Ruakuri Walk

Ruakuri Walk - Waitomo

Ruakuri Walk



3 Rankers Reviews

2 Face-to-Face

10 Waitomo

Your Nature Guide

Marios Gavalas's avatar

Marios Gavalas

Author And Researcher

Nau mai, haere mai

Nau mai, haere mai

I'm Marios, delivering the best of Aotearoa's nature walks to your device.

I've personally walked hundreds of New Zealand's tracks and spent months in libraries uncovering interesting information on New Zealand/Aotearoa. And you'll find a slice of that research on this page - enjoy!


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Limestone arches


1 km return | 45 minutes return

Step into another world. This is a labyrinth of vegetation encrusted limestone bluffs, sculptures and caves.


600 m past Waitomo Caves take the first left at the roundabout along Tumutumu Road. The caves are signposted on Ruakuri Road.

Carparks have picnic tables, toilets and information boards.


Maps are posted on the information boards at the entrance. Essentially there are two loops, which are well-signposted. It can be disorienting in the depths but there’s always a way out.

Extensive boardwalks, steps, bridges and platforms weave through the labyrinthine tunnels and clefts between limestone outcrops. The highlight is the viewing platform in the natural tunnel. Take a torch.


Caves such as this are formed like other limestone caves. The limestone here, as elsewhere, is the compacted remains of a reef system which once lay in shallow warm waters. Subsequent tectonic uplift has resurfaced the rock, which is mainly composed of calcareous matter, derived from the shellfish, fish and coral organisms. Limestone is susceptible to dissolving once water passing through it has an acid makeup, usually derived from absorption of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This percolating groundwater decomposes the limestone, creating fissures and cracks streams can later exploit to form cave systems.

Polynesian History

A member of Taane Tinorau’s war party is said to be the first discoverer of the cave. Whilst foraging and hunting he was attacked by a pack of kuri (wild dogs). He diverted their attention with carnivorous canapé and returned with reinforcements. The dogs were killed, their flesh eaten and their chief adorned with a dog skin cloak. ‘Rua’ means ‘two’.

European History

James Holden first led tourists through in 1904.


Feature Value Info


DOC Waikato

Central government organisation


North IslandWaikatoWaitomo


  • Walking
  • Free


Mike Fricker's avatar

Mike Fricker

United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

20Sept18. The walk from the caves entrance is not easy to follow. We did find the path to the lookout from the car park. That was good.
We asked a very kind gent and he suggested we drive west and turn left at the roundabout. A little way along that road you will find two car parks opposite each other. Turn right immediately after them and you will find the Ruakuri Caves entrance. Brilliant!

Reviewed almost 4 years ago

Thank You - to the thousands of travellers that have contributed to our Top Voted NZ Activities Map - it's free from Rankers.

Marka Okrutny's avatar

Marka Okrutny


Ranking: 7/10

Beautiful, short walk to see some of the caves in the area. So neat to see waters power to carve and shape the landscape.

Reviewed about 6 years ago and experienced in March 2016

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Sara Clausen's avatar

Sara Clausen


Ranking: 8/10

Nice short walk through the bush and caves. Kids loved it.

Reviewed about 8 years ago and experienced in February 2014

DOC Managed

Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍

Cymen Crick's avatar

Cymen Crick

Rankers Owner