Free Attractions in Waitomo
Here are some great free attractions to do while you're in Waitomo Caves. If you're into nature and exploring these will be right up your alley.
Rurakuri Bush Walk
This bush walk is a beautiful loop track (30 minutes return) through limestone outcrops, caves, tunnels and native forest. The track descends into the Ruakuri Natural Tunnel - for sheer beauty and stunning glowworm displays take a torch and do an evening walk.
Location: Tumutumu Road (4km west of Waitomo Village)
Mangapohue Natural Bridge
The Mangapohue Natural Bridge walking trail on Te Anga Road west of Waitomo is a highlight on the scenic drive to Marokopa on the West Coast. A boardwalk through an impressive limestone gorge leads to the Natural Bridge, a spectacular 17 metre-high limestone arch spanning the Mangapohue Stream and all that remains of an ancient cave system.
A loop track (20 minutes return) passes under the bridge and continues over a farm trail. Look out for 25 million year old fossilised oysters exposed in the limestone outcrops. At night there are wonderful glowworm displays.
Location: Te Anga Road (25 km west of Waitomo Caves Village)
Piripiri Cave Walk
Perfect for families, this short 5 minute Waitomo walk takes in native bush surrounds and limestone outcrops before reaching the cave entrance.
A stair case then descends into the cave to a viewing platform where visitors can take in the sights of the large cave and the ecosystem within.
A torch is recommended for entering and exiting the cave, but the cave does photograph well.
Location: 29 km west of Waitomo on Te Anga Rd - 4 km on from Mangapohue Natural Bridge
Drive west from Waitomo Caves Village to the spectacular Marokopa Falls. A short walk through native forest from a car park on the Te Anga Road leads through lush forest to the 35-metre high falls cascading over a magnificent greywacke bluff. The Marokopa Falls (often described as some of the most beautiful in NZ) can be viewed from a platform at the end of a short track through nikau and tawa forest.
Location: Te Anga Road (35km west of Waitomo Caves Village)
Drive west from Waitomo for breathtaking views of Marokopa Village on the dramatic West Coast. There's wonderful fishing and swimming, panoramic views of the Marokopa River mouth south of the village and an old Maori pa site, Puketoa.
Location: 47km West of Waitomo on Marokopa/Mangatoa Roads
Stroll along the beach at Kiritehere south of the Kiritehere Stream to see sandstones containing fossilised clams, mussels and scallops. The rocks are unusually tilted in the same direction (evidence of seafloor movement following ancient earthquakes) and the surfing is a "best kept secret"!
Location: From Marokopa travel south along Mangatoa Road for approx. 3 kms until the intersection with Soundy Road. Turn right into Soundy Road and proceed 3.3 kms to the end of the road.
The above attractions are in order from Waitomo Caves Village to Marokopa. If you're hangin out to do some fishing at a black sand beach or just want to enjoy the beautiful beaches at Marokopa and Kiritehere, then these places will break up the trip on the windy road out there.
Travel Tip: Plan a day trip out to the beach and call in to the sites on the way out there. Leave the beach just before sunset and stop by the Mangapohue Natural Bridge on the way back to see some spectacular glow worms. If you haven't had enough glowworms stop back in at the Ruakuri bush walk and take the track to the left in for 2 minutes to see some more!
Or if you're after something a bit closer to the village, try this...
Opapaka Pa Walk
This walk takes you up through native forest to a fence line, with plant identification labels along the way.
Cross a stile onto farmland and then up a steep track to the pā site. Keep to the fence line and be mindful of stock that may be in the paddock. The farm track may be slippery if wet.
Location: Turn right into the Waitomo Adventure Centre car park, just a few hundred meters from Waitomo Caves Village.
Cycle Trails around Waitomo
Waitomo Access Track - Ngatapuwae and Te Raumauku tracks.
Waitomo Forest comprises of privately owned, local council, local iwi and public conservation land with no distinguishing boundaries except at the perimeter.
Brook Park - One of the most significant reserves within the district and provides a leisure reserve for resident and visitors as well as protects the community's heritage.
The Park is mostly of a moderate to steep slope, with some areas of gum and pine plantations and small pockets of native bush. There is a system of marked walking tracks allowing short easy walks, to moderately long and strenuous walks. Great for cycling.
For more information or transfers to these areas click here
If you're planning a day of adventure around waitomo and aren't sure what to take for lunch Roselands does a packed lunch perfect to take for a day on the trail. You can order just a lunch or lunch and snack. All dietary requirements can be catered for. Option to include bottled water as well.