While Auckland and Rotorua have so many things to do and see, a rewarding sidetrip on the North Island is to Waitomo for glowworms and adventure. Waitomo is only two hours south of Auckland and two hours west of Roturua and can be a an extremely rewarding diversion heading to or from either.
More than 30 million years ago the Waitomo Caves began with the creation of limestone caves at the bottom of the ocean. Now the chambers of these ancient caves can be explored with their huge stalactites and stalagmites with gentle ease or soft adventure.
Add to this a ‘sky’ with millions of magical glowworms and you get something totally unforgettable. For a gentle experience you can glide silently in a boat in the Waitomo Caves with the glowworms twinkling above and they are also on show for those who like a bit of soft adventure.
One is Blackwater Rafting, which is not like traditional rafting – this is a subterranean journey, floating through a cave system in rubber inner tubes (with glowworms up above). Another is Lost World abseiling. On this one you abseil 100m slowly into the ‘Lost World’ with a guide. It takes around half an hour to get to the cave floor, then you explore the cave, flora, fossils (and glowworms!) before heading back up via a ladder and dry track cavern. This trip takes about four hours with two hours underground.