Off the Beaten Track to... Waitomo
Waitomo is situated in the King Country of the southern Waikato region in New Zealand's North Island and whilst predominantly a dairy farming region, it is also known for its beautiful cave systems. The Waitomo caves are a popular destination for visitors because of their stunning stalactites and stalagmites, colonies of glowworms and caving activities. The Waitomo caves are well worth making a detour for - from Auckland they are about two hours south, one hour south of Hamilton and two hours of Rotorua.
Things To Do
- Glowworms – The Waitomo cave system is known for its population of glowworms, the arachnocampa luminosa, which are found exclusively in New Zealand. These are best viewed on a boat tour on the underground Waitomo River, where the only light seen is from the tiny glowworms on the roof of the caves.
- Blackwater Rafting – Black water rafting or cave tubing means using an inflated rubber inner tube (similar to the inner tubes of car or truck tyres) to float down underground rivers. Blackwater rafting tours operated by local tour guides offer exhilarating trips through the caves.
- Tramping – It's not all about glowworms in Waitomo as the region also offers enjoyable and relatively easy walking along tracks starting from Waitomo Village.
- Rabbit Shearing – Yes, you read it right, not sheep but rabbit shearing. In Waitomo you can also visit the local angora rabbit shearing shed for free shearing shows. These long-haired rabbits are German in origin and it's the only place in the world where you can see them shorn.
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