Rawhiti Cave route

Rawhiti Cave route



27 Rankers Reviews

24 Face-to-Face

12 Caving

Online Maps

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Time: 2 hr return

Rawhiti Cave is a decent walk up a steep gully. But the effort is worth it. This cave is different to others as it receives winter sun. So the the stalactites at the cave entrance and within the cave itself contain plant matter that are attracted to the light ( Phytokarst features ). So these stalactites actually grow towards the light instead of straight down.

Although guided tours came here around 100 years ago, these have long since stopped, so it's become very unspoilt and not too touristy.

The walk to the cave involves 25 minutes alongside a dry riverbed, then a good 20-30 minute crank up a steep hillside. The track is well marked, but the rocks can get very slippery after rain. So it's certainly something for those with a sense of adventure.


Feature Value Info


DOC Nelson/Tasman

Central government organisation


South IslandNelson RegionGolden Bay


  • Caving
  • Walking
  • Free


Showing 13 reviews of 27.

shab's avatar


Ranking: 4/10

Went to caves with kids but never recommend to take kids due to slippery and rocky track. Very hard to climb up and coming down is more challenging. Its very dangerous to go with kids and never recommended to take risk with children. No one can help if someone slips..

Reviewed over 2 years ago

Geart-Jan Benedictus's avatar

Geart-Jan Benedictus

Ranking: 10/10

This cave is absolutely stunning! We never expected it to be this big and overwhelming. The walk is pretty short but might be harder during wet days. We did it during a draught so it was very doable, it took us around 30 min to get there. Some parts were a little steep but definitely not too hard if you're moderately fit. Probably one of the best (free) caves we've seen in our life, don't miss this!

Reviewed over 4 years ago

Alice and Emily Dee's avatar

Alice and Emily Dee

New Zealand

Ranking: 9/10

Nearly did not see this place - very glad we did! The caves huge entrance allows sunlight to the very back wall, this means the stalagmites grow unlike most others, towards the light. Well worth the climb!

Reviewed over 4 years ago

Kate and Dom's avatar

Kate and Dom

United Kingdom

Ranking: 8/10

A challenging walk up a very steep narrow path which is quite slippery in some parts. The climb is worth the effort though for the great scenery on the way up and the huge cave at the top!

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in February 2017

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Magdalena's avatar



Ranking: 9/10

The climb is quite hard but the cave is so worth it! The entrance to the caves is quite wet and slippery! Be careful. It is nothing if not adventurous getting up there. Someone gave us a top to go early, the sun really embraces the stalactites!

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in December 2016

Louisa Theimann's avatar

Louisa Theimann


Ranking: 8/10

The caves are unique to New Zealand, they are very old and open, so that the stalactites can grow towards the sun. The view is absolutely breathtaking, you feel so small when you stand under all these stones and rocks. Just the way up to these caves, it is very hard and steep most of the time. I needed a few breaks during the walk and it took me about 45 minutes to get there. Anyway, you get a fantastic experience!

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in December 2016

Brent Johnson's avatar

Brent Johnson

United States

Ranking: 9/10

Magnificent cabe with stalactites from the underworld! Difficult scramble up to the cave entrance and could prove treacherous in heavy rain, BUT TOTALLY WORTH IT!! Epic spikes!!!

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in October 2016

Danny's avatar



Ranking: 10/10

Nice 40 minute walk along a river and through native bush up to a spectacular cave. Good shoes recommended, especially if carrying a baby as sometimes quite steep and muddy.

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in November 2016

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Sean's avatar


United States

Ranking: 10/10

Awesome!! There was a sheep on the ledge above the cave!!

Reviewed over 5 years ago and experienced in November 2016

Kayla's avatar


United States

Ranking: 10/10

Beautiful! Awe inspiring!

Reviewed over 5 years ago and experienced in November 2016

Anika Danits's avatar

Anika Danits


Ranking: 9/10

It is very difficult. The way is just up and it is slippery but when you are there you get your surprise. The best cave I have ever seen in my life.

Reviewed almost 6 years ago and experienced in March 2016

Tom Teuber's avatar

Tom Teuber


Ranking: 8/10

Very exhausting walk. 1 hour return and 30 minutes photo stop at the cave. The walk was slipper. There was a lot of rain in the days before.

Reviewed almost 6 years ago and experienced in March 2016

Sven and Annie's avatar

Sven and Annie


Ranking: 10/10

Very special cave if you are up for a steep walk. The walk took us 1 hour but I guess we walked fast. Definitely a must do if you are in the area.

Reviewed almost 6 years ago and experienced in January 2016

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