We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Alternatives to Waitomo Caves

Dhahran, Saudi...
Level Contributor
31 posts
2 reviews
Alternatives to Waitomo Caves

I have seen references to "other/better caves that are free" to see the Glow Worms than Waitomo. I will be driving from Aukland to Rourua for overnight and then exploring Tongario National Park before heading back to Aukland. Will also be going to Christchurch and Queenstown if there are any on the South Island.

Are these other caves safe for single travelers? Easy to find?

8 replies to this topic
Tauranga, New...
Level Contributor
1,778 posts
128 reviews
1. Re: Alternatives to Waitomo Caves

You won't find free caves that are better than the various caves where you are charged for entry or tours.

Nelson-Tasman...
Level Contributor
9,427 posts
484 reviews
2. Re: Alternatives to Waitomo Caves

There are numerous glowworm dells throughout nz. Not caves, but often under stream banks, hiking trails etc. Some such as hokitika dell are right beside the road and well known. Locals in each area generally know about the glow worms.

Ive been to waitomo and it is superb, but the very best glow worm dell i experienced was in marlborough sounds and is known by word of mouth and requires walking up a stream to the most incredible glow worms. However, caves are generally not free or accessible.

Christchurch, New...
Destination Expert
for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
Level Contributor
40,555 posts
450 reviews
3. Re: Alternatives to Waitomo Caves

The other major commercial cave system is located at Te Anau. It requires a boat trip across the lake to access it.

A popular cave that is free and accessible, but doesn't have glow-worms is located beside SH73 near Castle Hill in Canterbury and is known as Cave Stream. It is a "wet cave" & requires a change of clothes, torches etc.

Nelson-Tasman...
Level Contributor
9,427 posts
484 reviews
4. Re: Alternatives to Waitomo Caves

#3. I love cave stream. Done the walk through the 600m twice and i never saw glow worms. But perhaps I was too busy looking around and down to look up. Although it does flood so i guess glow worms could get washed away. In Nz where there is moisture, darkness and bugs you can generally find glow worms. Even a walk in the valley from our home there ae glow worms, but they are not accessible to the masses. So waitomo is your best bet,

Rarotonga, Cook...
Destination Expert
for Rarotonga, Waiheke Island, Southern Cook Islands, Auckland Central
Level Contributor
18,400 posts
130 reviews
5. Re: Alternatives to Waitomo Caves

Waipu caves has glow-worms and its free to enter, but you need to wear suitable boots and clothing (muddy) and carry a torch or headlamp.

Still this is one possibility. Waipu is about 1.5 hours from Auckland CBD, on the way to Whangarei. Detour inland from Waipu township or a little north at Uretiti.

The Waikato River has glow-worms along the river banks between Hamilton and Cambridge. But you would need to take a boat ride or kayak tour at night to view them.

Edited: 23 July 2018, 03:12
Oz
Level Contributor
15,261 posts
50 reviews
6. Re: Alternatives to Waitomo Caves

Hi,

There are lots of "wild Caves" in NZ but unless you are a member of your local speleologial society with reciprocity in NZ you are out of luck.

We didn't see any glow worms at Cave Stream last year and you do need to be properly equipped and give it a miss if it's immediately after or during rain unless you wish to emulate a Thai soccer team.

Cheers,

California
Level Contributor
11,419 posts
73 reviews
7. Re: Alternatives to Waitomo Caves

You can see if Okupata Caves are accessible when you are at Tongariro. Please realize that any "wild caving" experience is clamoring over large rocks, usually wading in streams, and require headlamps.

Dhahran, Saudi...
Level Contributor
31 posts
2 reviews
8. Re: Alternatives to Waitomo Caves

Sounds like it is best to go ahead and do Waitomo to be sure to see the worms. I will bring some "exploring clothes" and see if I can find some on my own after that. Thanks for the helpful insights!

Reply to: Alternatives to Waitomo Caves
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted