In the North Island of New Zealand there lives a very unique creature, the glow worm. This little guy has created world-wide buzz around the Waitomo area, but Waitomo definitely isn’t all about glow worms. The Waitomo area is the perfect destination for active, outdoorsy experiences and a balanced lifestyle with an abundance of leisurely activities and local food and produce. Whether you enjoy short strolls through lush New Zealand native bush past flowing streams or an underground guided walk through ancient sea caves then Waitomo is the perfect place for a leisurely weekend away with friends or family, or even alone!
Ancient sea caves forged millions of years ago now make Waitomo’s underground labyrinth of enchanting caves. Limestone bluffs are prominent all over the area poking out through the rolling hills all around, making the landscape a unique one for walkers, runners or just a leisurely stroll with the kids. The Waitomo Great Walk is one of the most popular hikes in the North Island which can take up to 2 or 3 days depending on how long you want to spend exploring the unique area. If you take this hike, you will pass through Tawarau Forest, home to the spectacular Marokopa Falls and Tawarau Falls. To find out more about the great walks that Waitomo has to offer, read our blog on
'Hiking in New Zealand: A Long List of Waitomo Walks'.
With plenty of comfortable and affordable accommodation along the way, this walk makes for a great weekend getaway for those who love the outdoor lifestyle. Shorter walks include the 3.5hr Tawarau Falls Loop Track, and the 6hr Pehitawa Track so you can fit in the world-famous
Waitomo Glowworm Caves after your morning Waitomo adventure. The clean, green environment provides a perfect backdrop for being active with family and friends.
THINGS TO DO IN WAITOMO
Waitomo Glowworm Caves is one of 2016’s Top 10 most pinned travel destinations on Pinterest and an absolute must if you’re visiting the area for the first time. The caves are a must for both international and domestic visitors, with plenty of New Zealanders having visited the caves numerous times to once again experience the magic. The glow worm, Arachnocampa luminosa, is unique to New Zealand and glow on the roof of the limestone caves in the pitch black, making them appear to be a galaxy of living-stars. For diversity, visit Ruakuri Cave which offers Waitomo's most compelling subterranean experiences and is New Zealand’s longest guided underground walk. Aranui Cave offers the most beautiful collection of stalagmites, stalactites, and decorative formations. Come before 12pm and fit all three caves into your afternoon!
If you are after a more extreme Waitomo adventure, Waitomo is home to
The Legendary Black Water Rafting Co. With three exhilarating underground caving experiences named
Black Labyrinth and
Black Oddessey. Your time in the area will be well spent if you choose to partake in abseiling, zip lining through glow worm studded caves, cave tubing down underground streams and climbing waterfalls with the expert black water crew. After your morning stroll through lush native forest, head underground with the experts and experience a truly active and adrenaline pumping activity.
LOCAL FOOD AND PRODUCE
A range of delicious local food and produce is available throughout the Waitomo. The are is a haven for foodies and nature lovers alike with a selection of great cafes and markets in and around Waitomo. If you are visiting on the 4th Sunday of any month, head to the Otorohanga Craft Market which offers delicious home baking, fresh preserves and home crafts. Huhu Café and restaurant is a modern establishment in the Waitomo Village. The European style menu is a foodies dream with a great wine-list to match. The
Waitomo Homestead is a must when you pass through Waitomo and our personal favourite. The giant red apple is an icon of the area and still stands tall today outside the Homestead. Enjoy the healthy food options available while you relax and admire the orchard. Remember – you can pick up your Waitomo Glowworm Cave tickets from the Waitomo Homestead to avoid queues on busy weekends!
PERFECT FOR A WEEKEND GETAWAY
Waitomo is the perfect New Zealand area to have an active, balanced lifestyle. Many families, couples and nature buffs head to Waitomo on their weekends to experience all the area has to offer. Get out of the city into the fresh, tranquil environment that the local community has become so close with. Families with healthy lifestyles choose to spend time in Waitomo, go for long walks and eat good food with a lovely community of warm welcoming people.
Waitomo is a spiritual place, with ancient limestone caves scattered throughout the area, magical underground rivers and enchanting native New Zealand forest. Take the opportunity to connect with nature, breath in the fresh Waikato air and expand your mind. There is no other place quite like Waitomo.