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Black Water Rafting Experience Waitomo Caves Tour

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Waitomo Caves, New Zealand
Black Water Rafting Experience Waitomo Caves Tour

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Free cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance. Learn more
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Safety measures
icon5 hours  (approx.)
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English
Good for avoiding crowds


Go Waitomo black-water rafting (cave tubing) for a memorable adventure in the Waitomo Caves. Choose a 3-hour Labyrinth experience that takes you floating underground on an inner tube, including a small waterfall jump. Or upgrade to the 5-hour Black Abyss for an exhilarating abseil (rappel) down limestone walls; instruction and equipment included. The resident glowworms, stalactites and stalagmites will amaze you! Finish with a hot shower, soup and bagel.
  • Fun and exhilarating, this caving adventure will have you floating, squeezing and leaping over cascading underground waterfalls
  • Choose between the Labyrinth tour, a 3-hour cave tubing adventure or the 5-hour Black Abyss tour for the ultimate thrill
  • Includes all necessary equipment
  • Wetsuits and footwear will be provided
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Abseiling techniques training (if option chosen)
The use of equipment such as tubes, wetsuits, boots, helmets, abseiling devices (if option chosen) and safety equipment
Complimentary hot shower
Entry to Waitomo Cave Museum
Hotel pickup and drop off
Food and drinks, unless specified
Waitomo Homestead , 584 State Highway 3, Waitomo Caves 3977, New Zealand

Departure Point: Waitomo Homestead, 584 State Highway 3, Waitomo 3977 Directions: Driving Directions: • SH 1 from Auckland to Hamilton Turn right SH 3 to Otorohanga • Follow SH 3 to Waitomo Caves, the Waitomo Homestead will be on your right Return point: Returns to original departure point

This activity will end right where it started.
Start your black-water tubing adventure in Waitomo. An expert guide ensures you’re properly equipped with gear — including wetsuit and inner tube — and offers some technical instruction before you descend into the underground network at Waitomo Caves. 

If you choose The Labyrinth, you’ll experience walking and caving along with a small waterfall jump. Upgrade to The Black Abyss and start your invigorating journey with a rappel into the subterranean playground with your guide while suited up in helmet, boots and safety equipment. (See options below.)

Prepare to be awed by a magnificent display of glowworms in addition to stalactites and stalagmites that decorate the cavern walls as you traverse through the black water. At the end of your exhilarating journey through Waitomo’s vaulted limestone galleries, enjoy a hot shower, hearty soup and bagel.

The Labyrinth (3 Hours)Float on your inner tube through the remarkable underground river system at Waitomo Caves. Ride a stream that twists and turns through a canyon, and tumble down a hidden waterfall and rock slide before emerging into the sun-dappled Waitomo forest.

The Black Abyss (5 Hours)Those with a moderate level of fitness can up the ante on this Waitomo tubing adventure. After abseiling training and practice with your guide, you’ll rappel 121 feet (37 meters) into the black water–filled abyss. Enjoy adrenaline-fueled fun as you clamber down, float through the canyon and scramble up waterfalls before resurfacing into daylight.
Stop At:  
The Legendary Black Water Rafting Co.
The Labyrinth This popular tour involves a combination of walking and floating on an inner tube through a unique underground river system. As you prepare for your adventure your professional guide will ensure you are properly equipped and teach you some fun techniques before you climb down into nature's underground network for an enjoyable cave tubing experience of a lifetime! Streams spill, twist, turn and join to build a river canyon. Glide with the water as it drops down the hidden waterfall and tumbles down rocky chutes before sliding through vaulted limestone galleries to finally emerge into the dazzling green Waitomo forest. Prepare to be amazed at the naturally occurring decorations within the cave including stalactites and stalagmites. This exhilarating journey also provides a spectacular visual display of glowworms. At the end of your experience enjoy a hot shower, hearty soup and bagel.
Duration: 3 hours 
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Includes: caving and walking, cave tubing (black water rafting), glow worms, small waterfall jump
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Ruakuri Cave
The Black Abyss Feel the adrenaline as you abseil into the dark, seemingly bottomless depths of Ruakuri Cave. Zipline through a gallery of glowworms and climb underground waterfalls as you test your limits on this truly unforgettable journey. For the ultimate in adventure caving tours, look no further than the Black Abyss. Descend into the seemingly bottomless depths of Ruakuri Cave before zip lining through a gallery of illuminating glowworms on this unforgettable journey. Begin your journey by abseiling into the depths of mysterious Ruakuri Cave. Explore the subterranean world and discover what lives under the ground in Waitomo Caves as your experienced guides weave you through a glowworm-studded wonderland. Zipline through a gallery of glowworms and jump off cascading underground waterfalls as you test your limits on this truly unforgettable journey. Our trained guides will give you abseil training before you begin your descent underground. After you’ve discovered true adventure in Waitomo, warm up with a hot shower and some hot soup on bagels, on us.
Duration: 5 hours 
Admission Ticket Free
  • Confirmation will be received within 48 hours of booking, subject to availability
  • All participants on this tour must weigh at least 45 kilograms
  • Water temperature is approximately 10 degrees Celsius
  • The Waitomo Caves are located 121 miles (195 km) from Auckland. Rountrip transport from Auckland is not included
  • Please note: the minimum age for following tours are:
  • The Black Abyss: 16 years of age
  • The Labyrinth: 12 years of age
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Near public transportation
  • Please note: the Black Labyrinth tour is a beginner level caving adventure, almost anyone can give it a go!
  • Bring swimwear & a towel
  • Travelers should have a moderate physical fitness level
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 15 travelers
  • OPERATED BY THL - Waitomo Caves Group
You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.
  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.

Learn more about cancellations.

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What is the policy on sanitization during Black Water Rafting Experience Waitomo Caves Tour?
A:The policies on sanitization are:

  • Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
  • Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
  • Transportation vehicles regularly sanitized
See all safety measures taken by Black Water Rafting Experience Waitomo Caves Tour.
What is the social distancing policy during Black Water Rafting Experience Waitomo Caves Tour?
A:The policy on social distancing is:

  • Social distancing enforced throughout experience
See all safety measures taken by Black Water Rafting Experience Waitomo Caves Tour.
What measures are being taken to ensure staff health & safety during Black Water Rafting Experience Waitomo Caves Tour?
A:The policy on staff health & safety is:

  • Guides required to regularly wash hands
See all safety measures taken by Black Water Rafting Experience Waitomo Caves Tour.

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Traveler Tips

  • "If you do it in the winter be prepared to be super cold." See review
  • "The guides do spend a lot of time getting you suited up and explaining things, but I tend to get nervous about physical activities like this, so I'll take all the safety briefing I can get." See review


119 Reviews

Reviews by Viator travelers

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Showing 1-10 of 119 reviews
Definite “must-do”!
, Feb 2022
A totally new experience, great fun, informative and confident guides to put any fear at ease. Look after them - they’re your biggest asset second to the natural environment and will make it break a trip and recommendation. Mitch and Ollie were the bees knees 🤩🤩
Good experience and I haven’t done this before
, Jan 2022
Guides were good , happy and engaging with everyone. Cave was good for a beginner and I’m glad I did this
Fabulouso, awsomeness!!
, Aug 2021
The whole experience was memorable. Our guides were absolutely fabulouso! So much fun, it was just amazing. Thank you all for making it a trip to remember xx
, Mar 2020
Absolutely the best. Our guides were awesome and funny but always ensuring our safety. Very knowledgeable. Best experience!
, Mar 2020
Our guides, were awesome. They made sure that we had a safe and fun time. We loved every minute of it.
The Best Glow Worm Cave Tour
, Mar 2020
We did the abyss, 5 hour, tour and it was the greatest adventure! It was our first introduction to caving and it was so cool and so fun. It feels like you’re descending into the world of Avatar. The glow worms are a spectacular sight. Our guides were AWESOME as well! So fun and entertaining, always giving you a laugh as you trek through the cave. HIGHLY RECOMMEND for any adventurous souls out there!
1 traveler found this review helpful
Black Magic Trip
, Mar 2020
Great day underground with two guides who made very enjoyable. Water was low due to lack of rain in NZ but still worth doing this activity. Bit pricey though.
Unique experience
, Feb 2020
This experience was indescribable! It was much more intense then I though - although the guides being all gen xers are full of energy and very supportive - it’s cold - irregular footing but I loved it !
Maggot poop
, Feb 2020
Our two guides Sass&Summer were excellent. Informative and careful. Their instructions were to the point. It was a good experience
Scary but fun
, Feb 2020
Great instructor/guides. yan is hilarious made us laugh and feel comfortable the entire time. I’ve never done something like this before. Jumping backwards off waterfalls underground is a definite first! But I’m so glad I did it. The hot showers at the end were amazing.
Fun tour
, Jan 2020
The tour was a lot of fun for my wife and I. It was just the right amount of excitement for the both of us. It was a short rapel and zipline. Most of the time was spent exploring the caves. Be prepared to be cold - they do provide wetsuits and booties.
Maybe Yes or Maybe Not For You
, Jan 2020
We did not expect to be walking on uneven rocks to and in the caves, however the glow worms were worth it. Guides were helpful. Especially Kit. For those how are weak in the heart take the boat tour. Great time if you are going for it.
Amazing Experience!!
, Dec 2019
Our family of 8 had the best time ever on this experience! We did the Black Abyss Tour and we are so forever grateful we did. You get to abseil into the cave, then go on a zip line through the dark, all while seeing hundreds of glowworms! It was very cool. You get a few snacks along the way as well to keep you going. The rafting part was very cold, but all of us enjoyed our overall experience. I 100% recommend doing this tour!
Highlight of the North Island
, Dec 2019
You can see glow worms on another tour, but THIS is the way to do it! We did the Black Abyss Tour, and it was pricey but so worth it. I loved it! The guides do spend a lot of time getting you suited up and explaining things, but I tend to get nervous about physical activities like this, so I'll take all the safety briefing I can get. Our guides were wonderful. We had Jackson, and I feel terrible I can't remember our other guide's name, because he was the BEST! Shorter with nearly buzzed hair and glasses. He was hilarious as well. You don't have to do anything you're uncomfortable with on this trip, but it was challenging and fun. Learning to rappel (abseil) was super cool. I was a little surprised I had to feed the rope to start my descent though; guess my 135 pounds aren't enough. I was nervous about jumping into the water because I'm not a strong swimmer, but I was totally fine. You have an innertube for part of it. Your wetsuit keeps you buoyant, and I had no problem on the short stretch where you have to swim. I won't give away all the parts of the tour, but there is a lot of physical activity. There is another way around for almost everything though if you're uncomfortable with any activity. We had a smaller group, which made it more enjoyable too. I did not do the waterfall climb out, because I was too nervous, but I regret that, because Jackson was there and would pretty much push you up if you had any trouble at all. Absolutely book this tour! It was probably my favorite thing we did in New Zealand. The one and only complaint I have is you're not allowed to bring a camera or Go Pro, which would have been awesome. I do kind of understand, because it would be distracting and slow things down if everyone was trying to get their own photos. The only way you can get pictures is to buy the ones the guides take. The price wasn't bad, and we bought our group's package, but there weren't very many pictures of my husband and me, which was disappointing.
This was one of the best experiences of our lives.
, Sep 2019
The staff was beyond amazing. They were very helpful and knowledgeable. The experience was amazing. While it was cold, it was worth it. They prepare your for that and your determination will warm you up. Pay extra for the 5 hour. You will not regret it.
Awesome experience
Roni W
, Jun 2019
This experience was amazing! We were a little hesitant since we were doing it in the winter, but it was still totally worth it. If you do it in the winter be prepared to be super cold. They give you everything you need to stay as warm as possible. At the end they even give you the chance to take a much needed hot shower.
Amazing!! The guides were wonderful...
, Mar 2018
Amazing!! The guides were wonderful and it was really a spectacular tour. The caves were incredible and the glowworms seemed 'otherwordly'. Just a fantastic experience!
Lots of fun. Really cool way to explore...
, Feb 2018
Lots of fun. Really cool way to explore the caves and see the gloworms!
Simple and easy to register. Dale...
, Feb 2018
Simple and easy to register. Dale and Mikayla were fun guide a but also ensured safety, even advising where to put our feet! Wonderful floating and seeing the gloworm. VERY COLD, even by my standards. Hot shower and warm soup was a nice touch at the end.
This tour was so much fun that we...
, Jan 2018
This tour was so much fun that we are still talking about it 5 years later! Two thumbs up from us!

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