Knowledgeable guides, many of whom are local people whose parents and grandparents have guided in the caves, lead each tour group. Through their story telling the history, features and legends of the cave are brought to life.
TWO CAVE LEVELS
Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Formed over 30 million years ago there are two levels to the Waitomo Glowworm Caves which are 16 metres apart. The upper level is dry and includes the entrance to the cave, and formations known as the Catacombs, the Pipe Organ and the Banquet Chamber. The lower level consists of stream passages and the Cathedral.
The Cathedral is on the lower level of the Waitomo Glowworm Caves and, at 18 metres in height, this is the largest cavern. It is world-renowned for its superb acoustics, which are due to the enclosed shape and rough surface. Many famous singers and choirs have performed here and have been delighted with the purity of the sound.
The Tomo is one of the wonders of Waitomo, it is a 16 metre vertical limestone shaft which marks the course of an ancient waterfall which today on flows during heavy rains. The dramatic vertical drop is carefully lighted to show the scalloped walls and the layers of limestone. The Tomo was the last feature of the cave to be formed and links the upper level to the Waitomo River below.
A special Scientific Advisory Group protects the many hundreds of thousands of little glowworms at the Waitomo Glowworm Caves.
Sophisticated automated monitoring systems check air quality, rock and air temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide. Data is downloaded to a central computer, analysed by specialist staff throughout the day and then reviewed. Using this information, the advisory group determines the management of the cave environment including deciding when air flows should be altered and the number of people who can visit each day.
GUIDELINES FOR YOUR VISIT
It is our aim to provide the best service possible to all cave visitors. We seek your co-operation fulfilling these aims and ask that you follow the guidelines listed below.
- Please do not touch formations. Stalactites and stalagmites take a long time to form. They are easily discoloured by people touching them and the more fragile formations can break. Please help us protect the beauty of the cave.
- To protect the cave atmosphere and for the enjoyment and consideration of others, we ask that you do not smoke in the cave.
- All photography is strictly forbidden. This includes non-flash photography and video.
- Keep quiet at all times, especially in the boat and on the jetties.