Waitomo Walkway

Waitomo Walkway

Waitomo Walkway


29 Rankers Reviews

25 Face-to-Face

6 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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3.3 km one-way | 1 hour 15 minutes one-way

The walkway passes some interesting limestone formation such as dolines, karren, arches and tunnels. Farmland and forest are either side of the river. The track ends at Ruakuri Caves.


Start from Waitomo Domain opposite the caves museum (just before the glow-worm cave visitor centre). Go down the hill and the start of the track is signposted by the grove of native trees.


Shortly after entering the forest, a 600 m return detour climbs through farmland to Waitomo Lookout. This is the scenic highlight of the walk. With views of the old Tourist Department Hotel, surrounding farmland and broken karst landscape.

Back on the main track, cross the tunnel under the highway and bypass the hustle and bustle of the glow-worm entrance area.

The track now follows a tranche of native shrubs beside the stream, passing through Johnston and Garnet Reserves. At the stile, follow posts over farmland back to the stream edge.

The picnic area with toilets at the start of the Ruakuri Track is shortly after the swingbridge.

Return via the same track or arrange transport at both ends.

European History

The Waitomo Caves Hotel was originally developed in 1908 as the ‘Government Hostel at Waitomo’, designed by John Campbell. The Victorian architecture was modelled on a European Chalet, but later additions added to the eclectic styles with an Art Deco ‘concrete’ wing being added in 1928.

The hotel is a hotbed of paranormal activity, with a multitude of playful spirits adding to the entertainment.


Feature Value Info


DOC Waikato

Central government organisation


North IslandWaikatoWaitomo


  • Walking
  • Free


Showing 13 reviews of 28.

Flatlanders's avatar


Ranking: 10/10

Most beautiful walk that starts from the Waitomo entrance, or a little before at another carpark (Rankers-startpoint). This is LOTR territory, viewwise. I could see Hobbits, Elves and Orks in my imagination. The start is a bit difficult to follow, but just keep walking, you'll find it. It's totally worth it!
If you just want a loop-walk or a nightwalk with glowworms, drive to the Ruakuri Caves carpark. This walk ends there, but this walk is a one way, but walking it back and forth is no punishment. About 2 hours back and forth, add another 30 minutes for the Ruakuri add-on. Both spectaculair (see Ruakuri walk).

Reviewed over 3 years ago

Markus Wagner's avatar

Markus Wagner


Ranking: 9/10

Nice walk right after the cave. Rocks and colours, cool landscape, a lovely little river.

Reviewed almost 5 years ago and experienced in January 2017

Julia Achatz's avatar

Julia Achatz


Ranking: 8/10

Nice walk starting right at the glowworm caves entrance, diverse landscape even though it is only 1 hour (2km return).

Reviewed almost 5 years ago and experienced in January 2017

Eline-Jessica van der Hoeven's avatar

Eline-Jessica van der Hoeven

Ranking: 10/10

Free walk. Millions of glowworms. Well formed track. Go there just before it is completely dark otherwise it is hard to find the entrance. Real dark - great for shooting stars and the milky way too!

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in November 2016

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Eline's avatar



Ranking: 9/10

We have done the first part of the walk during the nighttime. We have seen a lot of glowworms. The next day we walked along a river and through caves. All for free and information boards along the walk and toilets and plenty of parking spaces.

Reviewed over 5 years ago and experienced in March 2016

Mark Rosema's avatar

Mark Rosema


Ranking: 9/10

Beautiful walk, very quiet and peaceful.

Reviewed almost 6 years ago and experienced in January 2016

Anna Fath's avatar

Anna Fath


Ranking: 7/10

A short day walk through fields to the Waitomo Caves. You can look into some parts of the caves and even see glowworms in some tunnels at night. Do not miss walking back at sunset and watch a great evening countryside.

Reviewed about 6 years ago

Dave Lamb's avatar

Dave Lamb


Ranking: 8/10

Nice little loop walk with some interesting caves to explore.

Reviewed about 6 years ago

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Fides's avatar



Ranking: 10/10

Took a nightwalk and saw thousands of glowworms and possums. You do not need to spend that much money in the caves to see glowworms.

Reviewed about 7 years ago

Simon Mehlmann's avatar

Simon Mehlmann


Ranking: 8/10

Other travellers recommended the walk to us. I think it could be signposted a bit more clearly since it looks like an 8 and you can take wrong turns easily. But there were great caves to climb in.

Reviewed over 7 years ago and experienced in March 2014

Andreas Garbin's avatar

Andreas Garbin


Ranking: 10/10

Exciting bush walk, perfectly maintained, great nature, good information, easy to find.

Reviewed over 9 years ago

Bodil Andersen's avatar

Bodil Andersen


Ranking: 9/10

Great short walk, lovely nature.

Reviewed over 9 years ago

Pietersen's avatar



Ranking: 8/10

Nice short track, about 30 minutes through caves and woods.

Reviewed over 9 years ago

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