How long do Waitomo Cave tours last (Learn each tour’s length!)

How long do Waitomo Cave tours last? (Learn each tour’s length!)

If you’re considering visiting Waitomo Caves and joining a tour, you might wonder how long are Waitomo Cave tours. 

Waitomo Cave tours can last as long as one hour or up to five hours. The length of the Waitomo Cave tour you decide to take depends on which tour you take and factors such as the weather and group size. 

Want to learn more? Let’s dive into the different tours available at Waitomo Caves, factors that may impact tour length and tips for making the most of your experience.

What are different Waitomo Cave tours and how long does each one last? 

The Glowworm Cave Tour – 45 minutes

Recommended Tour Companies

Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Address: 39 Waitomo Village Road, Waitomo Caves 3977, New Zealand
Contact Info: +64 800 456 922

Cave World Waitomo 
Address: 23 Waitomo Village Road, Waitomo, New Zealand
Contact Info: +64 7 878 6577

On average, the Glowworm Cave Tour lasts about 45 minutes, but it can be longer if your group decides to take its time. Among other things, the tour takes you through the popular Waitomo Grotto, where you’ll be surrounded by thousands of glowworms on the walls. 

Another thing you can do on this tour is explore the limestone formations—whatever you do, though, don’t touch them! They’re really fragile.

The Aranui Cave Tour – 1 hour

Recommended Tour Company

Aranui Cave Tours — Discover Waitomo 
Address: 39 Waitomo Caves Road, Waitomo Caves 3977, New Zealand
Contact Info: +64 7 878 8228

The Aranui Cave Tour is definitely worth considering if you’re looking for a more hands-on, immersive experience in Waitomo Caves. It lasts for about one hour and is popular among those hoping to spot the cave weta, a type of cricket exclusive to New Zealand. 

You’ll go through the lush rainforest before descending into the mysterious depths of the cave. Within the cave, your tour guide may begin to point out an array of limestone formations—that’s what ours did!

The Ruakuri Cave Tour – 1 hour 30 minutes

Recommended Tour Companies 

Ruakuri Cave Tours 
Address: 204 Tumutumu Road, Waitomo Caves 3985, New Zealand
Contact Info: +64 7 878 6219

Waitomo Adventures
Address: 1227 Waitomo Valley Road, Waitomo Caves 3977, New Zealand
Contact Info: +64 7 878 7788

The Ruakuri Cave Tour is a must-do for nature enthusiasts visiting Waitomo Caves. It takes you through the ancient Maori site that has been remarkably preserved over centuries, limestone formations, and the iconic glowworm grotto.

Guides will share tales about the local legends and Maori customs related to this sacred site. You’ll also pass by several waterfalls that cascade down from steep cliffs into turquoise pools below. Be careful—we found the walk back quite slippery.

The Black Water Rafting Tour – 3 hours 

Recommended Tour Company 

The Legendary Black Water Rafting Co. 
Address: 584 State Highway 3, Waitomo Caves 3977, New Zealand
Contact Info: +64 800 228 464

Black water rafting is a unique and exhilarating experience. The tour includes a guided walk through the rainforest, a descent into the cave, and a rafting journey through the cave’s underground waterways.

One reason the tour takes 3 hours is that it begins with a safety briefing and a fitting of wetsuits and helmets. Pay attention because you might even have to make your way through a few waterfalls later—like we did.

What are some factors that affect the length of Waitomo Cave tours? 

Several factors can impact the length of your Waitomo Cave tour, including weather conditions, group size, and customization of tours. 

Weather Conditions

Heavy rain may mean that certain sections must be avoided for safety reasons. At the same time, strong winds and low temperatures can make it difficult for some people to spend extended periods in the caves, leading to shorter visits overall. 

On the off chance that it floods, some of the caves may be inaccessible. So, we recommend checking the forecast before booking your tour so you can plan accordingly. 

Group Size 

The size of your group affects the length of your Waitomo Cave tour, as larger groups may need to take longer breaks between activities to ensure everyone can keep up with the pace. 

So, the best way to avoid lags is to ensure that everyone in your party is physically fit and capable of participating in all activities if you want to maximize your time while exploring the caves.


You can customise your Waitomo Cave Tour, which can affect its length depending on what activities you choose to include. We recommend letting your guide know beforehand if you want additional activities so they can plan accordingly.