We booked our tickets online for the 11:00am and the 1:00pm cave visits. Catching the 7:30am bus from Auckland Central we would get there around 10:30 with plenty of time.
We got to the bus stop around 7:15 and went to the ticket desk expecting to just buy a regular bus ticket. Nope, the one leaving at 7:30am was for a tour and was going to cost over 150 NZD per person. Since we had already bought our tickets online we asked when the next bus would be for. The lady said it was leaving at 8:45am with an arrival time of 12:30pm and the latest departure time back to Auckland being 4:00pm. Being these were the only options we booked it. I called the cave centre and asked if we were able to push our cave visit so we can still get to both of them with the time we had left, it was no problem at all! She said we would now be doing the Waitomo Glowworm Cave at 12:45pm - 1:30pm and the Ruakuri Cave ya 2:00pm - 4:00pm. Once I got that squared away I went back to the ticket lady and asked if there was a contact number I could have for our driver, I explained that the end of our tour was very close to the departure time and wanted to be able to let the driver know if we would be super late. Thankfully, our driving happened to be standing right beside me! We chatted and he said it was no problem at all and he’d keep an eye out for us.
So we get to the cave centre and then walked 500m down the road to get to the Waitomo Glowworm Cave. We went to the ticket counter showed our tickets (for the previous times) and she printed out new ones for us for both caves. We then made our way to the waiting line for a quick stand before the tour started.
Waitomo Glowworm Cave
This tour was about 45mins long. There was NO photography allowed. It showed the glowworms and a short cave walk ending with a 5min boat ride in pitch dark staring up at the glowworms.
We were allowed to take pictures of the exit from the cave.
Fun fact : male glowworms are born with no mouth. Their sole purpose in life is to mate and then starve to death.
This was my favourite tour out of the 2. The tour was just under 2hrs long and photography WAS allowed so that was a huge bonus. Our tour guide was super friendly and funny. We started the tour going through the man made spiral walk down into the cave.
Here are the best pictures I got of the Glowworms.