Go underground. Explore the hundreds of metres of underground passageways at the Waipu Caves. The main cave (about 175 metres long) has one of the longest stalagmites in NZ and you might spot a glow worm, or three.
From Waipu, head north about 16km and you’ll find the passageways within the Waipu Caves: sink holes, caves, and great examples of stalactites near the main entrance.
Access to the Waipu Caves is very easy. Signposted, just jump the style and head over the farmland and follow your nose for 20 metres or so, and you'll see the caves. There are public toilets by the road side.
If you are wanting to go in search of the glow worms then venture into the third chamber, some way into the caves. There is no track, so you will need to clamber if necessary, over mud banks and through the stream (which does have cave eels, but that just adds to the adventure).
If you feel like a walk, there's a Waipu Caves Walkway, about 2 hours return (4km) which will take you up over the ridge, for stunning coastline views, then back down to the valley and returning to the caves.
For more information and latest track conditions, check the DOC link.
We Reckon | Definitely bring a torch, otherwise it will be a frustrating visit. If you want to venture well into the caves, do wear footwear with good tread (jandals aren't recommended). There's a stream running through the caves and it can get a bit slippery underfoot. Basically, get prepared to get wet and dirty. Personally, a highly recommended visit!
Getting to the Waipu Caves | You'll find Waipu around 30 minutes drive from Whangarei - with two access roads: Ormiston and Waipu Caves Road. The Waipu Caves Road is unsealed and windy, so enjoy the scenery and take it easy around the corners.
See our Things to do in Northland map for directions.
Photo Credit | Waipu Caves, Waipu