Waitomo Caves

By Dakota Lum

Posted On October 2, 2018

We set out from Auckland and headed toward Waitomo to check out the famous Glowworm Caves. When we got there we decided to do a combo tour of the Waitomo and Aranui caves. We began with Waitomo.

Our tour guide, Marlin, walked us down several floors to enter the depths of the cave. He taught us about the science behind the cave such as the stalagmites and stalactites. In all honesty, I thought the initial entrance to the cave looked exactly like the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland. I would post a picture of the Waitomo cave for comparison but we weren’t allowed to take photos inside the cave. 

Once we got to the cathedral (the tallest room in the cave) Marlin sang a beautiful Maori song so we could hear the acoustics of the cave. He mentioned that they put on concerts here. Singers such as Katy Perry and Rod Stewart have performed here. 

From there we continued down further to see the glowworms. We split up into two groups and were guided onto a small boat. The tour company created a rope system to guide the boats through the caves. So as we sat and admired the glowworms Marlin was pulling us through to the exit of the cave. 

Now this part of the tour reminded me of Space Mountain (but slower), because all you can see are these lights that look like stars fully surrounding you. It makes you feel as though you’re stargazing in outer space. It was really cool. It could be romantic even, until you’re reminded that you’re staring at thousands of glowing larvae. That kind of ruins the mood.

We started to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and soon enough we were outside of the cave. Once you’re standing outside and looking back at it, you could never imagine something so amazing lies right inside that hole in the mountainside. 

From there we headed back up to the visitors center to grab some lunch before our second cave tour. Lunch was surprisingly good. They had a good selection and it was good quality. They also had alcohol for a fairly decent price. So we shared four glasses of wine because a bottle actually cost more, but the girl was nice enough to empty the entire bottle into our glasses anyway. 

We had to drive 2.5 km down the road to get to the Aranui cave. The tour guide didn’t talk much in this tour because it’s basically a repeat of the entrance to Waitomo. However, we were allowed to fully explore the cave and take pictures in this one, so we took advantage of that. 

Waitomo Caves was an excellent stop in New Zealand, I highly recommend taking a tour there if you can.