Hawaii Mom Blog: Visit New Zealand: Waitomo Glowworm Caves

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June 12, 2019

Visit New Zealand: Waitomo Glowworm Caves

The only time photos are allowed - at the end of the tour!
We visited the Waitomo Glowworm Caves after a Ruakuri Cave Tour.

For me, the Waitomo Glowworm Caves Tour was overall disappointing.

Unfortunately, despite an amazing few minutes in a boat ride to witness thousands upon thousands of "glowworms" in a completely dark cave, that was the only highlight for me.

From the moment we arrived, we were surrounded by hundreds of hundreds of people waiting for their tours.

Hundreds of people get herded through the Waitomo Glowworm Caves each hour. A single guide leads 30+ guests into the cave, and no one really pays attention to the guests, as there were numerous tourists grabbing onto the stalactites and touching parts of the cave, despite the tour guide saying it was not allowed.

We were rushed through various points throughout the cave, as the guide quickly went over stalagmites, stalactites, and glowworms.  Despite how the guide said that they truly treasure the cave and take preservation seriously, I personally think they would be better off limiting the amount of guests visiting at a time to indeed preserve the cave and its natural wonders.  Less people would mean less impact on the cave, and more time to truly explain the history of the cave and its formations.

You're not even allowed to take photos in the cave at all, probably because of the sheer amount of people who are in the cave at a time. The tour is 45 minutes long. Allowing and waiting for guests to take photos would probably add another 15-30 minutes on top of that. The only photo allowed was at the end of the tour.

I was disappointed in the visit, but if you are short on time and all you want to see are the glowworms at the end, you'll be satisfied, as it truly is a spectacle like no other.

I would highly recommend the Ruakuri Cave Tour instead, however. You won't see as many glowworms, but you do get to take photos, and the tours are much more intimate (it was just my family of 5 on our tour) and un-rushed.

Waitomo Glow Worm Caves
39 Waitomo Village Rd
Waitomo Caves, Otorohanga 3943, New Zealand
 +64 7-878 8228

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