Our plan initially was to visit 2 attractions on Day 5, Otorohanga Kiwi House and Native Bird Park, and the Waitomo Caves on the same day, but woke up late and managed one attraction.
Driving one hour and 75 km with toilet stops to Waitomo caves where timing is controlled. We paid $75 for a visit to the Aranui caves and Waitomo glow worm caves. No option to just do one.
Aranui was named after the boy who discovered the cave while chasing a pig with his dogs.
The glow worms cave include a short boat ride and you get to see the glow worms on top of a cave which is magical. You walk about 15 mins after your designated time to visit more stalagmites. The wait is about 15 mins and you go into a cave which the guides steer a boat by pulling 2 ropes. The ride us quite short. About 15 mins or less and powered by the guides with about 10 people in a boat.
Unfortunately we don’t have photographs to show you. But this is to prevent the flash from scaring off the glow-worms. Or you can watch any Discovery Channel video of a cave or David Attenborough’s documentary. I can imagine in the early days when no one else visited, and the Maoris moved through in their boats and the sound of wind through the caves with the glow worm stars and dream of heaven – life would be surreal.
In NZ, you drive about 1 hr to each site and once there, you may want to visit the site because there’s nothing else nearby.
Personally I think that there’s very little to see at each site that unless it’s to show young children, or that stage of your life when you don’t mind driving far to see something in 10 mins.
Good coffee and burger to fill our stomachs as we were driving through Waitomo caves and then rushing to Hamilton Gardens before it closes.
The cafe closes at 5pm so food is served through the day. You can pick up chocolates and little essentials here or use to washroom.