Waitomo District, with its ancient caves, is one of New Zealand's oldest tourist regions. There are three stunning and well-developed cave systems available to explore. It's famous for its 'Black Water Rafting', the chance to tour underground in a rubber tube as an adventure activity. As is always the case, visiting commercial attractions comes at a price. While we highly recommend the Waitomo Caves as an attraction for all the family, no one has bottomless pockets. There are some fantastic low or no-cost activities available while you are in the area.
VroomVroomVroom not only provides cheap car rental, we can also help you out with low to zero costs options for you to choose from at Waitomo.
The Waitomo Caves Discovery Centre and i-site houses New Zealand's only speleological museum. Speleology is a flash word for the study of caving! For just a $5 entry fee you can get loads of information about the cave structures, and see historical displays, including a precious skeleton of New Zealand's extinct moa bird. They also have a theatre that plays a range of educational caving films.
Also call into the Waitomo Glowworm Caves Visitor Centre, even if you are not planning to take a tour. The building here is a modern rebuild after the original centre was destroyed by a fire. The new structure has won awards for its design.
Pick up your rental car from Hamilton, the closest depot, or start your tour from Auckland, which is a 2.5-hour drive away. Once you've checked out Waitomo Village, continue onto Te Anga Road to enjoy the 25 minute scenic drive and experience the true jewels of this journey. Park your hire car, and put on your walking shoes!
The Mangapohue Natural Bridge walk - A 20-minute loop that exhibits what remains of an ancient cave system, a 17-metre high limestone arch that spans the stream, with fascinating views of the icicle-like rock formations. If you continue walking for 15 minutes on through the farmland and follow the marker posts up and around the hill, you'll get to see 25-million-year-old oyster fossils cast in the limestone outcrops.