Tauranga (Rotorua), New Zealand
Waitomo Caves & Kiwi House
Information not currently available.
Approximately 8½ hours
Visit one of New Zealand's most popular attractions -- the famous Glow-Worm Cave at Waitomo.
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 abound, forming pillars and crooked fingers of calcite deposits that, in the low light, take on either beautiful or monstrous proportions. and stalactites abound, forming pillars and crooked fingers of calcite deposits that, in the low light, take on either beautiful or monstrous proportions.
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.
Head to Crosshills, the location of a beautiful country garden, for lunch.
At the Otorohanga Kiwi House, observe New Zealand's most famous avian wildlife -- the kiwi. This endemic bird is large, flightless and mostly blind, and is an adorable national symbol of this equally unique country. The Otorohanga Kiwi House is a specially constructed observatory that simulates the nocturnal bush habitat of the kiwi.
Return to Tauranga across the Waikato Lowlands and the Kaimai Ranges.
Travel time to Waitomo is approximately two hours each way. Parts of the caves at Waitomo are small and narrow; not suitable for guests who are claustrophobic. There are approximately 200 steps located intermittently throughout the cave. Not advisable for guests using a wheelchair or for those with back conditions.