New Zealand trips & itineraries

Waitomo Glowworm Caves | New Zealand |

Waitomo Glowworm Caves

Before continuing our journey South from Rotorua, we had one more thing to see – the glowworm caves. It was on my list but I was doubting the choice – we’ve seen the glowworm cave near Brisbane, do we really want to do this again?

If you happen to have similar thoughts in your head, stop right now. The answer is yes, you want to see this one. It’s a natural cave (not man-made stuff like the one in Queensland), it’s really big and it’s fun.

This post is part of our New Zealand adventures series:

  1. Northland
  2. Driving South – Kerikeri to Rotorua
  3. Rotorua
  4. Hobbiton
  5. Waitomo Glowworm Caves
  6. River Birches, our stay near Taupo
  7. 2 days in Wellington + drive from Turangi
  8. One day in Christchurch
  9. Mt Cook adventures

We also had a great guide on the day of our visit. We walked around in a small group, learned about the history and geology of the place and then had a boat tour in complete darkness with thousands of glowworms glowing over our heads. Amazing view!

Note: Photography is strictly forbidden, even non-flash. Bring warm clothes, it’s much colder in the caves. Keep quiet and listen to your guide, they have many interesting stories to share. If you can sing prepare a song to sing in the cave (our group managed only some Aussie chants and the guide had to sing for us).

Tickets: adult $48, children (4-14) $21. For more details and bookings go to


The way South

Our next stop – on the South side of the Lake Taupo, was about 170km/2 hours away if we were driving the shortest way. But our GPS decided for us it will show us some less popular routes. As a result, we were driving between green hills on a road full of lichens that looked like it’s used very very rarely… (we didn’t see any other car there and even the cows looked at us surprised to see someone).

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Coffee stop (see the map below for the exact location)

The first 30 minutes or so of the drive from Rotorua to Waitomo was the same as the one we did a day before to Hobbiton. We noticed then a small cafe there and decided to visit it the next day. It welcomed us with cozy sofas near the fireplace (which was great, we felt very cold that morning). So instead of a quick take away, we stayed there and enjoyed the warmth.

Coffee (NZ$7.8 for two flat whites) was not too good, but the very friendly lady that served it to us and the fireplace made the experience worth mentioning.

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Lunch (see the map below for the exact location)

Right next to the Waitomo Caves ticket booth is a shop with souvenirs and a cafe. Thinking it’s a very touristy and slightly overpriced place, we decided to head back to the main road and find something else. Bosco Cafe caught our attention.

2 coffees, chicken burger and pasta of the day later we were very happy with our choice. Coffee was great, food flavoursome and really well done (we paid NZ$37.80). On top of that, the place itself looked friendly and they also offer a free WiFi (you need to ask for the passcode).

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Well fed and caffeinated we continued our way South, straight into very dark skies – so close to Mordor now…


The Map

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