Evening Glow Worm Kayak Tour in Tauranga

Badge of ExcellenceTauranga, New Zealand

From US$105.39

Select Date and Travelers

Free cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance.
  • 3 hours 15 minutes (approx.)
  • Pickup offered
  • Mobile ticket
  • Offered in: English


Experience the magic of New Zealand’s North Island on this evening glow-worm kayak tour in Tauranga. Begin your tour with refreshments and delicious New Zealand cheeses on the banks of Lake McLaren. As day turns to night, hop into your kayak and paddle with your guide to the glow-worm canyon at the head of Lake McLaren. Marvel at the millions of bright green glow-worms clinging to the towering cliff sides, and gain insight into the life cycle of these fascinating creatures.
  • Close encounter with wildlife
  • Snacks and Beverages included
  • Tour is wheelchair accessible
  • Informative, friendly and professional guide

What's Included

  • Kayak and equipment
  • GST (Goods and Services Tax)
  • Light refreshments
  • Professional guide
  • An additional cost per person does apply to Hotel pickup/drop off.

Meeting And Pickup

Meeting point

  • 36 Taniwha Place
    36 Taniwha Place, Bethlehem, Tauranga 3176, New Zealand

    Meet at Waimarino Adventure Park, and check in for your tour at reception. There is plenty of free parking on site.

End point

This activity ends back at the meeting point.

Pickup details

We pick up from any accommodation provider in the Mount Maunganui, Tauranga city center for an additional $25.00 per person (minimum 2 person required). Please get in touch directly with us to arrange this.

What To Expect

Waimarino Adventure Park

15 minutesAdmission Ticket Not Included

McLaren Falls Park

1 hour Admission Ticket Included

McLaren Falls Park (Pass By)

Additional Info

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • A minimum of 2 people per booking is required to commence a tour
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • No heart problems or other serious medical conditions
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 30 travelers
Operated by Waimarino Glow Worm Kayaking

Cancellation Policy

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 good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.
  • 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.

Traveler Photos

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Traveler Tips

Starting this experience with wine, cheese and nibbles on the riverbank is a great start to the night.
Having snacks and wine on the shore before hitting the water was a great "ice breaker" and set the tone for a relaxed yet exhilarating experience.
I have had lots of adventure experiences,, this one was top 5 .. i highly recommend this tour.. and others offered from this company.


212 reviews
Total review count and overall rating based on Viator and Tripadvisor reviews
Reviews by Viator travelers.
Showing 1-10 of 212 reviews
A fun experience even for beginners
Ringa_A, Apr 2023
We had a fun night kayaking and watching glow worms. It was interesting to hear about the worms and it looked very pretty. Kayaking was easy enough although it was our first time kayaking. Everyone else had done kayaking before and we had to try to keep up with them, as they were much faster than us. It would have been nice to get some instructions beforehand because it was pitch black in the river and we could not see where we were going and couldn't hear a single word the guide was saying. Instructions could have been repeated especially when we made the raft and we were the last ones there and hadn't really heard how it worked and the others on the trip had to help us. All in all we enjoyed our time with the glow worms! As we didn't have a car, we asked for transportation. It was quite a hassle. First they made sure that we understood the extra cost, and then on the day of the trip we got a message saying that the transport couldn't be arranged. When we asked if we could then cancel the trip, we got another message with no mention of the others saying the transport could be arranged. It felt like communicating with several people who had no idea what the others had told us. In the end we got the transport to and from, and enjoyed ourselves immensely.
Response from Host, May 2023
Thanks for the review! Apologies for any confusion regarding hotel pick up, sometimes for bookings that aren't directly through our website, it can be a bit harder to communicate clearly with our clients. Glad to hear it worked out in the end. Thanks for your patience!
Overall Okay ✅
Sara_M, Apr 2023
Our guides Frosty and Lucy were lovely. The experience itself was okay, Lucy and Frosty had to tow the groups up past a loud hydro energy unit, which made for less kayaking for participants. I think the experience could be great if they selected a different location.
Response from Host, May 2023
Hi Sara, Unfortunately we cannot change the location of our tour, and we do manage our environment to the best of our ability. We do operate longer tours on Lake Rotoiti that visit the Hot Pools and a Glowworm Cave, we would recommend checking that out if you are looking for a longer paddle!
A very different and cool way to see glow worms
Ayanna_W, Apr 2023
Thai was a very chill and low key kayak/Trip Pros: being out in the water at sunset/night (I can’t highlight how cool this is) on a glass like lake, seeing the glow worms (albeit much smaller quantities than in waitimo or te Anau caves) from a a kayak and in a cliff like setting, the snacks they put out ahead of trip, great guides, all equipment available Cons: it’s not a strenuous workout so just prepare yourself for low key paddling and taking I. The scenery (you will be “towed” or pulled by guides into the canyon for much of trip) and it’s not very educational (they do give details on worms but it is very hard to hear guides when you’re in the canyon)
Response from Host, May 2023
Thanks for the review! We will be sure to advise the guides that were on your tour to use louder voices when talking in the canyon. Great to hear you enjoyed your tour regardless!
This was a great trip....
Jeffrey_S, Mar 2023
This was a great trip. Our guides, Frosty, Ellie and Russ were very enjoyable and made the trip better. I would recommend it to anyone.
Once in a lifetime
Luis_D, Nov 2022
Hannah and the team did a great job guiding us and being patient with me as it was my first time kayaking. Overall, I felt like I learned a new skill and would definitely recommend this experience to anyone who wants to try something new and cool!
Response from Host, Nov 2022
Hannah is a great guide ! We're glad that you enjoyed your experience.
Shine little glow worm, glimmer, glimmer!
Charles_L, Feb 2020
Everyone in Tauranga who I mentioned this tour to highly recommended it, and they were not wrong! The staff were so much fun and highly knowledgeable. They clearly love what they do. Having snacks and wine on the shore before hitting the water was a great "ice breaker" and set the tone for a relaxed yet exhilarating experience. Kayaking en masse onto pitch black still waters and entering the glow worm canyon was other worldly. The staff reciting their amateur glow worm "poetry" was an amusing bonus. Definitely a must-do in Tauranga if you're looking for a unique, memorable experience.
Great Experience
thethompsons19, Feb 2020
Starting this experience with wine, cheese and nibbles on the riverbank is a great start to the night. The guides were helpful and fun. They fitted us up with our kayaking gear and kayaks and off we went. What a great experience kayaking at night. It was calm, quiet and peaceful. Then into the gorge to see the glow worms. There were so many!! Great trip and would recommend to everyone as a must do in Tauranga.
Average experience with glow worms
etritcak, Feb 2020
Overall was less than expected. Sara was outstanding in tough situation/ a motorcycle accident ( his fault) and police situation which canceled trip all in one night. We rescheduled for next night with Luke (long blonde hair from Hamilton). He was a little flip & casual. I didn’t care for his comments. Could be more professional in comments. He was polite and helpful but you could tell he really didn’t care. It would be helpful to have more lighting on kayaks so we could follow better. The wine & cheese was a nice touch. I would have enjoyed Sara more.
karita, Feb 2020
Had a fantastic time. Possum, Jack and YaYa we’re knowledgeable and fun. It was an amazing funny experience that we can highly recommend to everyone.
Response from Host, Feb 2020
Hi there ! Thank you so much for your lovely feedback ! Safe travels !
cbryantx, Feb 2020
The tour guides were the best. Very knowledgeable and that made the trip. Was a bit let down cuz there weren’t actuality any caves and the title of the tour isn’t accurate but they did glow.
Response from Host, Feb 2020
Kia Ora ! Thank you for your feedback, and you are right, no glow worm cave in McLaren, but a canyon ! Do you recommend to change the title of the tour for "Glow Arachnocampa Luminosa kayak tour" ? We will think about it !
Magical experience
Mehak_J, Dec 2019
The beautiful misty lake had a stunning arrangement of wine and cheese tasting for us after which our amazing guides amile and johno helped us through the mindblowing kayak tour with magical glowworms and their reasons for formation. Definitely a must do when you’re in Tauranga.
Response from Host, Dec 2019
Hi there! Thank you for your wonderful review! We are so glad that you enjoyed all the aspects of our tour, the glow worms are certainly a magical sight to see!
Unique and Fun Tour
Go240254, Dec 2019
Unique and fun tour, really a must do, all the guides were great, especially Jason, wine and cheese was an unexpected surprise, only about 30 minutes of easy paddaling, anyone could do this tour.
Response from Host, Dec 2019
Hi there! Thank you for your kind review! We are happy to hear that you enjoyed the refreshments we provided for you, its definitely a bonus for the tour!
Dorine_f, Nov 2019
I accidentally booked on a holiday but the owner came personally to honor the booking and I had a solo experience.We had wine and cheese prior and went on a beautiful paddle at sunset and saw amazing glow worms while kayaking in the dark. Amazing.!!. I have had lots of adventure experiences,, this one was top 5 .. i highly recommend this tour.. and others offered from this company.
Response from Host, Nov 2019
HI Dorine! Thank you so much for your glowing review! It's so special to be able to see the glow worms while out on the kayaks and we are thrilled that you enjoyed your trip! All the best for your future adventure experiences!
Fantastic evening!
Rosie_A, Oct 2019
Very friendly guides, full of knowledge about the glow worms. Felt very safe kayaking in the dark with them. Wine and cheese made a great addition! Recommended!
Response from Host, Nov 2019
Hi there! We're happy to hear that you enjoyed your trip! Thank you for your lovely review.
Average Value
kenneth_S, May 2019
Interesting but not as much expected based upon advertisement suggested. However, the guides did good job.
Exceeded expectations!
Beverly_B, May 2019
I didn't expect to be so pampered with the pre-launch treats! The guides worked hard to make us all feel comfortable with the kayak operations. My daughter and I were really impressed with the amount of time we got to spend under the stars while learning more about the glow worms. I highly recommend it!
This is a very fun tour and the...
Tyler_M, Apr 2018
This is a very fun tour and the glowworms are beautiful. Two things should be changed to make it a better experience. First, don't allow flash photography. We had someone in our group taking flash photos/videos the whole time, which ruined everyone else's ability to see the glowworms. Second, let people actually kayak through the canyon part, instead of rafting up. Aside from those, it was a fun tour of kayaking down a peaceful river, and our guide was really helpful, informative, and easy-going. This is a nice small-group alternative to the Waitomo glowworm caves if you want a more personal experience.
Absolutely awesome! Highly recommend...
Samantha M, Mar 2018
Absolutely awesome! Highly recommend this tour. The guides were excellent and the glow worms were so cool to see. I’d never kayaked before but I felt very confident and safe. Such a cool experience was definitely a highlight of the trip, a must do! Worth every penny!
Best experience we had in New...
Sarah B, Dec 2017
Best experience we had in New Zealand! Kayaking a placid lake at dusk, a great guide, Sean, and glow worms gave us a spectacular evening of memories. A nice touch would be a photo of each kayak as they leave the staging area.
OMG! If you've never kayaked at...
Barbara M, Feb 2017
OMG! If you've never kayaked at night before, take this trip! The glow worms are beyond description. Tim and Shawn took excellent care of all of our kayak needs: clothes, life preservers, kayaks with lights and even cheese and wine. Quite the experience.

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