Auckland, New Zealand
Waitomo Glow-Worm Cave
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Approximately 9 hours
A three-hour motorcoach ride to the Waitomo Caves showcases the scenery south of Auckland. After driving through the thriving downtown area, you'll pass through the Bombay Hills and find yourself following the Waikato River into the rural countryside. The hallmark of the Waikato Region is lush green fields populated by grazing sheep. The town of Ngaruawahia is home of the Maori King, and the city of Hamilton is New Zealand's largest inland city. Your drive continues into Taupiri, known for a mountain sacred to the Maori people.
You're here to visit one of New Zealand's most popular attractions -- the famous Glow-Worm Cave at Waitomo. At the Waitomo Caves, you'll walk into a cave with soaring ceilings and low passages, where striking limestone formations include the famous Organ and the lofty chamber called the Cathedral. Stalagmites and stalactites abound, forming pillars and crooked fingers of calcite deposits that, in the low light, take on either beautiful or monstrous proportions. Deep within the cave, you will board a boat for a ride in complete silence along an underground river in pitch darkness. Look up and you will see the millions of bioluminescent glow-worms that stick to the roof of the cave. Because the worms extinguish their lights when disturbed, silence is mandatory; however, the sight is so awesome, you will be at quite a loss for words anyway.
Thirty minutes from the cave is Crosshills Farm. You will stop here to see a beautiful country garden and to enjoy a home-cooked lunch accompanied by splendid local wine. The typical kiwi hospitality is offered by your hosts, Debbie and Fraser Robertson, and matches the delicious food.
At the completion of your tour, relax and enjoy a panoramic motorcoach drive back to Auckland.
Travel time to Waitomo is approximately three hours each way. The Glow Worm Cave is not wheelchair accessible. There are approximately 200 steps located intermittently throughout the cave. Not advisable for guests using a wheelchair or for those with mobility limitations. Not suitable for guests who suffer from claustrophobia. This tour is available only to guests whose cruise does not begin or end in Auckland.