave system.
You can complete the loop track in 25 minutes, but if you have time you can continue your journey to discover 30 million year old fossilised oysters exposed in limestone outcrops.
At 30 metres high, Marokopa Falls are often described as the most beautiful in the country!
Marokopa Falls can be viewed from a lookout on the road or you can take the short track (30 minutes return) to a platformed area where you will obtain fantastic views.
All images featured above are courtesy of the Department of Conservation.