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banditoo

Bay of Islands - Options for Glow Worm Caves

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We have a port day at Bay of Islands end of January and would like to go to the Waiomio/Kawiti Glowworm Caves. As that won't take the full day, it would be nice to combine that with another interesting experience. Anyone have direct experience with getting to the glow worm caves or a tour that includes both? I prefer not to do ship excursions or large group tours but small groups are fine. Thanks in advance for any tips or info. 

 

 

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On the way, stop off at the Kawakawa public toilets (yes, toilets).

 

https://www.newzealand.com/int/kawakawa/

 

Austrian architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser lived in Kawakawa from the mid 70's to his death in 2000, and gifted the toilets to the town. Be warned - he didn't like using straight lines, so this might be one of the most fascinating designs you encounter!”

 

The town of Russell is well worth wandering around, and is a short ferry ride from Paihia. There’s a minibus tour (you’ll have to book ahead) that takes you around the historic and scenic spots.

 

 

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We will be there in January and booked a tour through Viator.  It is a small group in a mini-bus. It will go to the Hunderwasser toilets, Waimte Misssion Station, Harauru Waterfall, tasting at Makana Chocolaties and Kawati Caves,

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24 minutes ago, Nonnie1975 said:

We will be there in January and booked a tour through Viator.  It is a small group in a mini-bus. It will go to the Hunderwasser toilets, Waimte Misssion Station, Harauru Waterfall, tasting at Makana Chocolaties and Kawati Caves,

Thanks. I did look at the Viator option and may book that one if we don't find something else. 

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1 hour ago, Nonnie1975 said:

We will be there in January and booked a tour through Viator.  It is a small group in a mini-bus. It will go to the Hunderwasser toilets, Waimte Misssion Station, Harauru Waterfall, tasting at Makana Chocolaties and Kawati Caves,

That’s a good mix of things to see and do.

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Your might want to look at 'shoretripsandtours'. You'd be booking directly with them and not a third-party.  No first-hand experience yet, so I can't actually recommend them, but I was impressed with their quick responses answering questions I had. We've booked with them for two ports earlier in January.

 

For Bay of Islands Glowworms, they offer a full-day tour and an express tour (that may stop at the toilets : ) that would allow you enough time to visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds easily done on your own near the tender.

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Thanks everyone for the info and ideas. Now having done some more research, it seems the Shore Trips and Tours Bay of Islands Highlights with Glowworm caves and the Viator Small Group Bay of Islands Highlights with Glow Worm Caves are the same tour possibly same operator? Tour times of 6 hours are the same starting at 0930 and include Kawakawa's Hundertwasser toilets, Kerikeri and Paihia Townships, Makana Boutique Chocolates , The Haruru waterfall, The Kawiti Glow Worm Caves (entrance & guided tour),  Waimate Mission Station (entrance)Even the wording on the sites is similar in regards to a larger 22 seater minibus that may be used in some cases. Price is the same. The only notable difference is that Shore Trips & Tours cancellation policy includes a statement about 100% refund if the ship is unable to make port whereas the only info I can find on Viator about cancellation is that the fee is not refundable unless cancellation is made at least 3 days in advance. I can't find any mention of refund if cruise doesn't make port. Will likely book the one through Shore Trip and Tours. 

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Could you please tell me how far the walk from rmtender boats to the treaty house is.  Is it an easy walk?   Asking for a friend who struggles a bit walking but is ok on the flat 10 mins or so.

Thank you

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On 11/26/2019 at 9:52 PM, banditoo said:

Thanks everyone for the info and ideas. Now having done some more research, it seems the Shore Trips and Tours Bay of Islands Highlights with Glowworm caves and the Viator Small Group Bay of Islands Highlights with Glow Worm Caves are the same tour possibly same operator? Tour times of 6 hours are the same starting at 0930 and include Kawakawa's Hundertwasser toilets, Kerikeri and Paihia Townships, Makana Boutique Chocolates , The Haruru waterfall, The Kawiti Glow Worm Caves (entrance & guided tour),  Waimate Mission Station (entrance)Even the wording on the sites is similar in regards to a larger 22 seater minibus that may be used in some cases. Price is the same. The only notable difference is that Shore Trips & Tours cancellation policy includes a statement about 100% refund if the ship is unable to make port whereas the only info I can find on Viator about cancellation is that the fee is not refundable unless cancellation is made at least 3 days in advance. I can't find any mention of refund if cruise doesn't make port. Will likely book the one through Shore Trip and Tours. 

 

You are probably correct that they are the same tour, as Viator is a third party tour vendor, not a provider. Better to book with the vendor if possible.

 

FWIW - We will be traveling in April and are only interested in small group or private tours to the caves. Here are some notes I took earlier regarding options for visiting the Glow Worm Caves. They are from posts here or TripAdvisor but, sorry, I am not able to give credit to the original posters:

 

Take a shuttle from the tender to the parking area. In the parking lot near the Bay of Islands I-Site visitor center in Paihia, there will be tour vendors advertising trips around the area.
If you are reluctant to go from vendor to vendor in the parking lot, go inside the Visitor Center and they'll give you the info on which vendor goes to where you want to go and even book it from the office. (which was 50 feet away from the outdoor vendor tables) (On our tour, half of the people had booked from inside the Visitor's Center and the other half, like us, just walked up to her table in the parking lot and asked about the tour.
OR if you like having a something planned in advance before getting off the ship, Go online and
Check out Shore Trips and Tours. They are a reputable New Zealand Tour company. Lots of cruise people take tours with them. They have group tours that include the Kawiti Caves.

 

And another-

    This is the company I used for our cruise last April to see the glow worms.  Phil was great, provided 2 car seats for my 6 and 4 year old and on 24 hours notice changed our tour from morning to afternoon.  Ended up only being the 4 of us on the tour.
 Phil Bell
ABC Shuttle and Tours
Ph. 022 025 0800
E-mail: info@abcshuttle.co.nz
www.abcshuttle.co.nz

Edited by sippican

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The first quote in Sippican's post is mine, so I won't repeat my experience on what we did.

But a couple of notes, most tours leave mid- morning (10-11) from Paihia, which gives you ample time to take the ship tender's to the dock and then the free shuttle bus to Paihaia. The tour got back around 3 pm, so that gave us about an hour to walk around the town before catching the shuttle bus back to the tender dock.  Because of that schedule we didn't have ample time to visit the Waiting treaty grounds nor did we feel like paying the AUD$50 admission price.

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I have booked with Shore Trips and Tours for the 6 hour Highlights including Glow Worm Caves. Looking forward to the day!

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Same here booked with Shore Trips and Tours but the 2hrs Glow Worm tour. 

 

@banditoo did you receive a confirmation email and where to meet them ?

 

Sea ya

Eric

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7 hours ago, nimiq said:

Same here booked with Shore Trips and Tours but the 2hrs Glow Worm tour. 

 

@banditoo did you receive a confirmation email and where to meet them ?

 

Sea ya

Eric

nimiq

We did receive the following email message. You need to log onto the account that you created on their website when booking and can send or receive messages form them there. You also need to print out your tour voucher when you have logged into your account. 

 

 

image.png.eee6449b8bbd511b12e103e33b1be274.png

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1 hour ago, banditoo said:

nimiq

We did receive the following email message. You need to log onto the account that you created on their website when booking and can send or receive messages form them there. You also need to print out your tour voucher when you have logged into your account. 

 

 

image.png.eee6449b8bbd511b12e103e33b1be274.png

Perfect got it later.

 

thanks 

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