(Y1 Students and Up)
- The Ruakuri Reserve is 3 kilometres from the Waitomo Caves Discovery Centre and is signposted off Tumutumu Road. Click here for a map to the Reserve. A well-constructed track in picturesque rainforest takes you to the Ruakuri Natural Tunnel while passing through a collapsed cave system and karst landscape. Click here for a map of the walkway or here for a walkway worksheet. Bring a torch to see cave weta at the underground platform during the day. Or come back at night to see forest glowworms. Allow about 45 minutes. There are picnic tables, gas BBQ’s ($1 coin required for 20 minutes), a small shelter and toilets at the start of the walk. Click here for the Ruakuri Walkway RAMS.
(Y5 and up)
- This easy grade, 5 kilometre walk starts from the Waitomo Village. The walk follows the Waitomo stream over open farmland and through bush with some short steep sections. Click here for a map of the walkway. Follow marker posts and use stiles where provided. See karren (solution sculptured limestone rocks), dolines (limestone depressions) and kahikatea before arriving at the Ruakuri walkway. Allow 3 hours return. Picnic tables and toilets at start of walk. Click here for Waitomo Walkway RAMS
Dundle Hill Walk
(Y9 and up) $75 per adult, $50 for secondary students, $35 for 12 years and under.
- A two day walk (27 km) through lush native bush, unique limestone formations, caves, forestry and farmland. Overnight accommodation is provided at the Kay’s Cabin (click here for the Kays cabin RAMS), situated halfway on the walk with generous accommodation for 32 people. An ideal opportunity to study the ‘Living World’ and an excellent example of conservation and management of a water catchment area.
Click here for the Dundle Hill Walk RAMS.
Mahoenui Giant Weta Reserve
(Y3 and up) $3 per student.
- Situated 53 kilometres South-West of Te Kuiti off Highway 3, this Scientific Reserve is the last known habitat of the Mahoenui Giant Weta . The weta are able to survive here because they find sanctuary in gorse bushes. Browsing by wild goats keeps the spiny gorse bushes closely cropped and prevents access by predators. This is the only reserve in New Zealand where gorse and goats are protected for the benefit of a native species. Access to the Reserve is via a 1 km walk up a big hill over private farm land and is strictly controlled. The Mahoenui Giant Weta only live for a year after hatching, and are at their largest in late Summer and early Autumn of each year. For a trip to the Reserve contact The Waitomo Education Service. The Reserve has no water, no toilets, no rubbish bins, and no smoking is allowed. Click here for the Mahoenui Weta Reserve RAMS.
(Y3 and up)
- This short uphill walk through forest and farmland starts in the Waitomo Adventures carpark, about 1 km east of Waitomo Village. The palisades and whare of the pa are long since gone, but evidence of kumera pits and fortification ditches still remain. The Opapaka pa was occupied by the Ngati Hia in the 1700’s. Legend is told that Ngati Taane Tinorau came to Waitomo to fight Ngati Hia. One of Taane Tinorau’s warriors was collecting food in the forest when kuri (dogs) emerged from a cave and chased him. The warrior escaped but returned later with other warriors to kill the kuri. The cave became known as Ruakuri Cave. After the battle between Ngati Hia and Ngati Taane Tinorau the dog skins were presented to Ngati Hia and peace was restored.
“A Trip to the Coast”
Allow most of the day (Coast Trip RAMS)
- Kiritehere Beach is 53 kilometres west of Waitomo. At the southern end of the beach, thousands of 200 million year old fossils are clearly visible in the folded and faulted greywacke rocks and boulders. The beach is best visited around low tide, and don’t forget your hat and sunscreen. On your way down to the coast, or on your way back, be sure to stop at Mangapohue Natural Bridge, Piripiri Cave, and Marokopa Falls. Here is a bit more detail about each of these sites (Trip to the coast). Please remember that there is no petrol station in Waitomo and once you pass through either Otorohanga or Te Kuiti and head towards the coast there are no more petrol stations for about 140 kilometres.
Mangapohue Natural Bridge
(Y1 and up)
- Situated 26 kilometres from Waitomo on the Waitomo Caves – Te Anga Road. The track follows Mangapohue stream to a double limestone arch, formerly part of a large cave system. See phototrophic stalactites (growing towards light) before descending to farmland where there are giant oyster fossils in limestone outcrops and karren in the swamp. Allow 30 minutes return. Picnic table and toilet at start of walk.
(Y1 and up)
- Situated 30 kilometres from Waitomo on the Waitomo Caves – Te Anga Road. The Department of Conservation has now built stairs and a viewing platform into this cave. It is still self guided, so bring a torch to view inside the cave. A short walk through forest and karren leads to the cave. Allow 20 minutes return. Picnic table at start of walk.
(Y1 and up)
- Situated 31 kilometres from Waitomo on the Waitomo Caves – Te Anga Road. Follow a track through the forest to the base of the falls. Allow 30 minutes return.