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Footwhistle Glowworm Cave

Waitomo Caves, New Zealand
Footwhistle Glowworm Cave

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Up to 24 hours in advance. Learn more
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icon1 hour 15 minutes  (Approx.)
iconOffered in: English


Take a CaveWorld tour of Footwhistle Glowworm Cave, part of an extensive cave system in Waitomo. An informative guide leads your small group past stalactites and stalagmites to a candlelit cavern glowing with the tiny lights of glowworms. See the stunning rock formations of Te Anaroa Cathedral and view the bones of an ancient moa during your tour of this subterranean marvel. Numbers are limited to 11 people to ensure personalized attention from your guide.
  • Tour of the Footwhistle glowworm caves at Waitomo
  • Take a short walk through New Zealand bushland and see native birds, ferns and waterfalls
  • Gawk at glowworms, ancient Moa bird bones, stalactites and stalagmites in a majestic underground chamber
  • Learn from your knowledgeable guide about the cave’s history, glowworms and other insect life
  • See the famous Footwhistle flowstone formation, which looks like a frozen waterfall!
  • Small-group tour provides an intimate and personalized experience with your guide
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Air-conditioned vehicle
Local guide
Coffee and/or Tea
Hotel pickup and drop-off

Departure Point

23 Waitomo Village Road, Waitomo Caves 3977, New Zealand

Our meeting point is at the Loading Zone in the Waitomo Caves Village. Next to the Waitomo Caves I-Site The best way to find us is to use google maps and type in Caveworld, Waitomo

Return Details

Returns to original departure point
Make your way to the CaveWorld office in Waitomo for a 5-minute shuttle ride to Footwhistle Glowworm Cave. Next, follow your guide on a short bush walk past lush ferns and a waterfall cascading into a nearby stream. As you enter the dim, candle-lit cavern, your guide details the history of Footwhistle, known to the Maori as Te Anaroa. 

Look up at a starry glow emitted by tiny glowworms before continuing into a side passage where you’ll marvel at the bones of a now-extinct moa — a flightless bird that inhabited New Zealand centuries ago. Creeping through the otherworldly terrain of the Footwhistle cave system, you’ll pass by dripping stalactite and stalagmite formations and a subterranean stream.

Take a seat in the largest chamber and watch as your guide demonstrates how the first cave tours were conducted more than 100 years ago. Be mesmerized by the brief flare of a magnesium torch that flashes on rock sculptures and the dome-shaped ceiling before fading back into darkness. 

After you make your way back to the cave entrance, your 1-hour tour ends with the return shuttle ride to the CaveWorld office.
Stop At:  
Footwhistle Glowworm Cave
Meet your guide and small group at the CaveWorld office, then hop in a shuttle for a 5-minute ride to the cave. Disembark and follow your guide on a short walk through New Zealand’s lush forest where you can glimpse native birds, ferns and a large waterfall that feeds a stream that runs into the cave. Pause at the entrance while your eyes adjust to the dim light and listen as your guide shares the history of Footwhistle cave, known to local Maori as Te Anaroa cave. Once you’re ready, enter the candle-lit cavern. Marvel at the soft pinpoints of light that come from the glowworms surrounding you. Your guide can help you get great photos in the dim cavern. Continue further into the cave on a side passage where you will see ancient bones from a moa, a large emu-like bird that went extinct about 600 years ago. As you slowly walk through the cave system, note its otherworldly setting of sparkly stalactite and stalagmite formations, twinkling bugs, and a bubbling stream that runs through the cave. When you reach the largest cavern, take a seat as your guide demonstrates how the first cave tours were conducted more than 100 years ago. Your guide lights a magnesium torch that flares brightly for a moment, revealing sculptural rock formations and a dome-shaped ceiling. As the torch fades, your guide turns on the lights and gives you time to look around the magnificent space. Make your way back to the cave entrance after about 30 minutes and return by shuttle to the office where your tour ends.
Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes
Admission Ticket Included
  • Confirmation will be received within 48 hours of booking, subject to availability
  • Walking Shoes
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Near public transportation
  • Warm clothing
  • Camera or Video
  • NO infants 0-4 years old permitted on tour
  • Travelers should have a moderate physical fitness level
  • Not reccommended for those who with hip or knee problems
  • This is a private tour/activity. Only your group will participate
  • OPERATED BY Cave World Waitomo
You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.
  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
  • This experience requires a minimum number of travelers. If it’s canceled because the minimum isn’t met, you’ll be offered a different date/experience or a full refund.

Learn more about cancellations.

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43 Reviews
3 stars
1 star

Reviews by Viator travelers

Showing 1-10 of 43 reviews
Personal aspects made this tour very special
, Jan 2021
From pick up to the end of this wonderful experience we felt lucky for booking this tour at Waitomo. Kyle has so much knowledge of the area & the caves; we were amazed at the history & the work the family has done to set up this tour. The tea room was delightful. We have so many excellent photos to remember & share.
Positively worth a visit
, Mar 2020
This little tour is a family business, steeped in history regarding the caves. The guide was friendly and knowledgable and chatty. The inside of the caves involves a walk and the overall feel is intimate and welcoming. The little tea room at the end finishes things off perfectly. Highly recommended.
This was the best tour of a Glow...
, Mar 2018
This was the best tour of a Glow Worm Caves we did! Extremely knowledgeable, interesting and personable guide. We booked this tour for the small group advertised and ended up with just four, so very private tour! No crowds!! Taken by mini bus to a privately owned cave with such a lovely entrance through tropical rainforest. Everything was explained to us throughout the tour, no rush, one to one with even the guide taking photos of us with the glow worms! Finished off with traditional bush tea. I would highly recommend this tour to anybody. Absolutely loved it!!
Great overall tour. We were the only...
David K
, Jan 2018
Great overall tour. We were the only ones on the tour so had a personal guide. Tea at the end of the tour was a great little finish.
We loved the caves. It was also...
David B
, Apr 2017
We loved the caves. It was also very nice to learn about the history of the area from our guide. As there were only 12 people, there was plenty of time to take it all in and ask questions - like having a personal guide. The kawa kawa tea ceremony was fantastic and a nice touch.
Fantastic and highly recommended. Tour...
Fiona F
, Jun 2016
Fantastic and highly recommended. Tour guide was great and the cave was amazing.
This was a delightful experience...
Louise G
, Mar 2016
This was a delightful experience where we got to see amazing caves, cave wetas and the local scenery all with extra information provided by our tour guide Ross who had amazing knowledge of all the flora, fauna and geology and history. There were crazy queues up the road for other cave tours but this was more intimate and brilliant. Go it's great fun.
Pay careful attention to the...
Michael S
, Dec 2015
Pay careful attention to the description. This is a tour of Footwhistle Cave, not the more famous Waitomo Cave. You'll have to climb down and then back up about 100 steps so skip this one if you've got mobility or stamina problems. Overall, a nice tour though, with plenty of glowworms on display.
Great guide, interesting but...
Matthew S
, May 2015
Great guide, interesting but underwhelming experience. Worth seeing, but not the best thing you'll see in NZ
Excursion au top et en plus le guide...
Johan B
, Feb 2017
Excursion au top et en plus le guide est passionné par ce qu'il raconte! On a adoré cette visite!

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