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Guided Cave Tours in Waitomo, Waikato, New Zealand


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NZ Freephone:

0800 782 587


+64 7 878 6219


585 Waitomo Caves Road
New Zealand

Regional Information:

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Ruakuri Cave, Waitomo Caves Tours & Glowworm Caves

Ruakuri Cave Introduction

Newly reopened after 18 years, Ruakuri Cave provides the most breathtaking guided Waitomo Caves tours, offering a captivating blend of all the best that the Waitomo region has to offer.

Join us on our guided cave tours of Waitomo. While weaving your way through the vast caverns of this dynamic natural environment, your tour guide will bring you up close to glowworms, limestone formations, underground rivers, hidden waterfalls, sacred Maori sites, and share with you ancient myths and legends.

Ruakuri Cave was first discovered by local Maori between 400 and 500 years ago. The name Ruakuri, or “den of dogs” was created when wild dogs were discovered making their home in the cave entrance some 300 years later.

The cave entrance was used by Maori as an urupa or burial site. It is this sacred area that has now been protected with the construction of the impressive spiral drum entrance some distance away, so that you can now enjoy these guided Waitomo Glowworm Caves tours.

Guided Waitomo Caves Tours

Looking up at glowworms Looking at rock formations from a balcony The entrance to Ruakuri cave A couple looking at rock formations

At 1.6 kilometres in length, our guided Waitomo Caves tour is the longest in New Zealand. Gaze in wonder at the stalactite straws, flow-stone and majestic cave formations that surround you in the Waitomo Glowworm Caves.

When visiting Ruakuri Cave you will be mesmerised by the softly folding, shawl-like formations and fossilised sea shells that were left behind by nature as the seabed turned to stone.

Crystal cave tapestries will enthrall you in the drum passage and as you descend, follow the rumbling sound of the hidden waterfall. Crossing a bridge into the glowworm colony, your guide will then take you up close to the tiny creatures who illuminate this eerie world.

Major features of Ruakuri Cave include Holdens Cavern (named after James Holden who first opened the cave to the public), The Drum Passage, The Pretties and The Ghost Passage.

Ruakuri Cave is an experience that must be seen to be believed. This Waitomo Caves tour will leave you open-mouthed, awe-struck and humbled by the sheer majesty of nature.

Departures for our Guided Waitomo Caves Tours

Our Waitomo Glowworm Caves tours depart daily at 9 am, 10:30 am, 11:30 am, 12:30 pm, 1:30 pm, 2:30 pm and 3:30 pm.

The Waitomo Glowworm Caves tour of Ruakuri Cave is approximately two hours long, and bookings are essential as numbers for each tour are restricted to 15 people.

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The Waikato Region

The Waikato is the first region south of Greater Auckland. It has two spectacular landscapes—one above ground, the other below.

Above ground the view is dominated by the serenity of the Waikato River and the rich rolling green of productive farmland. The main centre is Hamilton—a city that serves the thriving farming and university community.

The mighty Waikato River is best experienced from the deck of a classic paddle steamer. While the world passes by, an interesting commentary will tell you about local landmarks, the history of the region and riverbank life.

Hamilton is famous for its themed gardens and the local zoo which has the largest free flight aviary in the Southern Hemisphere—an excellent chance to find out about New Zealand's distinctive native birds.

The southern end of Hamilton's main street offers an excellent choice of restaurants, cafes and bars.

In the Waitomo area, south of Hamilton, there's a natural labyrinth to discover. Massive subterranean caverns are adorned with stalactites and stalagmites—formations that have been millions of years in the making.

Visitors can glide through the darkness on a water-borne barge and admire the beauty and deep silence of the Waitomo Glowworm Caves where the glowworms overhead give the effect of an eerie underground sky.

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