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Visiting Waitomo Caves: A More Personal Approach

The Waitomo Caves are one of New Zealand’s most well-known tourist attractions, with their unique glow worms and rock formations.

For this very reason visitors to the most popular cave can feel a bit like they are just a number experiencing another tourist trap. At Once Upon A Trip we know you want authenticity when you travel and we aim to bring you something a little more personal - so we were thrilled to come across a small family-run business, Cave World, that are able to give you a much more intimate, personalised visit to the footwhistle cave just 5 minutes from Waitomo.

Laura and I headed to Waitomo one afternoon to get the full experience. When we arrived we jumped on the shuttle to head to the cave which is located on private farmland. Our guide led us through the native bush, telling us about the different plants and their traditional uses.

Then we headed down the staircase into the cave. The gentle candle light system allows you to make out the glow worms with their little webs and the amazing rock formations and then the lights can be turned right down so your eyes can make out the star like clusters of glow worms.

Our guide filled us in on how glow worms feed and reproduce and we were able to ask a lot of questions. One other plus in respect to other cave visits is that as the visitors to the cave are limited in number you are able to take photos without adversely affecting the environment and your guide will make sure you get a great photo to take away with you. Once you re-emerge from the cave you’ll be treated to a complimentary cup of kawakawa tea in a hut made from punga tree ferns before heading back to Waitomo in the shuttle.

If you’re in a group there is the option of privatising your cave tour. As there is a relatively steep staircase to get down into the cave the tour is not suitable for really young children or anyone with accessibility issues. 

Does this sound like an experience you would like?