Waitomo, North Island, New Zealand
The only place in the world to see caves with rivers, unique geological formations and glowworms is Waitomo Caves on New Zealand’s north island. A boat ride through the Glowworm Grotto, on the underground Waitomo River, is at the top of the list of things to do for visitors to Waitomo Caves. Arachnocampa luminosa, the glowworms, are on the walls and roof of the cave system and light up the area in a magical display.
The Waitomo Glowworm Caves guided tour takes forty-five minutes to complete and every half hour there is a tour to join. Ruakuri Cave is another popular part of the cave system, it is the longest cave tour, while Aranui Cave is also popular. The Waitomo Glowworm Caves Visitor Centre is an impressive architectural work that houses a gift shop, restaurant and theatre. Waitomo Caves is near the city of Hamilton, with Auckland around two hundred kilometres away.
For those who want more adventure, there are also tour companies who take visitors to other caves in the area for rafting and abseiling. A couple of hours east of Waitomo Caves is Rotorua, home of the famous boiling mud pools and other unique geothermal displays.