We chose to book this tour via Viator rather than through Viking Orion. In fact Viking did not offer a true tour of the glow worm caves. We found the tour guide, who is also the owner of Tauranga Tasting Tours, Paul just fabulous. We were in a small SUV (A very private personal tour) and rode throughout the very beautiful New Zealand Farmland (Though brown from drought). We saw many different items and Paul had significant knowledge of the Maori culture, the farm and dairy industry, Kiwi birds and fruit, glow worms, hydro power and Tauranga industry. This tour is a must. The glow worms were worth the long trip (About 2- 2 1/2 Hours). The tour was very nice. The caves are well guided and the worms were/are beautiful. We did see the pair of Kiwis in their nocturnal habitat. We had to move quickly to meet our cruise times, so we couldn't dally. We also ate local food for lunch that was quite interesting and good. This is a perfect reason why to book outside of the cruise line. The tour was priced better than most tours by Viking and was truly awesome.They got us back in plenty of time to re-embark as well. I cannot say enough good things about Paul.
Discover an underground labyrinth of ancient limestone caverns and formations. Expert guides will give you interesting and informative details on the historic and geological aspects of the caves.
In the Glow-worm Grotto, you will see Arachnocampa Luminosa, which is unique to New Zealand.
This approximately six-hour shore tour leaves the Port of Tauranga or local accommodation and travels over the Kaimai Range, through the verdant Waikato District (New Zealand's top dairy farming area) and the historic rocks of the Hinuera Valley.
A stop is made at the Karapiro Lookout above Karapiro Lake.
On arrival at Waitomo, you will discover an underground labyrinth of ancient limestone caverns and formations. Enter “The Cathedral” which has such excellent acoustics that the Vienna Boys’ Choir has recorded there. Expert guides will give interesting & informative details on the historic & geological aspects of the caves.
This is followed by a boat trip into the famed Glow-worm Grotto where you will see the NZ native Arachnocampa Luminosa. The kiwi House in Otorohanga is visited on the return trip, which covers a different route & crosses the Arapuni Dam. Lunch can be purchased at your own cost and en route.
Tour duration is approximately 6 hours.