New Zealand -Waitomo Glowworm Caves

At a Glance:

  • Rating: 4 Stars, would do it again in a heartbeat
  • Duration: 3-4 hours
  • Cost: $75 
  • Location: Waitomo
  • Restrooms: Nature style, one port-a-potty out there too


  • Insanely beautiful and magical (unicorn status)
  • Not strenuous / physically demanding


  • Book in advance
  • Comfy walking shoes
  • Lightweight jacket (gets cold in the cave)
  • Fancy camera


There are quite a few glowworm and caving options in Waitomo, but I’m happy we chose Spellbound! First tours of the day start at 10am and the last depart at 3pm. Book ahead so you can plan your day accordingly and budget 3-4 hours for this activity.

We started out by meeting the group at the office, which is next to the visitor’s center in Waitomo. There were 7 others booked at the same time as us and we loaded into a van to drive out to the cave. Our guide was amazing – he was from the area and was an experienced caver. We learned quite a bit about caves on the ride out. 

The tour took us to two private caves. They suit you up with hard hats and head lamps and WOW is it dark and chilly in those caves! The first cave was a walking cave and it had both narrow passages as well as wide spacious caverns. We saw a handful of little glowing spots on the ceilings.

The second cave was unicorn level magic. With headlamps on we walked down into the cave and boarded a small raft. Once onboard we turned off all lights (even watches and cameras were banned). It was dark dark dark and once our eyes adjusted we could see all the lights above us. It was so peaceful as we floated down the river in silence and darkness. The illuminated  ceiling was mesmerizing and unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.

Note: it’s really hard to get photos in the pitch black! 

What are your thoughts?