Environment

Why the Waitomo Glowworm Caves are unique

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The Waitomo Glowworm Caves are over 30 million years old created by the incredible forces of nature and the earth’s geological and volcanic activity.

The cave are formed in limestone dating back to when New Zealand, and the Waitomo region sat beneath the ocean. Because of this time spent under water, a huge amount of corals, seashells and small organisms have layered then fossilized creating the limestone in the caves. In some places, this limestone is over 200m thick.

The two tectonic plates – Pacific and Indo-Australian – upon which New Zealand sits begun crashing into each other forcing our country to rise out of the ocean. The hardened limestone has bent and buckled under enormous pressure. The process of uplift created cracks which has in turn allowed water to flow into the rock, slowly dissolving the and creating what we now now as the Waitomo Glowworm Caves. ​

Waitomo's Environmental Officer: Meet Carl

​Due to the many Waitomo adventures in the area, the Environmental Officer has an extremely important role in Waitomo and sustaining this special part of New Zealand is his top concern. ​

Managing the Waitomo Glowworm Caves

​​The caves have been guided for more than 125 years. Visitors from all around the world come to experience its natural beauty and the spectacular bioluminescent glowworms. As guardians of the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, we take great pride and care to ensure the caves can be enjoyed by future generations.​

Waitomo Caves Discovery Center

Head to the Discovery Centre for all the information and bookings you'll need for your trip to Waitomo Caves.

Glow Worm Life Cycle

Learn more about the fascinating life cycle of our glow worms and discover how they really get their glow

Waitomo for Kids

For a great family day out or school trip, take the children to the Waitomo Caves - educational and fun, they'll be entertained all day.

CO2

Carbon dioxide and the Waitomo Glowworm Caves​​