On a day trip to Waitomo Glowworm Caves from Tauranga, discover one of New Zealand’s most exceptional sights. Take a boat ride along underwater streams, and be astounded by the ceilings lit up by glowworms.
The Waitomo Glowworm Caves formed over millions of years, and have been a guided site since the 19th century. Be a part of this longstanding history and immerse yourself in the natural phenomenon.
Here's all you need to know about Waitomo Glowworm Caves, one of the most exciting day trips from Tauranga.
The Waitomo Glowworm Caves are located 145 kilometers southwest from Tauranga by road.
You can reach Waitomo Glowworm Caves by car from Tauranga. The journey takes just under two hours along State Highway 29.
For ease of travel, you can join a guided tour where all of your transportation needs are arranged by the tour operator.
You can meet your guide at a predetermined meeting place, or opt for a tour that includes pickup from your accommodation.
The Waitomo Glowworm Caves can be accessed on a guided tour at the following prices:
A day trip to Waitomo Glowworm Caves from Tauranga will typically begin with pickup from the Port of Tauranga, the airport or your accommodation.
From there, you will embark on the drive to the caves in a comfortable vehicle. Here, you will have the opportunity to explore the caves with a guide before going on a boat trip through glowworm grotto to view the incredible creatures.
Many day tours to Waitomo Glowworm caves also make a stop at Otorohanga Kiwi House located just a 15-minute drive away. Here, you’ll have the unique opportunity to see a kiwi bird!
With the entire trip lasting between 6 and 8 hours, you’ll return in time to hop back aboard your cruise ship or relax in your accommodation.
If you are short on time but still want to see the glowworms, you can take a trip to Lake McLaren from Tauranga, where you can embark on a nighttime kayaking tour.
Kayak down a canyon to see the glowworms after enjoying light refreshments by the lake. The entire excursion takes approximately 3 hours.
On a guided tour to Waitomo Glowworm Caves, you can expect to be picked up from and dropped off at a location of your choice.
Enjoy a small-group tour with live commentary on board from your guide. After exploring Waitomo Glowworm Caves and hopefully seeing some kiwis at Otorohanga Kiwi House, you’ll have a break for lunch before returning to Tauranga.
For a more personal experience, you can opt to join a private tour to Waitomo Glowworm Caves from Tauranga, with pickup and drop-off at a predetermined location.
In this tour limited to a small number of people, you can travel in comfort to the Waitomo Glowworm Caves and Otorohanga Kiwi House. Your driver will also make multiple stops along the way for photo opportunities.
A day trip to see the glowworms at Lake McLaren from Tauranga can cost about US$100 per person.
A guided small-group tour to Waitomo Glowworm Caves from Tauranga can cost between US$160 and US$170 per person.
A private tour to Waitomo Glowworm Caves from Tauranga can cost from US$700 for a group of 4.
The phenomenal Waitomo Glowworm Caves formed over 30 million years, and are home to a species of glowworm only found in New Zealand, making this one of the most unique excursions in the country.
Begin by exploring the formations of the upper caves and the Cathedral Cave, known for its incredible acoustics, before descending further underground to the streams for a boat trip down glowworm grotto.
During the tour you’ll learn about the biology of the worms and the geology of the caves, as well as its significant cultural history.
Some of the tour guides at Waitomo Glowworm Caves are descendants of the original explorer of the caves, and will share insight into Maori culture and the heritage of the area.
The Waitomo Glowworm Caves are open every day from 9 AM to 5 PM. Tours depart from 10 AM, with the last one leaving at 3:30 PM.
The best time to visit Waitomo Glowworm Caves is in the summer (November to April). This is when it’s warmest, although the caves retain an average temperature between 16 and 17 degrees Celsius year-round.
Yes, there are tours departing from other cities in New Zealand: