The best day trip: Hamilton to Waitomo

​ Waitomo is the perfect place for a day trip to get out of Hamilton. From traversing beautiful native forests to exploring the magical glowworm caves, this little place offers experiences you can’t get anywhere else in the world, and the road trip down there offers some awesome experiences. This is an exciting adventure with plenty of spectacular sights along the way, perfect for a fun day out with the kids. If you’re in need of a unique outdoor adventure to mix things up a little, look no further.

Hitting the road

The drive from Hamilton to Waitomo only takes 1 hour, so to make the most of all you can experience in Waitomo, it pays to get there early! If you hit the road by 9am you’ll be in good stead to make it to Waitomo around 10am. As you cruise out of town you’ll see suburbia give way to Farmland and eventually you’ll be completely surrounded by the green countryside. In summer, be sure to stop in at Te Awamutu to stretch your legs and admire the rose gardens. Just before you get to Waitomo, you can stop in Otorohanga, make sure to check out the Kiwi house to see New Zealand’s icon in person. It’s a prime opportunity to show the kids a real life Kiwi!

Checking out the caves

If you’re looking for a must-do cave experience then you can’t look past the Waitomo Glowworm Caves. Remember to make sure you’ve booked your tickets beforehand! This makes the experience easier for you and also guarantees your spot on the tour. When you arrive at the Waitomo caves visitor center feel free to grab a coffee when you pick up your tickets before meeting 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 boat- ride

The Glowworm Cave boat-ride is a tranquil experience like no other, silently floating 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.

Something for everyone

There’s a variety of activities offered in Waitomo so there’s something everyone can enjoy. Like the sound of jumping off underground waterfalls and zip lining under a sky of glowworms? Maybe the Black Water Rafting tours might be the experience you’re after. Or possibly you’re looking to get up close and personal with the glowworms? Ruakuri Cave, New Zealand’s longest guided walking tour could be the right experience for you. There’s something for everyone here!


After your cave tour, you’ll be in need of some well deserved Kai. The Waitomo Homestead is the perfect stop for a great lunch when visiting Waitomo. The Homestead is located on State Highway 3, just before the Waitomo turn off. Equipped with a charcoal rotisserie barbeque, great coffee and what we like to think are the best pies in the country, we know you’ll be impressed with your dining experience at this little gem.

Mix it up, there’s so much more to this place than just the caves!

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.

The Marokopa Falls are a must see on your visit. The thunder of the falls echoes 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.

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 takes you along the limestone gorge, before leading you right up to and inside of a 17m limestone arch, a truly impressive sight.

There’s a whole lot more than meets the eye in this special area. You’ll be heading back home tired but satisfied with an awesome day out amongst the unique attractions. You can experience everything mentioned above and be home in time for dinner! We hope to see you here soon.