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milagarcia
March 10th, 2010, 12:22 PM
Hello,
I am arriving in Tauranga via cruise and cannot decide if I should take a tour to the Waitomo Glowworm Caves or Wai-O-Tapu (or such) to see the mud pools and geothermic activity. I am a bit claustrophobic and am worried that the Caves would be difficult for me. If anyone can provide an opinion on if the Caves feel closed- in and tight I would greatly appreciate it.
Also, if I only have time to see one of these places which is more interesting?
I greatly appreciate all opinions and thank you for any feedback.
Mila

CruisinKiki
March 10th, 2010, 05:05 PM
Wow, both are amazing. I really liked the glow worm caves, especially since there isn't anywhere else that you can see something like this. We went on the Spellbound glow worm tour which has smaller groups and is more personal. It was absolutely spectacular! We hiked through the hillside and then went to two different caves. Neither was particularly clausterphobic. They also provided a nice snack in a shack in the field, seemed pretty authentic to the area.

The mud pools are also a very amazing area. Though, I think you can see things similar in other parts of the world. But, definitely worth seeing if you have time. I have a beautiful photo of one of the colored ponds framed in my living room.

You'll get as many opinions as people who reply, but I would vote for the glow worms if you have to choose.

Ausgirl
March 10th, 2010, 05:36 PM
I have also done the spellbound tour - which was a highlight - but we did it on a land trip to New Zealand and not from Tauranga. It is quite a far drive from Tauranga to Waitomo (I think just over 2 hours each way) so you would have to take that into account. I didn't find the caves claustrophobic, but if darkness bothers you, a lot of the experince in the glowworm part of the caves is in a boat in pitch darkness. It was spectacular though and would highly recommend it.

Kiwi Kruzer
March 10th, 2010, 08:30 PM
I have been to Waitomo and they are spectacular,
but,
we also did it as a land trip from Auckland.

Also had friends that took the ships tour from Tauranga,
and whilst they loved the caves,
felt they spent too much time in the bus,
and when they got there had to rush through as time was limited ,
and they felt this spoilt the experience for them.

As stated above its a long drive from Tauranga.

milagarcia
March 10th, 2010, 09:43 PM
hello and thank you for the feedback.

Seems everyone prefers the Caves but goes from Auckland. Can someone please tell me how far a drive from Auckland it is? I thought it was the same 2 hours?

Also, I am having a private tour take me and I thought even though it was a long drive it would be nice to see a bit of the country. Is that not a nice drive?

Thanks again.

Izzy'smom
March 10th, 2010, 11:01 PM
hello and thank you for the feedback.

Seems everyone prefers the Caves but goes from Auckland. Can someone please tell me how far a drive from Auckland it is? I thought it was the same 2 hours?

Also, I am having a private tour take me and I thought even though it was a long drive it would be nice to see a bit of the country. Is that not a nice drive?

Thanks again.
Hi,

When we were on our cruise last month, we rented a car in Tauranga and drove to Wai-O-Tapu, it took us close to 2 hours to get there (we got a little bit lost). They have a geyser that goes off about 10:00 every day - but we missed it. We did spend about 2-2.5 hours there - walking the trails around the sites. It was a nice drive from Tauranga - passing Lake Rotorua and several kiwi farms, corn fields and tree farms. We had also planned on seeing Lake Taupo as well, but our ships departure was moved up several hours due to the tide situation.

The cruise ended in Auckland, where we stayed for 3 days. We did rent a car, and on the second day, we drove to the Waitomo Caves. I believe it was about a 2-2.5 hour drive as well. We did not to a tour there - instead purchased a combo ticket for the glow worm cave and the Aranui cave. Both caves have lighting in them, and in the glow worm cave, you get on a small boat, and the Maori guide will take you on a short ride below the worms. It really was spectacular! When that was done, we drove a short distance to the other cave for a tour - that cave was beautiful too. After the cave visits, we set off to see Lake Taupo, before heading back to Auckland. I think the drive back to Auckland from Taupo was about 4 hours.

milagarcia
March 10th, 2010, 11:21 PM
Hi,

When we were on our cruise last month, we rented a car in Tauranga and drove to Wai-O-Tapu, it took us close to 2 hours to get there (we got a little bit lost). They have a geyser that goes off about 10:00 every day - but we missed it. We did spend about 2-2.5 hours there - walking the trails around the sites. It was a nice drive from Tauranga - passing Lake Rotorua and several kiwi farms, corn fields and tree farms. We had also planned on seeing Lake Taupo as well, but our ships departure was moved up several hours due to the tide situation.

The cruise ended in Auckland, where we stayed for 3 days. We did rent a car, and on the second day, we drove to the Waitomo Caves. I believe it was about a 2-2.5 hour drive as well. We did not to a tour there - instead purchased a combo ticket for the glow worm cave and the Aranui cave. Both caves have lighting in them, and in the glow worm cave, you get on a small boat, and the Maori guide will take you on a short ride below the worms. It really was spectacular! When that was done, we drove a short distance to the other cave for a tour - that cave was beautiful too. After the cave visits, we set off to see Lake Taupo, before heading back to Auckland. I think the drive back to Auckland from Taupo was about 4 hours.

Thank you so much for this information.

If you could only go to one, Wai-O-Tapu or the Waitomo Caves which would you pick? At Wai-O-Tapu I would go to the mud pool and do the first 30-40 minute part of the walk around and at Waitomo Caves I would not do a full tour just the standard visit that comes with the entry fee. Is the short ride under the worms part of the entry fee?

Thanks again.

Ausgirl
March 11th, 2010, 02:34 AM
I would do Wai-O-Tapu as its more accessible from Tauranga. The drive from Tauranga to Waitomo is not very exciting, and it would be a pity to do a shortened tour of the caves.

If you are able to I would do Waitomo from Auckland as a separate excursion. We drove from Auckland to Waitomo (and then on to tauranga) late in the afternoon, about a 3 hour drive, and spent the night in the little village of Waitomo. The next day we did the spellbound tour and left for Tauranga that afternoon. The spellbound tour was around the same price as the normal tour but takes much smaller groups (maximum 12) and is a lot more personal.

Aquarians
March 11th, 2010, 04:34 AM
I would do Wai-O-Tapu as its more accessible from Tauranga. The drive from Tauranga to Waitomo is not very exciting, and it would be a pity to do a shortened tour of the caves.

If you are able to I would do Waitomo from Auckland as a separate excursion. We drove from Auckland to Waitomo (and then on to tauranga) late in the afternoon, about a 3 hour drive, and spent the night in the little village of Waitomo. The next day we did the spellbound tour and left for Tauranga that afternoon. The spellbound tour was around the same price as the normal tour but takes much smaller groups (maximum 12) and is a lot more personal.
Kia ora,
Comparing the Waitomo caves with Wai-o-tapu really comes down to personal choice. The glowworms there are unique to AotearoaNZ. At Waitomo there are a number of caves to choose and you would need to consider the fact the the caves narrow in parts. (www.waitomo.com (http://www.waitomo.com) may help you gain an appreciation as to whether you may find it claustrophobic. If you wish you could even go black water rafting through a cave (with glow worms) or abseiling (www.caveworld.co.nz (http://www.caveworlde.co.nz)). If you want to visit Waitomo on a day trip from Tauranga (does your cruise ship offer a tour to Waitomo) or Auckland you would need to allow 5 - 6 hours driving time for the return trip so as a cruiser you may have time constraints and have time for little else. In view of the travelling time, to my mind, as suggested above, it is better to visit Waitomo either before or after your cruise.
Wai-o-tapu is about 20 minutes past Rotorua and in addition to an extensive array of colours has early life forms which enable one to visualize what it could have been like when life first appeared on our planet (www.waiotapu.co.nz (http://www.waiotapu.co.nz)). It is one of a number of geo-thermal areas in the Rotorua region, each one having points of difference. If you decide on Wai-o-tapu you will also have time to experience Rotorua, the Maori cultural heart of AotearoaNZ and the North Island's 'must see'.
Best wishes with your decision making.
Aquarians

The_Big_M
March 11th, 2010, 06:39 AM
It was a nice drive from Tauranga - passing Lake Rotorua and several kiwi farms,

Ack! I'm sure they're not farming their national - and endangered - birds over there.

milagarcia
March 11th, 2010, 05:18 PM
Kia ora,
Comparing the Waitomo caves with Wai-o-tapu really comes down to personal choice. The glowworms there are unique to AotearoaNZ. At Waitomo there are a number of caves to choose and you would need to consider the fact the the caves narrow in parts. (www.waitomo.com (http://www.waitomo.com) may help you gain an appreciation as to whether you may find it claustrophobic. If you wish you could even go black water rafting through a cave (with glow worms) or abseiling (www.caveworld.co.nz (http://www.caveworlde.co.nz)). If you want to visit Waitomo on a day trip from Tauranga (does your cruise ship offer a tour to Waitomo) or Auckland you would need to allow 5 - 6 hours driving time for the return trip so as a cruiser you may have time constraints and have time for little else. In view of the travelling time, to my mind, as suggested above, it is better to visit Waitomo either before or after your cruise.
Wai-o-tapu is about 20 minutes past Rotorua and in addition to an extensive array of colours has early life forms which enable one to visualize what it could have been like when life first appeared on our planet (www.waiotapu.co.nz (http://www.waiotapu.co.nz)). It is one of a number of geo-thermal areas in the Rotorua region, each one having points of difference. If you decide on Wai-o-tapu you will also have time to experience Rotorua, the Maori cultural heart of AotearoaNZ and the North Island's 'must see'.
Best wishes with your decision making.
Aquarians

Thank you so much for the insight. I really want to see the Caves but it seems spending the day in Rotorua and the surrounding area is a smarter way to spend the time. I am so torn because I really want to see the Caves too and am unfortunately only spending a night in Auckland so I wont have time to do a day trip from there. I wish there was more time!

Izzy'smom
March 11th, 2010, 07:35 PM
Ack! I'm sure they're not farming their national - and endangered - birds over there.

:o How about kiwi fruit orchards? Maybe kiwi fruit vineyards - since they grow on vines...;)

Izzy'smom
March 11th, 2010, 07:46 PM
Thank you so much for the insight. I really want to see the Caves but it seems spending the day in Rotorua and the surrounding area is a smarter way to spend the time. I am so torn because I really want to see the Caves too and am unfortunately only spending a night in Auckland so I wont have time to do a day trip from there. I wish there was more time!

Are you starting or ending in Auckland? You might find time to make the drive to the caves that day. As long as you make it there before closing time (which I'm sure would be easy to find out). The cruise line may even have an excursion for departure or arrival days. It would also depend on what you want to see in Auckland. We had a great time at the Voyager Maritime Museum - with a volunteer guide. We also had time to go up the Sky Tower on the day we left - our flight didn't leave until nearly 4:00 pm.

The boat ride under the worms is included in the price. The guide actually stands in the boat and guides it by pulling along a rope.

Kiwi Kruzer
March 11th, 2010, 08:11 PM
:o How about kiwi fruit orchards? Maybe kiwi fruit vineyards - since they grow on vines...;)

The Kiwi Fruit is known and referred to ,
the world over as a Kiwi.
However farming the Kiwi bird is not silly.
Have you ever heard of a farmed animal becoming extinct?

The_Big_M
March 11th, 2010, 09:16 PM
The Kiwi Fruit is known and referred to ,
the world over as a Kiwi.

I've only heard Chinese Gooseberry or kiwifruit, though if that's what was meant, fair enough.

Grumpy100
March 12th, 2010, 01:57 PM
If you are stopping at Bay of Islands you can also see the glow worm caves.
We did the Princess tour on the Sun Princess and did the Kauri Forest and the Glow Worm Caves and it was kind of a long trip by bus for what you see. But that is an option if you don't want to see them in Auckland or Taraunga.

Aquarians
March 12th, 2010, 04:29 PM
If you are stopping at Bay of Islands you can also see the glow worm caves.
We did the Princess tour on the Sun Princess and did the Kauri Forest and the Glow Worm Caves and it was kind of a long trip by bus for what you see. But that is an option if you don't want to see them in Auckland or Taraunga.
Kia ora,
If I had the choice between the caves in Northland or those in Waitomo I would opt for Waitomo as I would not consider the Northland Glow worm caves as in the same category as those at Waitomo which are world class. However, the 1000 year old+ kauri are a unique and awe inspiring sight which are well worth seeing.
Aquarians

Grumpy100
March 13th, 2010, 03:05 PM
Having neer seen the glow worms in Waitmoro I can't compare. It was pretty neat seeing the glow worms. We walked the mountain in the harbor in Taraunga and did a private excursion in Auckland and it was awsome. One of the best tours that we ever did so I kind of didn't want to (sort of waste the two others ports on just seeing the glow worms) so that's why we opted for the ships tour for the giant Kauri trees and the worms.

milagarcia
March 13th, 2010, 08:47 PM
Are you starting or ending in Auckland? You might find time to make the drive to the caves that day. As long as you make it there before closing time (which I'm sure would be easy to find out). The cruise line may even have an excursion for departure or arrival days. It would also depend on what you want to see in Auckland. We had a great time at the Voyager Maritime Museum - with a volunteer guide. We also had time to go up the Sky Tower on the day we left - our flight didn't leave until nearly 4:00 pm.

The boat ride under the worms is included in the price. The guide actually stands in the boat and guides it by pulling along a rope.


Hello, my cruise ends in Auckland. I am only staying one night, so i was going to depart the ship, check in to my hotel and take the hop on hop off tour, maybe the sky tower for dinner or such. The next day my flight leaves at 2pm so i dont have enought time to go to the Caves and be back at the airport by noon.

I would like to see Auckland for the one day, so I believe my only option to see the Caves is from the Tauranga port. This is the hard part.

Grumpy100
March 14th, 2010, 05:34 PM
If you want a really good one day tour check Kauri Tours. It is a independent tour company and we booked them for one day off the cruise ship on our r/t on the Sun Princess. He picked us up at the ship and took us to see the Gannet Nesting Colony on the other side of the Peninsula and the black beaches. We saw some beautiful waterfalls and also the giant Kauri Tree.
Auckland is nice but if you want to see more of the natural beauty and the beaches and volcanoes then I would reccomend this tour.
He gives you a great rate and will take you anywhere you want and you don't have to worry about your ship leaving because you are leaving the next day. Check out "Kauri Tours".
Auckland is just another big city and we opted to see the natural beauty rather than the museums.