Limstone rocks with karren, Waitomo, New Zealand. Public Domain.
Waitomo river, New Zealand. Public Domain.

The Waitomo area has lots of caves, five of them are developed for visitors, several other caves are guided in Black Water Rafting or Adventure tours. Very interesting is also the SubterraneaWaitomo Caves Discovery Centre. This is the center of all caving activities. In the 1990 it was also ticket office and staring point for several tours. Today there is a new

The name Waitomo comes from the Maori wai=water and tomo=hole or shaft. This name tells a lot about the area: a lot of karst features as karst springs, ponors, dolines and natural bridges are to be seen here.

In 2009 the construction of a new Visitor Centre started, with the opening date scheduled for early 2010. It is designed to create a minimal intervention, by following the contours of the land and the meandering Waitomo stream that lies below. As far as we understood it will not be a new cave museum, but a sort of touristic infrastructure with two level restaurant with 200 seats, 50 seat café, and retail space for gifts and souvenirs. The building will be a sort of tent like construction, with Teflon-style glass ceiling.