Auckland’s renowned Ruakuri Caves, a true geological phenomenon, a subterranean labyrinth with winding passageways, vast echoing caverns, and deep crevices.
Travel through rural countryside, lush green fields and pass Ngaruawahia, home of the Mâori King, and Taupiri, a mountain sacred to the Mâori people. Meet your guide at the Waitomo Caves Visitor Centre. The caves are art of a unique karst limestone landscape formed under the sea from the solid remains of millions of marine creatures around 30 million years ago.
A place of strong spiritual and cultural significance, according to Mâori beliefs, the Ruakuri Caves are the underground realm of Papatunanuku, the Earth Mother, and touching the limestone’s cool surface makes a symbolic connection with the divine world below. The site was so sacred that the Mâori used the cave’s original entry portal as an ‘urupa’, a burial site.
Follow your guide down an amazing 15-metre spiral staircase and along the 6.4km underworld tunnel. Inch your way through narrow corridors, across low-lit walkways and marvel at the dynamic natural formations such as ‘The Drum Passage’, an area of crystalline shapes, cave coral and breathtaking columns, and ‘The Pretties’, a miniature gallery of flowstone and stalactites.
See the glimmering glow-worms, unique to New Zealand, these tiny creatures radiate a fluorescent blue-green glow that illuminates the caves and underground streams the glow-worms call home.
Please wear comfortable, flat-sturdy, non-slip walking shoes, clothing suited to the weather conditions, a light jacket and bring bottled water
A portion of the proceeds is made to the Department of Conservation for the care and protection of the environment and wildlife