Tours and Tickets

Waitomo Glowworm Caves Guided Tour provided by Waitomo Glowworm Caves

Waitomo Glowworm Caves Guided Tour

Waitomo Glowworm Caves Guided Tour
4
Book in advance
from
£29.06
per adult
Free cancellation
Not sure? You can cancel this booking up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund.
Tour snapshot
Tour the caves on foot and on a boat
Duration:
45m
Taking Covid-19 safety measures
Group size:
23
Near public transportation
Ticket type:
Mobile
Free cancellation
  • Duration:
    45m
  • Taking Covid-19 safety measures
  • Group size:
    23
  • Near public transportation
  • Ticket type:
    Mobile
  • Free cancellation
About
New Zealand's natural beauty goes far below the surface, as you'll discover on this guided tour of the Waitomo Caves. The underground cave complex is home to millions of glowworms and spectacular formations, like the Cathedral Cave. Your guide will tell you all about the natural forces at work in the cave, on a tour that's fun and informative for both adults and kids.
Know before you go
  • Duration: 45m
  • Mobile tickets accepted
Cancellation policy
  • For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.
Available languages
English
Highlights
  • Be amazed by one of New Zealand's must-see attractions
  • Learn about the geological and historical background of the Waitomo Caves
  • Tours depart at various times, so you can choose one to suit your schedule
What to expect
Know before you go
  • Duration: 45m
  • Mobile tickets accepted
Available languages
English
Cancellation policy
  • For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.
Highlights
  • Be amazed by one of New Zealand's must-see attractions
  • Learn about the geological and historical background of the Waitomo Caves
  • Tours depart at various times, so you can choose one to suit your schedule
What to expect
Need help booking?
Call the number below and use the product code: 3930P3
Important information
Inclusions
  • Local guide
  • GST (Goods and Services Tax)
  • Entry/Admission - Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Exclusions
  • Souvenir photos (available to purchase)
Duration
45m
Departure details
  • Waitomo Caves, Waitomo Caves, Waitomo District, Waikato Region, North Island Departure Point: Waitomo Glowworm Caves Visitor Centre Address: 39 Waitomo Village Road, Waitomo Dates: Daily
Additional information
  • Bring comfortable waking shoes and a warm jacket
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Near public transportation
  • Infant seats available
  • Most travellers can participate
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s cancelled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 23 travellers
Inclusions
  • Local guide
  • GST (Goods and Services Tax)
  • Entry/Admission - Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Exclusions
  • Souvenir photos (available to purchase)
Departure details
  • Waitomo Caves, Waitomo Caves, Waitomo District, Waikato Region, North Island Departure Point: Waitomo Glowworm Caves Visitor Centre Address: 39 Waitomo Village Road, Waitomo Dates: Daily
Duration
45m
Return details
  • Returns to original departure point
Additional information
  • Bring comfortable waking shoes and a warm jacket
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Near public transportation
  • Infant seats available
  • Most travellers can participate
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s cancelled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 23 travellers
Travel safe during COVID-19
Last updated: 31 Jul 2020
A note from Waitomo Glowworm Caves Guided Tour
Covid Practices: We will be requesting all visitors sign in upon arrival for contact tracing, we will be maintaining social distancing and implementing cleaning practices throughout the day as well as hand sanitizer
What you can expect during your visit
  • Guides required to regularly wash hands
  • Hand sanitiser available to travellers and staff
  • Social distancing enforced throughout experience
What you can expect during your visit
  • Guides required to regularly wash hands
  • Hand sanitiser available to travellers and staff
  • Social distancing enforced throughout experience
  • Transportation vehicles regularly sanitised
Itinerary
  • You'll start at
    Waitomo Caves
    See Important Information for details
  • 1
    Waitomo Glowworm Caves
    Stop: 45 minutes - Admission included
    Discover your moment of magic in the Waitomo Glowworm Caves tour. Known as one of New Zealand’s best natural attractions, take a boat ride through the glow worm grotto, marvel at thousands of magical glowworms and become part of over 130 years of cultural and natural history.World renowned and a magnet for both local and overseas visitors, the Waitomo Glowworm Caves occupy a high placing in the New Zealand vacation wish-list. The glow worm, Arachnocampa luminosa, is unique to New Zealand. Thousands of these tiny creatures radiate their unmistakable luminescent light as the expert guides provide informative commentary on their historical and geological significance to the region. Waitomo Glowworm Caves are a must see for any traveler. Enjoy the world famous boat ride under thousands of magical glowworms and become a part of over 125 years of cultural and natural history. Walk through the majestic Cathedral Cave famous for its spectacular formations and acoustics. Marvel at Mother Nature's light display as you glide silently through the starry wonderland of the Glowworm Grotto. Meander underground along the Waitomo River and gaze in silence at the myriad of glow worm lights that make up the Glowworm Grotto. As you enter this galaxy of tiny living lights, you'll immediately experience a serene ambience and be fascinated and intrigued by tiny glowworms that light your way.
    Read more
  • You'll return to the starting point
+
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.0
248 reviews
Excellent
128
Very good
71
Average
29
Poor
11
Terrible
9

Debi W
Auckland, New Zealand14 contributions
Apr 2022
The glowworms are amazing and watching them from the silence of the boat gliding along in the dark with only the sound of dripping water was like being in a fantasy movie.
Our guide was really informative and kept us amused. He told us how territorial the glowworms are and showed us some dead ones - I was surprised how big they are.
Walking through the caves, up and down stairs, it was warm enough that I didn't require a sweatshirt although they say the temperature is usually 16 C.
It was well worth the price and the trip. The entrance is about 3 minutes drive past the I-site building and they recommend you arrive half an hour early especially in busy times.
Written 24 April 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

andyffnz
Auckland, New Zealand44 contributions
Feb 2020
This is a world class attraction and is spectacular and highly recommended. However, it is also very popular and the large group sizes depart at intervals of 15mins. This is a slick operation and should be enjoyed - but a romantic, personalized caving experience it is not.
Additionally, on the day we visited, there are were other independent guided tours of non-English speaking tourists being conducted simultaneously which led to difficulty in hearing our guide in the 'Cathedral' area of the cave system.
Visitors were advised to be silent on the boat trip to see the Glow Worms themselves (which most did) and the admission cost was worth this alone as it is stunning.
Be aware though, the food offerings at the cafe and restaurant, while of reasonable quality, are so expensive, the prices are boarding on offensive. If you're hungry, eat somewhere else before or after, or bring your own.
Written 19 February 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kia Ora, Thanks for leaving such a great and informative review! We hope to see you again next time your in Waitomo. Nga mihi,
Written 29 February 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

VJ1S
33 contributions
Took our kids 6 & 8 years old. They loved it, we learned so much. The guide Shawny was lovely, kept us all engaged and very receptive to our group. An elderly gentleman had bad knees, she helped him into the boat first making sure he did so safely. The tour was very informative and interesting. The ride was so peaceful. We ate at the cafe, a bit pricey but we were happy to spend the money there knowing it was 75% family owned. The gift shop has good variety. I regret not buying a few more things. Would definitely recommend it and would come back again.
Written 24 February 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

traveling-is-growth
Los Angeles, CA6 contributions
Mar 2020
Glowworms are an interesting phenomenon, maggots that excrete long sticky strands, and the insects themselves are luminescent to attract prey in the dark cave. To our eyes, they look like aqua colored stars in a dark sky when you are inside the dark cave...beautiful (which is why they got 2 stars, otherwise would only give one star). However, the operators of this attraction ruin the experience, by telling you that you cannot photograph the lit up stalagmites and stalactites let alone take photos (would need special lenses in the darkness) of the glowworm. At first we thought perhaps the worms may be very light sensitive, but we find out at the end of the short boat ride to see them (8 min tops including loading of people) that they want to sell you expensive packages of photoshopped photographs. It is robbery. The guide takes a much longer time in the stalagmites and stalactites areas of the cave, then rush you onto the boats filled with people to take a very short ride in the dark cave to see the glow worms above you. They tell you to stay quiet because the worms are sensitive to sound but then we had a couple on our boat that had a screaming baby on the ride. The worms were fine, oblivious to the screams echoing throughout the ride, but the passengers in our boat and a couple of others were all quite annoyed. If the worms were noise sensitive, shouldn't they not allow babies onboard? The whole operation smacks of greed. If you can go elsewhere to see glowworms (several places in NZ, both islands...google them), please go to those places. Skip this Waitomo location! Oh and after you get home, the code they give you for the downloadable photos allows you ONE photo to download, which has been chosen for you. The rest you must pay US$10 each for! (We were told this by friends who bought the $25 downloadable package.) What a scam!
Written 4 May 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

474lovetoeat474
Canada65 contributions
We did the tour on February 29th. Our group wasn't huge, maybe 20 of us. The cave was interesting and the glowworms fascinating, however the tour itself was disappointing.

Our guide was a Maori gentleman and he was more focused on the need to be quiet rather than guiding. He talked so quietly it was hard to hear a lot of what he said. There was a family in our group with two children (approx 4 and 6 yrs old), and the guide constantly shhh'd them, even though they were very well behaved and not loud at all. If they even whispered to their parents during his talk he would shhh them. We felt so badly for the parents. The shhhing became so distracting we could hardly wait for the end; literally every third of fourth word he said was "shhhh" during his talk, even when no one was making a sound. The guide with the group behind us was not nearly as quiet and we heard more of her talk than our own! And the group ahead of us sang at the one point and it echoed through the entire cave. But he still wanted us to be silent. If any amount of sound disturbs the glowworms that much, then tours probably shouldn't be done at all. Period.

The boat ride was lovely, the glowworms beautiful but he had very sternly warned us that there could be absolutely no sound at all during the ride. We were almost afraid to breathe. When he pulled up to let us out, another man helped us out of the boat and the guide turned the boat around and left. Not one word said to let us know the tour was over. We all sort of looked at each other and said "I guess that's it". Perhaps another guide would have made our experience much better, but as it was I would go elsewhere to see glowworms.

I am really glad that this stop was along the way of our travels. I wouldn't go out of my way for it.
Written 23 July 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Shelley M
Albany, New Zealand434 contributions
Apr 2022
The car park is down a steep hill but there was plenty of spaces available but the small kids had trouble walking up the steep hill to get to the path for entry. Great set up with the walkway going under the road which makes it safe. Looks really well set up and bathrooms were clean. Elderly would struggle getting to the entrance.

I think I was underwhelmed as I had done a glow worm cave in the south island, but the tour was really well done, the tour guide was a young man was friendly and funny. The stairs are easy to manage, but trying to keep two small children silent was hard as they wanted to say wow and count the stairs etc which made it a bit annoying trying to keep them silent. The cathedral cave part was really nice and i really enjoyed that part. The boat ride for me was boring as there were not many gloworms at all. I was expecting a lot more, but thats because of the caves in Charleston which had set a very high benchmark. I guess Waitomo has other caves which deliver a better experience, but I wouldnt do the basic one again.

The small cafe afterwards is a nice spot on a sunny day for a coffee or ice-cream.

Felt the price was expensive for what we got to see.
Written 29 April 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

daregirlzone7
Masterton, New Zealand53 contributions
Nothing short of a phenomenal experience! Cold and dreary day so decided to head here on our way to Taupo instead of doing a second day at Mystery Creek Fieldays - totally the best decision!
We were on the 11.30am tour today (Friday) with a guide who made the whole experience amazing as well as informative, and being able to relate it to his heritage and ancestry made it like he was sharing his family treasure - which you really felt he was. It was a very special experience that leaves you in awe of the nature we should be fighting to protect everywhere. The cathedral area inside the cave is majestic to say the least and the boat ride at the end is eerie but oh so exciting.
From the young woman who sold us our tickets, to our guide right thru to the woman at the cafe who served us some very yummy pizza, coffee and kumera fries we felt welcomed and the service was lovely and friendly. We have already decided to come again and bring our two teenagers so they can experience this special place.
Written 18 June 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Liz_Mo1982
Auckland Central, New Zealand80 contributions
It is short tour (~50 mins) through relatively short length of cave. The main cave is lit up with lights meaning you can see all the stalagtites really well.
The tour guide was a descendant of the first Māori family that did tours through the cave. Tour was informative and the guide was great.
The cathedral is really impressive high ceiling part of cave. The boat ride itself was very short of not much more than 5 minutes and no where near as many glow worms as expected may see based on promo pictures of the cave. As a New Zealander should definitely see this cave once but I wouldn’t go again.
I did the ruakuri cave also which i preferred and would recommend over the waitomo cave tour if you could only do one.
Written 1 May 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

KiwiExplorers
Manawatu-Wanganui Region, New Zealand40 contributions
Dec 2021
Amazing limestone structures and views of glow worms. For the budget or time conscious, this tour takes about 45 minutes and is was the cheapest cave to explore. For us personally, the highlight of this tour was our guide. The informative commentary he provided about the geology of the caves was fascinating and he also had an extensive knowledge of the cultural significance and history as well. He also ensured everybody had viewing opportunities. Check out the combo's available for entry to the other caves too. We have also seen the Ruakuri Cave and would highly recommend that too.
Written 1 January 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Rob S
Norwich, UK3 contributions
We did the 45 minute guided tour of the glowworm cave and frankly it was a waste of money and a disappointment. The last 10 minutes consist of what you actually expect of the tour - drifting around silently in a boat with thousands of glow worms above your head. That part is really nice and was a welcome relief from the prior 35 minutes in which you get herded around the other parts of the cave in groups of roughly 30-40 tourists to one guide, closely sandwiched between an earlier and later group with seemingly only minutes between groups. This results in long waits and bottlenecks down in the caves and makes it difficult to hear what your guide is saying due to the noise from the other groups and their guides. This is a shame as the guides are knowledgeable and probably aren't in charge of the bookings. It just gives the overall impression that you've fallen for a tourist trap ran by a greedy company who send as many people down the caves as they can each hour.

No photography is allowed in the caves, probably because overcrowding in a dark cave and not looking where you're going don't mix well, but the website gives the impression that there's a photographer in the cave to take a photo of your tour boat to buy at the end. This isn't the case - instead there's a photographer with a green screen at the entrance to the caves who then photoshops a background behind you and tries to sell you the print for $40, furthering the impression that you're being ripped off.
Written 31 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kia Ora Thank you for your feedback. I am sorry the cave did not live up to expectation, as it is our busy season we are trying our best to accommodate the large number of people wanting to go through the cave. Maybe next time you could try to come through in one of our quieter seasons. As for the photos, we have been asked by the original owner not to allow photography in the cave, as well as the fact it can be very dangerous as there are quite a few stairs and we need everyone to be watching where they are going. Nga Mihi
Written 1 February 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Showing results 1-10 of 220
About the operator

Don’t take it from us – here’s what people have to say about this operator.

By: Waitomo Glowworm Caves
shazza1985
shazza1985
00
Ok
It’s a shame the caves have to be so commercial. The concrete pathways, barriers and lights really ruin the “caving
panavkalra
panavkalra
00
Absolutely Thrilling!
It was a great experience, one of the best activities in New Zealand. Our guides Alistar and Kit were amazing. They
U79VTclairea
U79VTclairea
00
Money grabbing and unreasonable
We bought gift vouchers online for a family member to enjoy the experience only to find that in the small print th
Robw1407
Robw1407
00
Worth doing once!!
Fantastic guides and definitively worth doing once. I think I has expecting too much in terms of the what the glow
Karen F
Karen F
00
What a tourist attraction
It was amazing to see the development of this place. I haven't been for 40+ years. I was greeted with a brilliant
Lrpttfr
Lrpttfr
00
Surreal and awesome!
My partner and I did this as total beginners. Absolutely awesome from start to finish. Smooth running, great kit, e
WCOB
WCOB
00
Iconic boat ride
It's been many years since I last visited. It was enjoyable as there were only nine people on the tour. The guide w
pracatan77
pracatan77
00
Magical Experience
A magical experience deep underground, seeing some wonderful sights. Moi our host was fantastic and gave us an inf
CushlaH_13
CushlaH_13
00
Glow worms and caves stunning
Our 4 year old daughter loved the glow worm cave tour and boat ride. The tour was an hour but it moved quickly enou
Ralph164
Ralph164
00
55 years since last visit
I was last here as a kid with my parents. This visit was absolutely fantastic. Guide Hiria was truly amazing. Sho
Ashleigh R
Ashleigh R
00
Incredible experience
Climbing down into a cave isn't something that I thought I would ever do. I was slightly nervous but it was so wort
663jacquim
663jacquim
00
Exceeded expectations
NZ do this tour while there are no cruise ships etc. The guide was so knowledgeable March 1 at 1000. The glow worms
larissakal
larissakal
00
Awesome
Great, fun tour. Fun for everyone. Definitely recommend doing a combo tour and seeing other caves/doing other tours
ShiffyN1
ShiffyN1
00
Highly Accessible
We visited the cave with our 83-year-old dependent. The staff spotted that she needed help walking so provided us w
kimsK4322IS
kimsK4322IS
00
A boat trip with chris
We loved the 12pm tour with Chris. He was knowledgeable and entertaining which is always a bonus. There are over 10
Frequently Asked Questions about Waitomo Glowworm Caves Guided Tour

Waitomo Glowworm Caves Guided Tour price starts from £29.29. Discover and book Waitomo Glowworm Caves Guided Tour on Tripadvisor

Waitomo Glowworm Caves Guided Tour cancellation policy: For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience. Discover and book Waitomo Glowworm Caves Guided Tour on Tripadvisor

Waitomo Glowworm Caves Guided Tour is hosted by Waitomo Glowworm Caves. Read reviews, discover additonal experiences or contact Waitomo Glowworm Caves on Tripadvisor. Discover and book Waitomo Glowworm Caves Guided Tour on Tripadvisor

On average, this experience will take approximately 45m. Discover and book Waitomo Glowworm Caves Guided Tour on Tripadvisor