Waitomo – The Waitomo Glowworm Caves (New Zealand)

Categories: Travel reports, Oceania, New Zealand

After 2 nights in Auckland we started our self-driving tour through New Zealand today. Our first stop was the Waitomo Fireflies Cave.


Our rental car for New Zealand

As in Australia, we booked the car online via DERTOUR, because the conditions were best here.

Since we want to travel to the North and South Island of New Zealand, we would have had to take the car on the ferry between Wellington and Picton. Of course, this would have been possible, but it would have cost another EUR 100. Most major car rental companies in New Zealand have rental stations right at the ferry terminals. As a rule, you then drop off your car in a port and get a new car on the other side. The huge advantage is that you save the cost of the car on the crossing! Motorhomes, on the other hand, are usually taken on board. After a rental car booking, you should not forget to arrange the car exchange in advance with the car rental company or in our case DerTour (day of crossing and tell times) so that a car is actually available. At Europcar we can drop off our car at the ferry in Wellington (North Island) and get a new car at the ferry station in Picton (South Island).
Car Rental, New Zealand, Travel Report

Our rental car for New Zealand

Our travel plans for New Zealand

After we had the car, we quickly picked up our luggage at the Hotel VR Auckland City and drove south on State Highway 1 (SH 1). We have divided our itinerary in New Zealand into 9 stages.

» Stage 1: from Auckland via Waitomo Cave Village to Rarotura (Geothermal Area)
» Stage 2: from Rarotura to Wai-O-Tapu & Orakei Korako to Turangi
» Stage 3: from Turangi to Tongariro Alpine Crossing to Wellington
» Stage 4: from Wellington by ferry to Picton
» Stage 5: from Picton to Kaiteriteri (Abel Tasman National Park)
» Stage 6: from Kaiteriteri to Punakaki (Pancake Rocks)
» Stage 7: from Punakaki to Franz Josef Glacier
» Stage 8: from Franz Josef Glacier to Milford Sounds
» Stage 9: from Milford Sounds to Queenstown

Route, New Zealand, North Island, South Island, On Your Own, Travelreport

Our itinerary for New Zealand

The Glowworm Caves of Waitomo

The first destination today was the Waitomo Caves, which became famous for their so-called Glowworms. The village of Waitomo Cave Village consists mainly of the various agencies that offer tours through the caves. For this reason, the 26-soul village receives half a million visitors a year. When we arrived around 11 o’clock, there was relatively little going on, so we still got tickets for the 12 o’clock tour. In the small shop you will also find many New Zealand souvenirs.

We decided on a Footwhistle Glow Worm Walking tour through a cave opened only five years ago, because you were allowed to take your own photos on this tour. On the other tours, where you sometimes sit on a boat in fifties, it is sometimes forbidden to take pictures. With a small van our guide drove us to the cave about 5 km away. A path through dense forest and a staircase finally led to the cave entrance.

At the entrance, our guide prepared us and our eyes for the darkness and little light so that we could see the fireflies well. On the way through the fireflies cave, only a few lamps were installed, which are fed by solar light. Already at the beginning of the cave, small blue dots gradually lit up on the ceiling, which looked like a small blue starry sky. These points are the so-called glowworms – not to be confused with the German fireflies or light beetles. Here, transparent worm-shaped larvae of the fungal mosquito hang on the cave ceiling, which let long sticky threads hang down. At the back of it is the bioluminescent luminous organ with which they attract other insects, which in turn become entangled in the threads and eaten by the fungal mosquito.

In the whole cave you have seen in many places dozens of these fireflies, which can only exist at very high humidity. Even if you are allowed to take pictures here yourself, it is almost impossible to capture the glow of the fireflies in complete darkness. This requires a fixed tripod and a long exposure. Therefore, at this point only a sample photo, as we could see it. At a small grotto there were many small stalactites and stalagmites to be seen. After 45 minutes, the tour ended with a cup of tea from the native ‘Kawakawa’ plant.

The Hobbiton Village

After that we got back in the car and went to Rotorua. On the way there is actually Hobbiton Village, the film set from Lord of the Rings. But after reading that a 1-hour tour costs over 50 euros, it wasn’t worth it to us. But of course it would have been nice to see the little “Hobbit Town” as here on the pictures.

Our Hotel in Rotorua

Around 7 p.m. we arrived at the hotel and are. We stayed one night at Accolade Lodge. Our room was nicely decorated and clean. The beds are very comfortable. Microwave and crockery are even available in the room. Wi-Fi was free and worked well. In the immediate vicinity are supermarkets, fast food shops and other shops. The breakfast was a bit mau (toast, cornflakes) in terms of choice, but served.

Hotel Rotorua, New Zealand, North Island, TravelReport

Our room at Accolade Motor Lodge

All travelogues from New Zealand

For 11 days we explored New Zealand from north to south by rental car on our own. We started our trip on the North Island in the city of Auckland, we experienced the tremendous underground forces in Wai-O-Tapu and Orakei Korako, we explored the capital Wellington, drove across the New Zealand Alps, did a glacier hike on the Fox Glacier, before we finished with a trip through the UNESCO World Heritage Site Milford Sound. New Zealand is a really beautiful country that we enjoyed incredibly.

Reiseberichte New Zealand » North Island: Auckland – Tourist Attractions, Things to Do & Photo spots (New Zealand)
» North Island: Waitomo – The Waitomo Glowworm Caves (New Zealand)
» North Island: Rotorua & The geothermal area Wai-O-Tapu (New Zealand)
» North Island: Orakei Korako – The geothermal region in Taupo (New Zealand)
» North Island: The Tongariro Alpine Crossing & the city of Wellington (New Zealand)
» North Island / South Island: Picton – The ferry from the North Island to the South Island (New Zealand)
» South Island: Abel Tasman National Park – Hiking & Boat tour (New Zealand)
» South Island: Pancake Rocks & the Sea Lions at Cape Foulwind (New Zealand)
» South Island: The Franz Josef Glacier in Westland National Park (New Zealand)
» South Island: Fox Glacier – Heli-Hike, Glacier Walk & Ice Climbing (New Zealand)
» South Island: New Zealand Alps – From Franz-Josef to Milford Sound (New Zealand)
» South Island: Milford Sound – A boat trip through the fjord (New Zealand)
» South Island: Road to Milford Sound & the town of Queenstown (New Zealand)