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.
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’.
James Holden first led tourists through in 1904.
North Island ▷ Waikato ▷ Waitomo
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!
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Beautiful, short walk to see some of the caves in the area. So neat to see waters power to carve and shape the landscape.
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Nice short walk through the bush and caves. Kids loved it.
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 😍