Waitomo
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Waitomo Caves Black Abyss Ultimate Caving Experience

1. Waitomo Caves Black Abyss Ultimate Caving Experience

The Black Abyss is the ultimate Waitomo adventure and is the caving tour of choice for natural born adrenaline junkies everywhere. Expert guides will help you descend into the black, seemingly bottomless depths of Ruakuri Cave, zipline through a gallery of illuminating glowworms, and climb underground waterfalls. Check-in for your black water adventure in Waitomo. Your guide will ensure you are properly equipped and offer some technical instruction before you descend into the underground network at Waitomo Caves. After abseiling training and practice with your guide, abseil 35-meters into the seemingly bottomless black depths of the glowworm-studded Ruakuri Cave. Your descent continues deeper with a flying fox zipline through a gallery of illuminating glowworms.  Prepare to be awed by the magnificent caves with stalactites and stalagmites that decorate the cavern walls as you traverse through the black water.  Enjoy adrenaline-fuelled fun as you clamber down, float through the canyon and scramble up waterfalls before resurfacing into daylight. At every stage, you're accompanied and supported by experienced caving guides from The Legendary Black Water Rafting Company who know and love this totally unique and mind-blowing environment. At the end of your exhilarating journey, enjoy a hot shower, hearty soup and bagel.  The rafting base is located a short distance outside Waitomo Caves village. This is the booking and assembly point for all black water rafting expeditions. It is also the home of the Long Black Cafe, where you'll find delicious food, great coffee and friendly Kiwi service. The Long Black Cafe is a great place to sit back, relax and enjoy the high energy atmosphere as excited visitors depart and arrive from their various expeditions. Internet access and merchandise are also available. 

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From Auckland: Hobbiton & Waitomo Caves Day Trip with Lunch

2. From Auckland: Hobbiton & Waitomo Caves Day Trip with Lunch

Join this tour to visit two of New Zealand's most iconic and famous attractions, the Hobbiton Movie Set and the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, in one easy small-group day trip from Auckland. After pickup from your central Auckland hotel, travel south over the Bombay Hills for panoramic views of the Waikato Region and the scenic Hauraki Plains. Arrive at The Shire's Rest in Matamata, the home of the Hobbiton Movie Set. Your guide will help you skip the crowds so you can explore the Movie Set on an official 2-hour tour. Be escorted through the 10-acre site and learn fascinating details of how the Hobbiton Movie Set was created. See Hobbit Holes, The Green Dragon Inn, and The Mill. Savor a complimentary specially-brewed beverage at The Green Dragon Inn.  Afterwards, travel to the mesmerizing Waitomo Glowworm Caves, where you'll enjoy a Kiwi-style lunch at The Homestead in Waitomo. On the way, share stories from Hobbiton and interact with your fellow travelers. Glide silently by boat in the world famous caves and be amazed by the thousands of magical glowworms. Your guide on the 45-minute tour will likely be a descendant of the Maori Chief who originally explored the Caves and can share with you the remarkable history of the area. Walk through the majestic Cathedral Cove, famous for its acoustics. The return trip takes you through some of New Zealand's most beautiful countryside before following the majestic Waikato River northwards part of the way back to Auckland. You will pass Taupiri with its very sacred Maori burial ground.  The day concludes with your return to your accommodation.

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Auckland: Hobbiton Movie Set and Waitomo Small Group Tour

3. Auckland: Hobbiton Movie Set and Waitomo Small Group Tour

The tour starts with pickup from Auckland city, where the adventure begins as you drive through the stunning Waikato countryside, the most extensive farming area in the world, on a fully guided journey to Hobbiton. Along the way, don’t forget to take advantage of the photo opportunities as you admire the stunning natural landscapes all around of beautiful mountains and farmlands. After the drive, arrive at Alexander Family Sheep Farm and Shire's Rest, the entrance to Hobbiton, and marvel at the thousands of sheep that live here. While you’re here, grab a bite to eat, a coffee, or enjoy an ice cream to cool off while your guide collects your tickets to the movie set. Next, hop on board one of the big green Hobbiton buses to depart on your two hour fully guided tour of this amazing 12-acre movie set with a professional Hobbiton guide to ensure you get the most out of your visit. During your tour trip into the lush pastures of the Shire, visit 44 hobbit holes, see amazing gardens, hear secrets and stories about the making of the movies and finish your LOTR experience with a cold beverage at the famous Hobbiton pub, The Green Dragon Inn. After your LOTR experience, it’s time to head west towards the stunning Waitomo region. Along the way admire the incredible hydro dams, beautiful farmland, race horses and the Kiwiana capital of New Zealand. Before arriving at the caves, stop by Waitomo homestead for lunch, and a little surprise too. Once in Waitomo, explore the ancient and amazing caves and marvel at the many cave formations including Stalactites, Stalagmites, and Lime Columns before descending even further underground for your Glowworm Grotto experience. Board your glow-worm boat for a cruise on the grotto river with thousands of glowworms sparkling above you. Unique to New Zealand for over 120 years, Waitomo Glowworm Caves are a must see for any traveler. On the guided trip back to Auckland the sights continue with New Zealand's longest river, Huntly power station and the Maori Queens’ burial site.

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Waitomo: Glowworm Cave 3-Hour Guided Eco-Tour

4. Waitomo: Glowworm Cave 3-Hour Guided Eco-Tour

Get off the beaten track on this intimate 3-hour tour through some of New Zealand's natural wonders. Start with a brief walk through native bush and the scenic Mangapu gorge.  Hike through beautiful native New Zealand forest, wade through freshwater streams, climb over boulders, and explore untouched limestone caves and spectacular rock formations. Enjoy the mesmerizing glowworm displays in privately owned caves that remain unspoiled by paths or electric lights.  Finish up your tour with a shower, a hot cup of coffee or tea, and some light refreshments. 

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From Auckland or Rotorua: Hobbiton and Cave Rafting Day Trip

5. From Auckland or Rotorua: Hobbiton and Cave Rafting Day Trip

Get picked up from your accommodation or an agreed-upon meeting point in Auckland or Rotorua and set off for Hobbiton. Upon arrival, you'll have some time to get something to eat or explore the Shires Rest souvenir shop before joining a two-hour walking tour of the Hobbiton Movie Set, which includes a complimentary drink at the Green Dragon Inn.  Transfer to the movie set on one of the tour operator's buses and hear about how this set was used for all filming of both "The Lord of the Rings" and the "The Hobbit" movies. After the tour, take 15 minutes to relax in the Green Dragon Inn before traveling to Waitomo Caves. Between the two stops, you'll have time to enjoy your picnic lunch. At Waitomo Caves, join a group of up to 12 people on the Black Labyrinth tour, which includes cave tubing and caving in the river that runs through the bottom of the Ruakuri Cave. After arriving at the cave, you will be given a briefing on the art of cave tubing before starting your rafting excursion. Float through a glow-worm grotto, jump over small waterfalls, and enjoy other adrenalin-filled experiences. The tour runs about three hours, 1.5 of which are underground.  Rejoin the main transport for the day and travel to your drop-off destination. On some occasions, the activities may be reversed. After you have completed the final activity, you will be taken to Auckland or Rotorua. You can start and finish in the same place, or choose to make this a one-way journey beginning or ending in Auckland or Rotorua.

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From Auckland: Two-Day Rotorua, Hobbiton, Waitomo Caves Tour

6. From Auckland: Two-Day Rotorua, Hobbiton, Waitomo Caves Tour

Enjoy this overnight all-inclusive tour from Auckland and experience the Central North Island's most iconic attractions at a leisurely pace.  Take guided tours of Hobbiton and Waitomo Caves. Discover the Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland and the thermal areas and geysers of Te Puia. Experience a Maori cultural evening with a meal and concert.  At the end of the two days, you will return to your hotel in Auckland or a different location in the central area, if specified. Most of the transport is supplied in Mercedes minibuses with luxury seating. Your driver guide will take the time to make sure you enjoy your time on the tour. The largest vehicle seats 15 passengers, but on most occasions your group will be 12 people or less.

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From Auckland: Hobbiton and Waitomo & Ruakari Caves Day Trip

7. From Auckland: Hobbiton and Waitomo & Ruakari Caves Day Trip

Get extra value by visiting both the Hobbiton Movie Set and the 2 caves at Waitomo in one day with this tour. Avoid the trap of standard tours that only visit 1 cave, and enjoy more time off your coach to explore and less time hanging around waiting for others. The order in which you do the two activities changes from day to day but the start time always remains the same and pickup from centrally located hotels in Auckland is always included. On days where Hobbiton is visited first, get picked up from your hotel then travel through the Waikato region, passing by cattle, dairy, and sheep farms along the way. Upon arrival at Hobbiton, have some time to get something to eat or explore the Shires Rest souvenir shop before joining Hobbiton Tours for a tour of the Hobbiton Movie Set. Be transported into the movie set by one of their buses, then go on a guided walking tour of the set, which was used for all filming in the Village of Hobbiton in both the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movie series. Enjoy a complimentary drink at the Green Dragon before boarding the coach to return to Auckland. Next, take some time to eat your provided picnic lunch between Hobbiton and Waitomo Caves. On arrival in Waitomo, take a 90-minute tour of Ruakuri Cave, the largest and deepest cave in the Waitomo Complex open to the public. After Ruakuri, you'll have a short break before joining a group tour of the world-renowned Waitomo Cave. Walk into the stunning cave and admire its complex underground formation. Exit on a small boat through the Glowworm Grotto and marvel at millions of glowworms. The tour concludes with a return to Auckland and drop-off at your hotel.

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From Auckland: Hobbiton, Rotorua & Waitomo Caves Day Trip

8. From Auckland: Hobbiton, Rotorua & Waitomo Caves Day Trip

Visit the Hobbiton Movie Set, Te Puia Maori Arts & Crafts Institute, and Waitomo Caves in one day on a fully-guided tour from Auckland. See three of North Island’s iconic sites in one attraction-filled day. Be ready and waiting at your hotel in time for your specified pickup time. Travel from Auckland to Hobbiton through Waikato. On arrival, you’ll be guided through the picturesque twelve-acre site and given fascinating details of how the movie set was created. The official tour concludes with a complimentary drink at the Green Dragon Inn. Climb back into the vehicle for the approximately 55-minute drive to Rotorua where you will spend around 1.5-hours.  Arrive at Te Puia Maori Arts & Crafts Institute where you’ll have lunch. Te Puia is home to the Pohutu geyser, mud pools, hot springs, silica formations, the Kiwi bird, and the national schools of wood carving, weaving, stone and bone carving. Then, drive to the world-renowned Waitomo Caves where you’ll enter the caves on foot and ride out in a small boat. Marvel at thousands of tiny glowworms radiating their unmistakable luminescent light as an expert guide provides informative commentary. Sample itinerary: 6:30-6:40 AM pickups from downtown Auckland hotels 9:00 AM Arrive Hobbiton Movie Set (time for a snack and visit souvenir shop) 9:30 AM Hobbiton Movie Set tour 11:15 AM Depart Green Dragon Inn to travel onto Rotorua 12:15 PM Arrive in Rotorua 12:30 PM Buffet-style lunch at Te Puia After lunch you have until 1:45 pm to explore Te Puia 1:45 PM Rejoin bus to travel to Watiomo Caves 3:15-4:00 PM Waitomo Caves tour Rejoin bus to travel to Auckland 7:15-8:00 PM Arrive Auckland (subject to traffic)

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From Auckland: Small-Group Hobbiton and Waitomo Day Tour

9. From Auckland: Small-Group Hobbiton and Waitomo Day Tour

After pickup from your inner city Auckland accommodation, travel south over the Bombay Hills to the rich farmland of the Waikato region. Your driver guide will provide commentary on the way to Hobbiton with insights into the areas you are travelling through, along with some background to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. On arrival at Shire’s Rest, embark on your Hobbiton movie set tour. This location is the largest “green set” in the world and the only part of the set remaining in New Zealand. See 44 hobbit holes, the Mill, the double arch bridge, and the party tree. At this stunning location you can take a photo at the gate to Bilbo’s house, “Bag End”, whilst looking out over the whole set to the hills in the distance. The tour ends with a visit to the Green Dragon Inn for a drink. Following your drink, you will be treated to a delicious lunch at the Shires Rest Cafe. There is time for shopping before your tour continues to Waitomo. On arrival in Waitomo, join a 45 minute guided tour of the incredible Waitomo Glow Worm Caves. Discover an ancient world 30 million years in the making. Enjoy the delicate cave formations and be wowed in the Cathedral, before taking the iconic boat ride through the glow worm grotto (subject to water levels). Marvel in silence at thousands of magical glow worms, which are unique to New Zealand, before exiting the cave. After your tour at Waitomo, return to Auckland. Enjoy an afternoon tea stop on the way, at your own expense.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Waitomo

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What people are saying about Waitomo

David was the best tour guide we could’ve asked for. He was very knowledgeable and gave us a lot of interesting historic facts as well as tips to get the best out of our Hobbiton tour. He took care of us so well throughout the day but also became our photographer knowing where the best photo spots were. We highly recommend this day tour as we enjoyed it immensely and would definitely do it again!

Amazing trio - great, knowledgeable and friendly guide, and two sites absolutely worth seeing! Would highly recommend.

The trip was a long day but both venues were interesting and places we wanted to tick off the bucket list

We Totally enjoyed the experience, would do it again in another cave.

Guide David was knowledgeable and shared many info with us