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Off the Beaten Track - Glowworm Caving Adventure Tour in Waitomo provided by Down to Earth - Eco Cave Tours In Waitomo

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Off the Beaten Track - Glowworm Caving Adventure Tour in Waitomo

Off the Beaten Track - Glowworm Caving Adventure Tour in Waitomo
5
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$101.51
per adult
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Recommended by 99% of travelers
This number is based on the percentage of all Tripadvisor reviews for this product that have a bubble rating of 4 or higher
Free cancellation
Not sure? You can cancel this reservation up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund.
Tour snapshot
Explore untouched, internationally recognized glowworm caves in Waitomo
Duration:
3h
Taking Covid-19 safety measures
Group size:
8
Ticket type:
Mobile
Free cancellation
About
Waitomo is home to many glowworm caves, some more commercially developed than others. On this authentic caving adventure, explore subterranean caverns recognized by the New Zealand Department of Conservation—with no concrete paving or electric lighting—and see glowworms in their natural setting. Your adventurous guided tour includes all equipment, plus a hot shower and photos from your adventure.
Know before you go
  • Duration: 3h
  • Mobile tickets accepted
  • Instant confirmation
Cancellation policy
  • For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.
Available languages
English
Highlights
  • Enjoy an authentic glowworm caving adventure—hiking, wading, and more
  • All equipment—including boots, caving helmet, and headlamp—is included
  • Morning or afternoon tours are available to suit your itinerary
What to expect
Meet your guide at the Waitomo caving base and begin your adventure in one of only two caves in the Waitomo district recognized by the New Zealand Department of Conservation as having international significance. Put on warm layers, boots, helmet, and headlamp, and venture into the underground caverns with your guide. This part of the cave system is completely untouched, without concrete paving, electricity, or handrails—you are completely immersed in the natural world. Clamber over boulders, hike up rocky inclines, and wade through shallow streams. As you navigate the terrain, marvel at the spectacular sight of billions of bright green glowworms twinkling on the cavern roof. As you explore, listen as your guide sheds light on the glowworms’ behavior and lifecycle. After exploring the caves, return to base for a warming shower. Your tour ends after you collect the photographs that your guide took during your adventure. Please note: This tour is not suitable for anyone with mobility difficulties. A reasonable level of fitness is required.
Know before you go
  • Duration: 3h
  • Mobile tickets accepted
  • Instant confirmation
Available languages
English
Cancellation policy
  • For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.
Highlights
  • Enjoy an authentic glowworm caving adventure—hiking, wading, and more
  • All equipment—including boots, caving helmet, and headlamp—is included
  • Morning or afternoon tours are available to suit your itinerary
What to expect
Meet your guide at the Waitomo caving base and begin your adventure in one of only two caves in the Waitomo district recognized by the New Zealand Department of Conservation as having international significance. Put on warm layers, boots, helmet, and headlamp, and venture into the underground caverns with your guide. This part of the cave system is completely untouched, without concrete paving, electricity, or handrails—you are completely immersed in the natural world. Clamber over boulders, hike up rocky inclines, and wade through shallow streams. As you navigate the terrain, marvel at the spectacular sight of billions of bright green glowworms twinkling on the cavern roof. As you explore, listen as your guide sheds light on the glowworms’ behavior and lifecycle. After exploring the caves, return to base for a warming shower. Your tour ends after you collect the photographs that your guide took during your adventure. Please note: This tour is not suitable for anyone with mobility difficulties. A reasonable level of fitness is required.
Need help booking?
Call the number below and use the product code: 24439P1
Important information
Inclusions
  • See the caves just as nature intended. All caving equipment and warm clothing including: thermal top, thermal pants, fleece top, shorts, gumboots, socks, helmet and headlamp. A local guide with a deep connection to the caves and a wealth of information to share. Tea, coffee, and a snack. An email with awesome photos of your adventure. Proper Kiwi hospitality!
  • Entry/Admission - Down to Earth - Eco Cave Tours In Waitomo
Exclusions
  • We can not pick up or drop off. There is no public transport so you will need to have your own transport to 1199 Oparure Road.
Duration
3h
Departure details
  • 1199 Oparure Road, Te Kuiti 3985, New Zealand 1199 Oparure Road, follow the signs.
Additional information
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Minimum of 2 people per tour.
  • Maximum of 8 people per tour.
  • Minimum age is 12 years.
  • Children under the age of 15 must be accompanied by an adult.
  • This tour is not suitable for elderly people or anyone with mobility difficulties as it involves climbing over boulders, walking up hills and wading through streams with rocks underfoot.
  • A reasonable level of fitness is required.
  • Tours may be cancelled in case of flooding. In the unlikely event that your tour is cancelled, you'll receive a full refund.
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Not recommended for travelers with back problems
  • Travelers should have a moderate physical fitness level
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 8 travelers
Inclusions
  • See the caves just as nature intended. All caving equipment and warm clothing including: thermal top, thermal pants, fleece top, shorts, gumboots, socks, helmet and headlamp. A local guide with a deep connection to the caves and a wealth of information to share. Tea, coffee, and a snack. An email with awesome photos of your adventure. Proper Kiwi hospitality!
  • Entry/Admission - Down to Earth - Eco Cave Tours In Waitomo
Exclusions
  • We can not pick up or drop off. There is no public transport so you will need to have your own transport to 1199 Oparure Road.
Departure details
  • 1199 Oparure Road, Te Kuiti 3985, New Zealand 1199 Oparure Road, follow the signs.
Duration
3h
Return details
  • Returns to original departure point
Additional information
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Minimum of 2 people per tour.
  • Maximum of 8 people per tour.
  • Minimum age is 12 years.
  • Children under the age of 15 must be accompanied by an adult.
  • This tour is not suitable for elderly people or anyone with mobility difficulties as it involves climbing over boulders, walking up hills and wading through streams with rocks underfoot.
  • A reasonable level of fitness is required.
  • Tours may be cancelled in case of flooding. In the unlikely event that your tour is cancelled, you'll receive a full refund.
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Not recommended for travelers with back problems
  • Travelers should have a moderate physical fitness level
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 8 travelers
Travel safe during COVID-19
What you can expect during your visit
  • Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
  • Guides required to regularly wash hands
  • Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
What you can expect during your visit
  • Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
  • Guides required to regularly wash hands
  • Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
  • Paid stay-at-home policy for staff with symptoms
  • Gear/equipment sanitized between use
Itinerary
  • You'll start at
    1199 Oparure Road
    1199 Oparure Road, Te Kuiti 3985, New Zealand
    1199 Oparure Road, follow the signs.
    See address & details
  • 1
    Down to Earth - Eco Cave Tours In Waitomo
    Stop: 3 hours - Admission included
    1199 Oparure Road, Maungarongapu Cave
    Read more
  • You'll return to the starting point
+
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.

5.0
141 reviews
Excellent
139
Very good
1
Average
1
Poor
0
Terrible
0

jefeD42
Dallas, TX9 contributions
We did this tour (a family of 5...two adults and 3 teenagers, youngest 13) as a precursor to a 14 day cruise around the coast of New Zealand and into Australia. We landed in Auckland early in the morning the day before we were to port to sea and had a driver take us inland about 3 hours to get to Glowing Adventures. The excursion took the estimated 3 hours to hike to the caves, through them and back to the beginning. It was a major highlight of our trip! If you want to experience the rawness of the cave system and have an amazing experience up close with the glow worms in them then this is the way to go. Glowing Adventures is a professional, customer friendly, knowledgeable company and our guide Ash was the best! We had a small group of 8 which made climbing through the caves and seeing as much as possible extremely doable and convenient. Ash even took SO many fantastic photos for us. This tour is highly recommended. Don't miss out on this opportunity if you're going to New Zealand!
Written January 11, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
How could we forget your beautiful family! Im still jealous you didn't take me with you on your amazing cruise! Thank you so much for taking the time to write this AMAZING review about us. We really appreciate it :-) Take care and safe travels.
Written January 14, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

mixiego
5 contributions
Exceptional morning with Ash being guided into the caves on this family's working sheep farm. This is a very well thought out tour with all equipment you might need supplied - you could show up with flip-flops and a bathing suit and they would take care of you. Ash has a wonderful, friendly and warm disposition; we were impressed by the way that he discretely assessed our ability to be in cold water and mildly uncomfortable before we set foot in the caves. He was funny and supportive and confidently led us through small, dark, damp spaces while we laughed about it. Before seeing the glowworms in all of their glory, he described the beauty of the caves and the life cycle of the insects; the morning whizzed by. He took great photos of us in the caves, including long exposures with the glowworms. This was an intimate and fun experience. Don't hesitate to chose this tour.
Written January 25, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you so much for your kind words. We really appreciate you taking the time to share your experience caving with us. We agree, Ash is truly a gem to have on our team at Glowing Adventures! It’s awesome to have his local knowledge of the Waitomo area and of course the dad jokes! We count ourselves lucky for customers like you :-)
Written February 9, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

kiwitripper64
Auckland Central, New Zealand541 contributions
Fantastic mix of walking, wading, scrambling squeezing and relaxing. The tour takes about 3 hours. It was a little cold and wet when we arrived, but the tour have warm changing rooms and provide everything except a change of undies. They do know what they are talking about and the socks, polyprop thermal longjohns, top, fleece layer then jacket kept us warm. The gumboots keep out most of the water and have amazing grip on the limestone.
The walk down to the river is interesting. There is no indication of holes in the ground, just a typical New Zealand field with sheep and trees. Next minute and you are at the small river with high canyon walls and you get an idea about the topography and learn a little of the geology and botany.
And then you enter the cave system. What a treat. There are big caves, small caves, dark cave and glow worm caves. Being in a small group, there was no rush and we got to squeeze through a few small gaps to become "real spelunkers". Nothing too difficult, but lots of fun getting dirty..
And there are glowworms. You get right up to them and can see the little worms and dangly insect traps, and you get to sit in a large cave with them and lights outs and just chill.
everything comes to an end, and we finished up at the office where they have hot showers (remember the change of undies) and a hot drink.
This is not a trip with wide footpaths and floodlights. It is a bit wet and a bit dirty and a lot of fun
Written June 29, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thanks for your review. It’s great for customers to have so many choices when visiting Waitomo. There’s something to suit everyone! We work hard to keep our glow worm cave tours as close to nature as possible and to give our guests just the right amount of adventure :)
Written May 31, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Joan
Auckland Central, New Zealand7 contributions
We went to the tour as two couples and the experience far exceeded our expectation! We had the chance to trek through the river and the cave as well as seeing the glowworms and limestone formation. The guide was very informative and friendly and he took amazing pictures of us during different moments of the tour and it can be downloaded for free the next day. We are very grateful to have chosen this tour and we would recommend anyone (with access to a car) not to miss joining this tour in Waitomo.
Written February 15, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you so much for your review. It is great to have small groups, especially private tours as we can adjust each tour to suit the group. Our guides are great at working with the groups to challenge those who are wanting it and helping others that need it. We are super glad you had a great time and enjoyed our backyard.
Written February 24, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

JAK1227
Los Angeles, CA31 contributions
We were interested in this small group (non-boat) trip and it was worth every penny and the 2.5 hour drive from Auckland. The caves were awesome and the guide super fun and patient. If you are interested in adventure and don't mind getting a little wet and/or dirty (although they give you everything you need so nothing of yours gets dirty), then this is the trip for you!! I highly recommend.
Written February 27, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
GlowingAdventure
Thanks Jak! We LOVE taking small group tours through our private glow worm caves. It helps us to get to know our visitors from around the world. Some have gone on to become great friends with us here at Glowing Adventures :-)
Written March 2, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Catherine S
Christchurch, New Zealand21 contributions
What an experience. So natural, no electricity or paths, just head lights and squeezing thru small spaces. Beautifully guided by Ash, who was extremely knowledgeable. Loved the small group (4 in our group). Excellent prep, with clothing, lights, helmets and safety briefing given. Just can't recommend further, just do it and have fun.
Written November 4, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
We are so glad that you enjoyed our off the beaten track experience. Sometimes it’s great to get away from the crowds and really explore a place. Thank you for taking the time to review us!
Written May 31, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Steve63SA5014
Greater Adelaide, Australia101 contributions
Quite simply an outstanding activity. A must do of the highest level. The caves contained so many wonderful features and the challenge of the activity made me feel like a child again, experiencing the wonder of nature. From the fabulous greeting provided by Sarah to the informative and humorous guiding of Heath the whole experience was one of the best I’ve been fortunate to have in my travels.
Written January 6, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thanks for taking the time to write this AMAZING review Steven :-) We are glad you enjoyed coming to hang out with us in our backyard in Waitomo. Take care and safe travels around New Zealand
Written January 9, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Cage89
Walton, KY241 contributions
Wow, made the right decision. Easy to find, though off the beaten path. A much more intimate experience is what we were after, and what was delivered. My wife and I did it New Years Eve; I had to promise her she could dress up in some fancier clothes later that night, though the digs were pretty trendy, lol!!! Ash was a fantastic guide, and made gettning your boots filled with cold water, and contorting through challenging spaces entertaining! He took some amazing pictures at the end, and we will treasure this life experience. Couldn't imagine a better way of doing this adventure. I honestly was a little worried about whether Cathy would find this as fascinating and worthwhile as I sensed it would be, and we were totally 2 thumnbs up. Our friends think we are outside with the stars glowing in the heavens; fun to set them straight.
Written January 31, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Paint your palette blue and grey ..... *playing imaginary guitar* Thanks for taking the time to write this AMAZING review :-) We are glad you enjoyed coming to hang out with us in our backyard in Waitomo. Take care and safe travels around New Zealand
Written February 9, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

hyacie
Singapore, Singapore57 contributions
If you're looking for a proper adventure, please book this tour. It will not disappoint. My 66 year old mom was able to do this caving adventure, and emerged victorious and exhilarated, and I have to agree with her, that this glow worms caving adventure was the highlight of our 2.5wk road trip around the North and South islands. Our host - Michelle, was kind enough to switch our tour dates to another day, as we could not make it on the original day we booked. And Heath - our guide for the day, was so calm, collected and so very kind. The caves are impressive and Heath explains in detail how they formed, and leads you through the cavern, through the stream, between rocks that are a tight squeeze, and up close and personal - inches away from the amazing glowworms, always keeping his composure and ready with answers to all and any questions.
Special shout out to Heath for retrieving my husband's wedding ring that I dropped between the slats on the deck at the reception. I will always be grateful to you and Michelle for your patience and for providing us with memories (and pictures), that will last us a lifetime. Thank you.
Written February 14, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
You are most welcome Hyacie, we really enjoyed meeting you all. So glad we could rescue your ring, that would have been a bad ending to your North Island visit! We hope you enjoyed the rest of your New Zealand travels. Take care.
Written February 24, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

jillpierson2
Aurora, IL6 contributions
It started with a warm greeting and a ton of enthusiasm from the staff. Everyone is outfitted with clothing needed for the tour, which helps avoid getting your clothes dirty. Our guide, Ash, was amazing. It’s clear he has an appreciation for the land and wants to share that love with the guests. We weren’t rushed, rather encouraged to slow down and take everything in.

The tour was a bit intense at times, as you have to crawl through tight spaces and balance on some precarious rocks, but Ash was there to help every step of the way. The land hasn’t been dramatically altered for the purpose of the tour, keeping it as natural as possible.

We stopped at various points to have pictures taken, which they provide to the guests for free. This helped me not feel pressured to take my own camera. Instead, I was able to focus on the experience.

Once the tour was over we were greeted with coffee and cookies and questions about about our experience. We were allowed to relax and wind down. There may be other tours in the area, but this is a unique experience with people who clearly love what they are doing!
Written January 1, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Wow what a great review! Thank you so much for sharing Jill, we’re so happy that we could be part of your New Zealand experience. Ash is a true gem, we are very lucky to have him on board :-)
Written January 4, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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*Likely to sell out: Based on Viator’s booking data and information from the provider from the past 30 days, it seems likely this experience will sell out through Viator, a Tripadvisor company.
About the operator

Don’t take it from us – here’s what people have to say about this operator.

By: Down to Earth - Eco Cave Tours In Waitomo
Javier_A_C_Q_2022
Javier_A_C_Q_2022
00
Waitomo - Wai (water) tomo (hole)
The private tour was the highlight of this particular activity - our family was able to enjoy this amazing place as
407clareb
407clareb
00
Glow worm caves tour
Our personalised tour was one of the highlights of NZ! Learned a lot about the biology of the caves and the glow wo
BajaLisa07
BajaLisa07
00
One of the highlights of our trip to New Zealand
This was spectacular! I had learned about the glow worms many years ago and wanted to make sure we got to experien
RossT1154
RossT1154
00
Amazing Experience
I was fortunate to go on this truely awesome adventure. It had everything- fast flowing water (filling up your gumb
KatyF444
KatyF444
00
Heaps of fun
The most fun I've had in ages. Our tour was basically the "off the beaten track tour". Whole family loved it. Gr
Matthewbarnett
Matthewbarnett
00
Great little adventure
My GF and I came here as part of a wrekend adventure. I think this is a great stepping stone for anyone looking to
K4678XVveronicaa
K4678XVveronicaa
00
Amazing! Don’t go woth anyone else!!
We absolutely loved our time at Glowing Adventures. It’s a family owned and run business and a personalised experie
J1323BMcharlesp
J1323BMcharlesp
00
A real spelunking experience
A fascinating and educational experience. This was the real deal....a class 5 rapids trip, if you were to compare i
MichelleTrabucc
MichelleTrabucc
00
Great glowing adventures!
My husband and I came here while on vacation. We looked at many tours in the area and the appeal to Glowing Adventu
Kyla867
Kyla867
00
Great Tour
This was an excellent tour, with very small groups, a local guide with a historic family connection to the caves. O
TiffanyRM17
TiffanyRM17
00
Went the extra mile for an extra special glow worm experience
Sara was so cheerful upon our arrival! Heath was a great enthusiastic guide and led us through the cave smoothly. H
lalzinger
lalzinger
00
Spectacular
As promised you will explore a cave system of the beaten track. This was an amazing experience and I would do it ag
BrooklinHeather
BrooklinHeather
00
Amazing!
This tour is an absolute must do when in the area. We did the private tour so it was just our family of 4 along wit
Ryan G
Ryan G
00
Unforgettably brilliant.
Our entire time with the team was top notch, from a warm and friendly introduction to calm and confident leadership
ekenny2020
ekenny2020
00
Awesome adventure
This was an amazing tour! The cave was in its natural state which means no walkways or stairs. The staff was friend
Frequently Asked Questions about Off the Beaten Track - Glowworm Caving Adventure Tour in Waitomo

Off the Beaten Track - Glowworm Caving Adventure Tour in Waitomo price starts from $100.97. Discover and book Off the Beaten Track - Glowworm Caving Adventure Tour in Waitomo on Tripadvisor

Off the Beaten Track - Glowworm Caving Adventure Tour in Waitomo cancellation policy: For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience. Discover and book Off the Beaten Track - Glowworm Caving Adventure Tour in Waitomo on Tripadvisor

Off the Beaten Track - Glowworm Caving Adventure Tour in Waitomo is hosted by Down to Earth - Eco Cave Tours In Waitomo. Read reviews, discover additonal experiences or contact Down to Earth - Eco Cave Tours In Waitomo on Tripadvisor. Discover and book Off the Beaten Track - Glowworm Caving Adventure Tour in Waitomo on Tripadvisor