Results 1-2of 2 Reviews
March 23, 2003
Located a bit out of town you have several choices on transportation. You can walk here along the scenic Waitomo Walkway beginning at the Visitor Information Center which will take about an hour and a half, drive here from Waitomo Village in 15 minutes, or do like we did and ask for a ride when you make your booking at the Information Center. We purchased our tickets there and walked 10 minutes to the Glowworm Cave where our Maori guide picked us up in a van and drove another 10 minutes to Aranui.
The cave was discovered in 1910 by Ruruka Aranui, a young Maori man who was chasing a wild pig across pastures and into the forest. It has been owned and operated by Maori ever since.
Our guide led us inside the locked entrance into a wide chamber. Stalactites hung from the ceiling just inches away from our heads. A metal webbing protected them from further destruction from careless tourists eager to grab a piece as a souvenir. Our guide explained how each limestone feature took hundreds of years to form from dripping carbonate-rich water.
Huge cave crickets were the only living thing we saw on the walls. At least this was an appropriate place for them to be, unlike a cave cricket infested cabin I stayed at in Tennessee.
We entered the Cathedral Chamber 20 meters high where the stalactites hang 6 meters and the stalagmites are 3 meters tall. I especially liked the shawls, which were large convoluted formations that looked like angel wings. Different chambers had names such as Fairy Walk, Aladdin's Cave, Temple of Peace and Eastern Scene where miniature limestone buddas stood together.
Since the cave tour is relatively short, I would highly recommend one of NZ's most scenic walks accessed right from the carpark. Look for the sign pointing to the Ruakuri Natural Bridge and follow this trail. It's a 45 minute loop on fairly flat ground, although there are quite a few stairs on the paved loop. You'll be rewarded with beautiful forest views of interesting trees, flax, ferns, a gurgling stream and waterfalls surrounded by moss-covered rocks and a swing bridge.
Fifteen minutes into the forest you'll come to a paved loop where you will see lots of limestone formations including boulders, caves, tunnels and secret passageways. One such hole in the huge limestone rock has steps that lead to a waterfall and the Natural Bridge. And at night you can see glowworms hanging from the surface of limestone platforms and caves near the water.
Admission for the cave is $25NZ (14.50US) but the Ruakuri Natural Bridge walk is free. So, do both!
From journal A Caving We Will Go...in Wild Waitomo
Williams Lake, British Columbia
October 13, 2002
You start by walking up a path through dense forest to the cave opening. The cave was apparently found and named after a native Maori who discovered the cave while chasing after his dog who followed a rabbit into the caves. These caves have artificial lights which are turned on in each section of the caves as you visit and then turned off when you leave that section. The caves have stalactites and stalagmites and offer several spectacular natural formations. Photography is allowed.
The guide leads you through each section and suggests photo ops and a few sites which you may otherwise overlook. The inside tour takes about 20 minutes to half an hour.
From journal Daytrip to Waitomo Caves