Ruakuri Caves & Bush Scenic Reserve, Waitomo Caves
(4.9/5 based on 200+ reviews on the web)
Explore the verdant forest and limestone walls of Ruakuri Caves & Bush Scenic Reserve, a place of strong spiritual and cultural significance to the Maori. Follow the Ruakuri walk, a looping trail that leads you through rocky outcroppings and flourishing forest. The highlight is the vast Ruakuri natural tunnel, into which the Waitomo stream flows--look up at the dangling stalactites hanging from the high ceiling, and down at the stalagmites reaching up from below. At night, see the cave walls lit up by thousands of glowworms, but keep a respectful distance as touching them will kill them. For more in-depth appreciation of the surroundings, opt for a guided tour, which takes you through Aranui and Ruakuri caves. The local ecosystem supports native birds such as kereru, tui, piwakawaka, and tauhou; kareareas (New Zealand falcons) are often seen and heard from the parking lot. While the walk is relatively easy, do bring a flashlight or headlamp to help you navigate steps inside the caves. Take a look at our Waitomo Caves itinerary maker to schedule your visit to Ruakuri Caves & Bush Scenic Reserve and learn about what else to see and do during your holiday.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • A the very, very nice flat one, if one is in Waitomo, most definitely should make. It's Gorge-covered rocks and a river over a suspension bridge and up in a kind of and you can find out more on exhibition panels about the origin of the caves around Waitomo and the flora there. Circular route takes about 45 min with some stairs. I was just there twice, once during the day and once at night, because at night you can see fireflies there before and after the suspension bridge. Be sure to take a flashlight, it is otherwise pitch black there.
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  • Waitomo’s Visitor Centre was promoting their own experiences at a huge cost. This is not as spectacular, granted, but FREE, done on your own terms, at your own pace and without a guide. And, if you wa...  more »
  • This is a nice fairly easy walk although there are several staircases so unsuitable for the physically challenged – took about 40 minutes (says 30 but allow 10 for photos) – I had a sketch map from th...  more »