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Waitomo Caves

Spot the glow worms

Waitomo caves

Lots of options these days to explore the Waitomo Caves and see the glow worms. As well as the standard tours through the intriguing and intricate cave system, there are twin and triple-cave combos and you can go black-water rafting.

Arachnocampa luminosa is commonly known as the glow worm, a species of fungus gnat endemic to New Zealand that glows when in the larval stage in an effort to attract prey that then get caught in its sticky strings (see image), hauled in and consumed.

There are thousands of these tiny lights on the roof of the Waitomo Caves - also at the Te Anau Glow Worm Caves in the South Island. Its Māori name is titiwai, meaning "projected over water".

The Caves can get quite crowded at busy times. There are walking sections and parts where you are in a small boat. Wear sturdy footwear.

Waitomo is 15km southwest of Otorohanga, 190km south of Auckland.

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Waitomo Glow Worm Caves

Adventure for Kids

Attractions for Kids

Waikato & Coromandel

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Text © Craig McLachlan

Image by Flying Kiwi Tours