Feeling an itch to connect with nature and experience something different? A day trip to Waitomo could be exactly what you need. From discovering beautiful native forests to exploring the magical glowworm caves, this little place offers experiences like no other. Traveling from Tauranga to Waitomo is an exciting adventure with plenty of worthwhile stops along the way, perfect for a fun day out with the kids. If you’re in need of outdoor adventure to mix things up a little, look no further.
The road trip
The drive from Tauranga to Waitomo takes about 2 hours, so make sure you’re up early to get the most out of your day trip. Prepare for a change of scenery as you head across to Waitomo. You’ll be traveling past the beautiful Waikato countryside with lush farmland and towering forests on your Journey.
On your way be sure to stop at Kaimai Mamaku forest park, a hidden wonderland of tall trees, clear rivers and rare wildlife. This is a prime location to stretch your legs and you might even get to spot some native birds!
An awesome spot to take the kids just out of Waitomo is the Otorohanga Kiwi House & Native Bird Park. Here you can check out a huge range of reptiles and indigenous birds, including New Zealand’s national icon, the Kiwi!
Checking out the caves
Once you arrive in Waitomo and you’re looking for an experience like no other then you can’t look past the Waitomo Glowworm Caves. Booking tickets beforehand make the experience easier for you and also guarantees your spot on the tour. Once you arrive at the Waitomo caves visitor center you can grab your tickets and meet your tour guide and group. Your guide will give you a rundown on the fascinating history of these caves while taking you into the subterranean world.
The Glowworm Cave boat-ride is an extremely unique experience where you silently float under a sparkling sky of blue living lights. Thousands of glowworms illuminate the roof of the cave creating one of the most magical sights New Zealand has to offer. This is a great tour to do with the kids as it’s not only breathtaking but also educational!
There are heaps of other activities offered in Waitomo as well. How does jumping off underground waterfalls and zip lining under a sky of glowworms sound? Maybe the Black Water Rafting tours might suit you. Looking to get up close and personal with the glowworms? Ruakuri Cave, New Zealand’s longest guided walking tour could be just what you’re after. There’s something for everyone here!
Mix it up, there’s a whole lot more to Waitomo than just the caves.
The Marokopa Falls are a must. The thunder of the falls can be heard echoing along the short track and after just a 5-10 minute walk from the roadside, you are treated to one of the most beautiful waterfalls in New Zealand.
The Ruakuri bush walk showcases some amazing natural limestone cliffs as well as free glowworm display if you come at night! Perfect for a fun experience with the kids.
Just up the road from the Marokopa Falls is the Mangapohue natural bridge, a great final attraction for a day out in Waitomo. This unique walk is filled with deep gorges and bridge crossings making it anything but boring for all ages. The walk takes you along the limestone gorge, before leading you right up to and inside of a 17m limestone arch, a truly spectacular sight.
There’s a whole lot more than meets the eye in this special area. You’ll be heading back having seen some of the most unique and beautiful scenery New Zealand has to offer. You can experience everything mentioned above and still be home in time for dinner! We look forward to seeing you in this magical part of the world soon.