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Tauranga Shore Excursion: Waitomo Caves and The Kiwi House

Papamoa, New Zealand

From US$175.70

Select Date and Travelers

Free cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance.
  • 6 hours (approx.)
  • Hotel pickup offered
  • Mobile ticket
  • Offered in: English

Overview

Explore one of the North Island’s most impressive natural wonders and see the national symbol of New Zealand on this shore excursion from Tauranga. Walk through the caves to see stalagmites and stalactites before boarding a small boat to the incredible Waitomo Caves, filled with glittering glow-worms. Then visit the Otorohanga Kiwi House to learn more about the native birds. Port pickup and drop-off is included.
  • Tauranga shore excursion: Waitomo Caves and Otorohanga Kiwi House
  • See the Waitomo Caves and the Glow Worm Grotto
  • Learn more about New Zealand’s most famous bird at the Otorohanga Kiwi House
  • Great-value tour includes port pickup, entrance fees, and round-trip transport
  • Small-group tour limited to 15 people ensures a personalized experience

What's Included

  • Driver/guide
  • Live commentary on board
  • Port pickup and drop-off
  • Transport by air-conditioned minivan
  • Entry to Waitomo Glow-worm caves
  • Entry to Otorohanga Kiwi House
  • Air-conditioned vehicle
  • Food and drinks

Meeting And Pickup

Pickup points

Select a pickup point

Start time

Confirm time with the local provider in advance of your experience.

Opening hours

  • 6/1/2021 - 5/31/2023

    Monday - Sunday : 05:30 AM - 11:30 PM

Pickup details

We pick up from the Port of Tauranga, the Tauranga airport & local accommodation. At the Port of Tauranga we will meet you at he port gate; your name will be held up on a placard.

What To Expect

Meet your guide and small group of no more than 15 people on arrival at the Port of Tauranga. Traveling aboard an air-conditioned minibus, set out on the journey to the west coast. Along the way, soak up the scenery as you wind through the Kaimai Ranges and the farmlands of the Waikato District, stopping to admire views over Karapiro Lake and the Hinuera Valley.

Arrive at Waitomo Caves and head inside to explore the natural wonder on a guided walking tour. See the aptly nicknamed ‘Cathedral’ cave, known for its distinctive acoustics, and hear how the famous Vienna Boys' Choir once recorded in the cave. Then, hop aboard for a small boat cruise through the Glow Worm Cave, lit up by the light of thousands of glowworms.

Next, pay a visit to the Otorohanga Kiwi House, where you have the chance to learn more about the native flightless birds and hear how the Kiwi became the national symbol of New Zealand.

After stopping for lunch (own expense), return to Tauranga, where your tour ends with drop-off at the port.

Port of Tauranga Ltd

Our accredited agent driver/guide will meet you at the port gate & escort you to the vehicle in which you will be travelling. The driver/guide will have your name on a placard.

15 minutesAdmission Ticket Free

Lake Karapiro

Our accredited agent driver/guide will meet you at the port gate & escort you to the vehicle in which you will be travelling. The driver/guide will have your name on a placard.

15 minutesAdmission Ticket Free

Additional Info

  • Confirmation will be received within 48 hours of booking, subject to availability
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Children must be accompanied by an adult
  • A minimum of 2 people per booking is required
  • Stroller accessible
  • Service animals allowed
  • Near public transportation
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 19 travelers

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 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

Traveler Tips


Good tour - but a lot of driving, which can't be avoided.
Well worth the tour and a very economic, informative tour.
Reviews
4.5
24 reviews
Total review count and overall rating based on Viator and Tripadvisor reviews
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Reviews by Viator travelers.
Showing 1-10 of 24 reviews
Glow Worm caves were...
Teri_J, Jan 2023
Glow Worm caves were pretty cool. Kiwi Sanctuary, not so much. A LONG ways (3 hrs. ea. directions) to go.
Response from Host, Jan 2023
Yes, we agree with both your comments; the caves are special & it is a long trip. That's why we go to/from the caves via 2 different routes, so that it, hopefully, makes the time spent in transit a bit more palatable. Unfortunately, the kiwi, being nocturnal does not always grace us with its presence! no
It was amazing to see the...
dessertian, Dec 2022
It was amazing to see the glowworms in the caves, particularly on the boat ride in the dark. We were also lucky to see a baby Kiwi bird that was only a few days old! It would be even better, if the vehicle's air conditioning were working!
Response from Host, Jan 2023
Glad you enjoyed the glow-worms. Yes, it was a real treat to be able to see the tiny kiwis - an opportunity we that is not often available . Apologies about the air-conditioning malfunction; It"s getting fixed asap!
Great day trip from cruise
Megan_R, Dec 2022
Paul was an excellent host/driver. We were in very good hands, with his local knowledge. The cave experience was magnificent. Kiwi birds were hiding on our visit, but was still worthwhile.
Response from Host, Jan 2023
We're glad that, despite the "no show" of the kiwis, you enjoyed the caves experience. Unfortunately kiwis are shy & nocturnal so are not always available to see. Thank you so much for writing a review. We hope the rest of your cruise went well.
Paul was great and really...
Hedley_L, Dec 2022
Paul was great and really knows his stuff. They caves are amazing and I highly recommend them. Paul also gave a tour of Tauranga.
Response from Host, Dec 2022
Thank you so much for taking the time to write a review. Paul enjoyed your company - and showing you the sights in our area. We hope the rest of your trip went well.
Bad experience.
Doyle_P, Dec 2022
You sold us a day trip that did not exist. The tour operator was not running that tour on that day. We should have tried to book directly with the tour operator; then we would hsve known the tour was not running that day. We hired a car and did the tour on our own. It was enjoyable, but no thanks to Viator.
Response from Host, Dec 2022
We received the booking from Viator late in the day. We had asked for 24-hours notice in taking bookings for the Waitomo Tour to ensure the venue still had availablility. We were unable to do that. We're glad you were able to go there yourself. Ask for a refund; we will verify that the tour was not dome i We were unable to cancel it ourselves as it was not appearing on the Viator Management system. We have now asked for 48 hours notice to prevent this happening again,
Great cave experience...
Wendy, Dec 2022
Great cave experience which we had never seen before. Guide is knowledgeable and friendly. We didn't get to see Kiwi in the kiwi house is bit disappointing.
Response from Host, Dec 2022
Yes the caves are a great experience & we're pleased you liked them. Unfortunately, as with all animals, the kiwi is unpredictable. It's nocturna & shy so that doesn't help!
A great time
Shianna_K, Oct 2022
paul was awesome and made stops along the way for us to see cool things!! It was a beautiful drive with great commentary
Response from Host, Oct 2022
Paul really enjoyed your company, showing you our lovely country & introducing you to meat pies!
The tour areas were well run and organized.
John, Feb 2020
Good tour - but a lot of driving, which can't be avoided. Our car guide did a great job of keeping us informed and enjoying many of the stopping points along the way. The worms were never really seen but they lit the way for us in a three dimensional fashion. The cave guide did a good of talking us through the cave and making it safe. Most of the walk was downhill and had railings. These worms were shown how they created the glow effect. It would be neat to see the actual worm or photos of it. Another stop was a Kiwi Fruit farm. Short, but pre-arranged for and again a learning experience. The Kiwi Bird experience was quick, but again pre-arranged for and we were brought where the most likely location to see a Kiwi Bird. Well, they are night birds, and we didn't physically see one. Rats! Personally, with the cameras available they should be able to locate/aim them so we can see a Kiwi - even if it is on camera or work the birds day/night schedule so they are up when there is an audience. I did ask a keeper and confirmed there were two in the area we were directed to.
Response from Host, Feb 2020
Thanks so much for your comments. The only way we can improve our service is by getting feedback from our clients. This enables us to alter apects of the tours, within our capability to do so.
Waitomo Glow Worm Caves and The Kiwi House
Safari27721988095, Jan 2020
Our guide was waiting for us as we disembarked our cruise ship. The bus was clean and comfortable. The driver was our guide and he shared a lot of interesting facts on life in New Zealand and its history. He dropped us off at the front of the line to the Glow Worm Caves and then waited for us in the bus as we took the tour with the facility guide. The Glow Worm caves are a "must see". We had never seen a live Kiwi before so the visit to the Kiwi House was very interesting.
Response from Host, Feb 2020
Thank you for writing this review. We're pleased the day fulfilled your expectation & that you saw the kiwi (-they're a bit elusive at times). We think Waitomo is a "must see" too - a very special place.
Great Excursion!
Penny_R, Oct 2019
We were picked up on schedule. Because both of us couples, were there, we even left early. The guide was personable, knowledgeable, friendly and accommodating. The tour through the gorgeous New Zealand countryside was beautiful, the guide stopping at places she knew were perfect for picture-taking. The caves themselves were intriguing, and the glow worms were like nothing I had ever seen before. And we saw live, moving, kiwi birds at Kiwi House. Here the guide's knowledge was particularly beneficial, since she knew when to arrive there to avoid the bus-crowds, so the four of us were in the "night" house when no one else was there. Then a brief stop at a kiwi-fruit growing orchards. All in all, a wonderful day.
Response from Host, Oct 2019
Bron, our driver/guide, always puts her heart & soul into making sure our clients have a great time. We're really glad you enjoyed your day & appreciate your talikng the time to write a review.
Tauranga Shore Excursion
Suzanne_S, May 2019
Best tour on our 3 1/2 week vacation. She was very knowledgeable. We had some extra time and she took us to a kiwi farm. She was the best!
Response from Host, Aug 2019
Thanks for taking the time to write a review. Yes, we think Bron is wonderful too! We're so glad you enjoyed your day!
Waitomo Caves & Kiwi House
Joan R, Apr 2019
Waitomo Caves were very good. However Kiwi House was average caged zoo with one kiwi bird in darkened room behind glass.
Response from Host, Aug 2019
Thanks for your review. We're glad the caves were to your liking & appreciate the feedback on the kiwi-house.
Waitomo Caves and Kiwi House
Kenneth_F, Jan 2019
Wonderful tour with Paul as our driver who was very informative and experienced. We were delayed in arriving at the port as our cruise ship experienced some windy weather, but as we were the only passengers Paul kindly waited for us. Informative overall tour and a great way to experience the scenery of the interior of the north island. The caves were fascinating and not to miss. Did not spend much time at the Kiwi House but did see the one Kiwi in the dark exhibit. Well worth the tour and a very economic, informative tour.
This was a great tour, Paul was...
Jessica_T, Feb 2018
This was a great tour, Paul was fantastic and very informative! Waitomo Caves are absolutely stunning and a must do!
Great service. Two of us had a guide...
Arturas V, Jan 2018
Great service. Two of us had a guide and a Mercedes sedan for the glowworm and kiwi trip. We learned a lot from the guide who was very knowledgeable.
Incredible tour!! Seeing the...
benjamin t, Dec 2017
Incredible tour!! Seeing the magical glow worms was spectacular!! Our driver was wonderful, friendly, knowledgeable, and kind. Wonder of wonders, we saw a kiwi up close......amazing! Highly recommend this excursion. Well organized and comfortable!!
Paul Marston Tauranga Tasting Tours...
Minerva_Y, Jan 2017
Paul Marston Tauranga Tasting Tours and Charters took four of us on a great journey to the Waitomo Caves, the Kiwi House and much more. We were greeted on time at the gangway of our Princess cruise ship, and from there everything was well taken care of. The views from Tauranga to Waitomo Caves were exceptional - loved the greens that blanketed the landscape, dotted with cattles, sheeps, horses, etc. along the way. The Caves were simply breathtaking! Lunch place recommended by Paul was also very affordable and high quality ordered the pies. Paul kept track of the time and sent us back to the ship on time. We enjoyed the day tremendously, and had learned a lot about New Zealand and Tauranga area from Paul. We highly recommended this tour.
Good, but the guide rushed us at the...
Derek M, Nov 2016
Good, but the guide rushed us at the Kiwi house. This was a shame as the majority of the group missed seeing one of the varieties of this special bird. The glow worm caves were wonderful. We and several others felt uncomfortable at the speed we were being driven at times. It was unnecessarily fast and possibly dangerous. This needs to be addressed.
This tour was a great one also, I...
Dorothy R, Nov 2016
This tour was a great one also, I can't remember the mans name that took us in his van. He was the best on the whole trip. He knew the country and told us all about everything as a went along, and knew all the best little things we would like. We memtioned we had never had meat pies, and we stopped at a very little town and had the best little meat pies. He also stopped at a river and told us all about the country. He knew all about the wine and would be the best for a wine tour.