Waitomo Caves & Countryside
Travel through the city's central business district and downtown commercial center before traveling along the southern motorway past the southern suburbs and over the Bombay Hills. Descend into the Waikato River Valley and follow the course of the river through the fertile farmlands of the region to the coal-mining town of Huntly. Continue south past Taupiri (a mountain that is sacred to the Maori people) to the town of Ngaruawahia, the seat of the Maori King. From here travel by way of the rural township of Pirongia to Waitomo. This is where you will venture underground for a guided walk through the world-famous Waitomo Glow-Worm Cave, passing striking limestone formations that include the famous Organ and the lofty chamber called the Cathedral. You will come to a jetty on a lake deep underground, and step into a non-motorized longboat for perhaps the most intriguing part of your adventure—a ride in complete silence on an underground river. Your destination is a cavern spangled with the radiant blue/green bioluminescent lights of millions of tiny glow-worms. The worms are very sensitive to sound, and will extinguish their lights if you speak. This eerie, captivating experience is one you will remember forever. Leaving the caves, you’ll travel to Kio Kio, where Crosshills is located. This is the lovely home of Fraser and Debbie Robertson, whose English-designed garden is a delight to visit. Walkways lure you to explore each area further. A delicious home-cooked lunch is served at Crosshills.
As parts of the caves at Waitomo are small and narrow, this tour is not suitable for guests who may be claustrophobic. There are approximately 200 steps located intermittently throughout the cave. Not advisable for guests using a wheelchair or for those with mobility limitations. Travel time to Waitomo is approximately three hours each way.