A pleasant drive south over the Bombay Hills into the rich dairy farmland of the Waikato, following the Waikato River past the sacred Maori burial ground of Mt Taupiri, to Ngaruawahia, seat of the Maori King Movement.
Turning westwards, we take a more scenic rural route to Waitomo via small settlements, to the village of Pirongia beside the 962m mountain of the same name. We’ll take time to relax here for a tea/coffee break. The rolling countryside affords some great elevated views over the surrounding farmland, you can even view Mt Ruapehu in the centre of the North Island on a clear day.
At Waitomo we take the Footwhistle guided tour comprising of an hour 15 mins duration (Note; This is a dry tour). A more personalized experience with no more than twelve in the group, where you are able to get right up close to the glow worms (Arachnocampa) and take photos! A hearty lunch now beckons.
Our drive continues east deeper into the country side, visiting the 35m high Marakopa Falls, often described as our country's most beautiful waterfall with an easy walk through Nikau and Tawa forest to the viewing platform, then on to the Mangapohue Natural Bridge, a 17m high natural limestone arch (all that remains of an ancient cave system) which spans the Mangapohue Stream, The track continues over farmland where you can see 25 million year old fossilised oysters exposed in the limestone outcrops. Before returning to Auckland.
With so much to do in Waitomo, here are some options that may interest you... Cave tubing, Waitomo Glow Worm Cave, Kiwi House
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