Waitomo Caves Discovery Centre

Waitomo Museum of Caves - Waitomo Education Centre

Useful Information

Location: 21 Waitomo Caves Road, Waitomo 3943.
200 km south of Auckland, 70 km from Hamilton, 16 km from Otorohanga.
(-38.260812, 175.109044)
Open: JAN to FEB daily 8:30-19.
MAR to DEC daily 8:45-17:30.
Closed 25-DEC.
Fee: Adults NZD 5, Children (4-14) NZD 3, Children (0-3) free.
Free or reduced entry to the Museum is included with many other activities.
Classification: SubterraneaCave and Karst Museum
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours:  
Address: Waitomo Caves Discovery Centre, PO Box 12, Waitomo Caves, Waitomo 3943, Tel. +64-7-878-7640. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1973 established by the local community.
17-OCT-1981 purpose-built location opened to the public.
1988 land returned to the Tanetinorau Opataia Whānau Trust.
1989 museum buildings doubled in size to increase exhibition space.


The Waitomo Caves Discovery Centre is the heart of Waitomo, also being a sort of Visitor Information Centre. It is the ideal introduction to the Waitomo Caves area. Many of the activities in the area start and end at the Museum, and all transport stops here. The Centre is also the post office for the area. The Visitor Information Centre provides everything you need to know about the Waitomo area and takes bookings for Black Water Rafting and Lost World Adventures, and many other activities in the area. Accommodation and restaurant bookings can also be made.

The exhibits cover the local landscape and geology, the caves and the area's history and flora and fauna. There is an audio-visual presentation about the caves, glowworms and other attractions in the area. A big fun for children is a short, simulated cave crawl.

The Waitomo Museum of Caves was created in 1973 and was originally located in two rooms of the historic Waitomo Caves Hotel. The community raised money for a purpose-built location and only five years later the new museum was inaugurated. The land in the area was confiscated in 1903 and in the 1980 there was a movement to return it to the original owner or their descendants. As a result the land on which the museum stood was returned to the Tanetinorau Opataia Whānau Trust in 1988. Nevertheless, the museum buildings were doubled in size to increase exhibition space. An Education Centre was added in 1994, which changed the name to Waitomo Education Centre. As a result the Ministry of Education contracted the museum to provide Learning Experience outside the Classroom (LEOTC) programmes.