How was the Waitomo cave formed?
Over millions of years, these fossilized rocks have been layered upon each other and compressed to create limestone and within the Waitomo region the limestone can be over 200 m thick. The caves began to form when earth movement caused the hard limestone to bend and buckle under the ocean and rise above the sea floor.
What is the history of Waitomo Caves?
The caves were first explored in 1887 by local Maori Chief Tane Tinorau accompanied by an English surveyor Fred Mace. Local Maori people knew of the caves existence, but the subterranean caverns had never been extensively explored until Fred and Tane went to investigate.
How many caves are in Waitomo?
There are three caves that make up the Waitomo caves network, each with it’s own unique experience. Famous for their abundance of glow worms, extensive underground river system and stunning stalactite and stalagmites formations, a trip to the Waitomo caves is a trip to another world.
Who owns Ruakuri cave?
New Zealand’s largest tourism operation, THL holds a 33 year license from the Holden family, owners of the cave, to operate guided tours of Ruakuri.
What lives in Waitomo Glowworm Caves?
The glowworms in the Waitomo and Ruakuri caves are the larvae (grubs) of a species of gnat called Arachnocampa luminosa, which is unique to New Zealand. Their scientific name means ‘spiderlike (arachno) ‘larva’ (campa) ‘that produce light’ (luminosa).
What is special about Waitomo caves?
There are around 300 known limestone caves underground in the Waitomo region, but the Waitomo Glowworm Caves are perhaps the most special of all. Guests are asked to refrain from touching the cave walls. Stalactites and stalagmites take centuries to form and touching them can result in discolouration and breakage.
What is special about Waitomo Caves?
What was the history of the Waitomo Caves?
History of Waitomo Caves. Waitomo Caves were formed by a combination of natural phenomena more than 30 million years ago during the Oligocene period. In 1887, Maori Chief Tane Tinorau and British surveyor Fred Mace explored the subterranean network for the first time, having built a raft from robust flax stems.
Where does the Maori word Waitomo come from?
The word Waitomo comes from the Māori language wai meaning water and tomo meaning a doline or sinkhole; it can thus be translated to be “water passing through a hole”. The caves are formed in Oligocene limestone.
How long is the Waitomo Glowworm Cave tour?
Special combination prices are available for two or all of the following cave tours: Waitomo Glowworm Cave, Aranui Cave and Ruakuri Cave (see further down this page.) Allow 2 hours. Walk down a man-made spiral entrance way.
How old do you have to be to go to Waitomo glow worms?
Entry for children 14 and under is free with a paying adult. Special combination prices are available for two or all of the following cave tours: Waitomo Glowworm Cave, Aranui Cave and Ruakuri Cave (see further down this page.)