Waitomo Caves Free Visitor Attractions
Waitomo Caves is a caves system and small village in the Waikato region of the North Island. The nearest large town, Hamilton, is one hour's drive away (78km) and Auckland, two hours away (200km) and Rotorua, two hours away (156km). The Waitomo Caves can be found 8km along Waitomo Caves Road, off State Highway 3.
Waitomo Caves village itself is very small, but the caves have formed a major tourist attraction and are well-known for their population of glowworms, Arachnocampa luminosa found exclusively in New Zealand. Visitors to the caves can visit easy-to-access caves, raft or crawl through caves depending on their interests and abilities. A popular guided activity is 'blackwater rafting' in which visitors float through the caves in huge tubes viewing glowworms and cave decorations as they go. more
There are around 300 known limestone caves beneath the hills of the Waitomo region, but the main caves visited by tourists are the Waitomo Glowworm Cave, Ruakuri Cave, Aranui Cave and Gardner's Gut. These caves are home to some beautiful cave decorations, stalactites, stalagmites and helicti.
Accommodation in Waitomo Caves is varied including farmstays, bed and breakfasts, backpackers, hotel and motor lodges.
The Ruakuri Walk is a great free attraction in the Waitomo Caves area. Based in the Ruakuri Scenic Reserve, a place of strong cultural significance to Maori, the walk includes limestone outcrops, native forest and small caves to be explored.
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