Kawiti Glowworm Caves

Useful Information

Location: At Waiomio. 50 km north of Whangarei, 5 km south of Kawakawa, 1 km off the main highway.
Open: All year daily 8:30-16:30.
Fee: Adults NZD 15, Children (5-15) NZD 7.50, Children (0-4) free.
Groups (20+): Adults NZD , Children (6-16) NZD .
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave BiologyGlow Worm
Light: glowworms
Guided tours: D=30 min. No photography or video recording inside the caves.
Address: Kawiti Glow Worm Caves, 49 Waiomio Road, Waiomio, Kawakawa 0291, Tel: +64-9404-0583, Fax: +64-9404-1267. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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17th cty caves discovered by Roku.


Kawiti Glow Worm Caves is located near Waiomio. The small cave, some 200 m long, up to 20 m high and 12 m wide, is developed for tourists. There is a wooden walkway and handrails leading to the cave and through. But there is no electric light and paved paths like in normal show caves. Only small groups of visitors are taken into the cave in order to protect the cave and its inhabitants. Obviously the cave has glow worms (Arachnocampa luminosa). Those insect larvae are extremely sensitive for sound, light, even changes in humitity and temperature. Hence the restrictions in the number of visitors. Another inhabitant of the cave is a pet eel, which can be stroked.

The Kawiti Glow worm Caves are owned and operated by the Te Tawai me Maata Kawiti Whanau Trust. Several whanau (members of the family) are employed as guides. The cave is named after the warrior chief Kawiti. He is known as a peace maker of standing among his own people, the cave is owned by his descentants until today. The Maori humour is a great advantage of this worthwile tour.

According to legend the cave was discovered in the early 17th century by Roku, runaway wife of Haumoewarangi of the Tribe Ngatitu. She was living in the cave where she hid from her husband. Here she was found by Hineamaru, the famous cheiftainess of the Ngati hine Tribe, who smelled the smoke of Roku's fire. It seems the group of people around Hineamaru, her father and her brothers, were exiled by their old tribe. In search for new uninhabited land they came to Waiomio, where they found a fertile valley which was uninhabited. The tribe lives here until today.

The tour is followed by a 10 minutes walk back to the car park through native rain forest and karst limestone formations. The bizarre rock formations are a combination of limestone and sandstone.