Do it yourself, for free! Explore the Ruakuri Caves on a self-guided tour. Limestone caves, waterfalls and superb scenery. This fascinating area is well worth exploring.
A 30 minute walk on the Ruakuri track passes alongside the Waitomo Stream and through small caves. The Ruakuri Natural Tunnel (an amazing high-ceiling cave) is a must see. It’s dark but you can make out the stalactites high above from the underground viewing platform inside. The Waitomo Stream is also thoroughfare for some black water/tubing action, so don't be surprised to see a few wet-suited guys chanting along the pathways, dripping and grinning after their journey!If you want to see the glow worms, evening (naturally) is the best time. You will need a torch. Glow worms "hang" around the swing bridge (there's a map in the carpark, but it's not too far into the walk).
If you have more time, then consider the Waitomo Walkway. This track is also signposted from the carpark (the further end), where you will follow markers over farmland to a Glowworm Cave (rather than glowworms in the bush, as per the Ruakuri Walk).
For visitor information and latest track conditions, check the DOC link.
We Reckon | Note there are two caves: Ruakuri (free and easy to access on a loop track) and Aranui (accessible only by a guided tour). The main cave (with the underground platform) looks over the Waitomo Stream. Lots of little paths leading to all nooks and crannies, and several smaller caves and tunnels, but they all lead back to the carpark, so go exploring! We love Waitomo, even on a budget. We experience Waitomo for Free.
Getting to the Ruakuri Caves | The Ruakuri Caves are part of the Ruakuri Scenic Reserve (more than 100 hectares of DOC land) and you’ll find the entrance about 4 km from Waitomo Village, sign posted at the roundabout. See our map for directions:
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Photo Credit | Ruakuri Caves, Waitomo