Waitomo for Kids

Kids, start your research project right here!

Welcome to the wonder and magic that are the Glowworm Caves of Waitomo! Find out how the glow worm gets his glow and what makes those impressive limestone spires. Perfect for an educational school trip that will keep all the kids entertained.


Waitomo Caves for kidsFIVE FUN GLOWWORM FACTS:

  1. Glow worms are carnivores.
  2. Glow worms catch their dinner by lowering a long line of sticky mucus to catch midges, mosquitos and flies.
  3. The glow worm can go without food for weeks and even months.
  4. The glow worm's tail glows because of bioluminescence. This is a reaction between chemicals given off by the glowworm and oxygen. This chemical reaction produces the blue glow.
  5. The Glow Worm is a fungus gnat.

Did you know? – There are other creepy inhabitants in the Waitomo caves; these include:

  • New Zealand Weta
  • a spider-like Harvestmen, and
  • the Carabid beetle.



  1. Cave wetas are deaf and completely harmless
  2. When frightened they can jump up to 2 metres
  3. Their antenna is 4 times longer than their body
  4. They cannot make any sound
  5. They are known as 'devils of the night'



  • The limestone of Waitomo was formed over 30 million years ago during the Oligocene period
  • Water runs down through the earth and slowly carves out the caves over millions of years
  • The caves limestone is made up of ancient coral, sea shells and fish skeletons
  • Waitomo is the Maori word for Water (wai) and Hole (tomo)
  • Species that live in caves are called troglobites

Did you know?

Water infused with limestone crystals drips from the roof of caves and sets like concrete. As time passes, these drips of limestone infused water build up to form the beautiful cave decorations we call stalactites and stalagmites. Stalactites grow down from the ceiling and stalagmites grow up from the cave floor. If they join together they are called columns or pillars.

Don't forget!

  • Stalactite � Hold on tight
  • Stalagmite – Might gain height


The Waitomo Glowworm Caves are a great place to take your family or class on a school trip. There are plenty of educational activities for kids to learn all about nature, history and the culture of Waitomo.

New Zealand school groups can book their Waitomo Glowworm Caves tour through the Education Service at the Waitomo Caves Discovery Centre who hold a Ministry of Education contract to provide learning experiences outside the classroom. NZ schools additionally can receive a free tailored lesson to their requirements. Phone 07 878 7642 or email    education@waitomodiscovery.org for further information.