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Footwhistle Glowworm Cave

Waitomo, New Zealand
Book online or call: (888) 651-9785(888) 651-9785

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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
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
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What is the maximum group size during Footwhistle Glowworm Cave?
This activity will have a maximum of 11 travelers.

See all safety measures taken by Footwhistle Glowworm Cave.

Traveler Tips

  • "We were the only ones on the tour so had a personal guide." See review


28 Reviews
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Reviews by Viator travelers
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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