The Greenwood Guide to New Zealand
Waikato and King Country, New Zealand

Nature and Activities in Waikato and King Country, New Zealand

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Spellbound

Waitomo Caves

Adventure activities

Brought to you by the man who invented (and coined the phrase) ‘black-water-rafting’, Spellbound offers an enthralling (and dry) cave-venturing alternative. The galaxy of glowworms and the intricate knowledge possessed by this small and personable operation have impressed the likes of (no less than) Sir David Attenborough. For the best glowworm appreciation Waitomo has to offer Spellbound remains absurdly modest and incredibly good value.

Spellbound
  • Prices: Adults $55 pp, children (4-14 yrs) $20 pp, children (0-3 yrs) free.
  • Contact: Waitomo Caves Museum, 21 Waitomo Caves Road, Waitomo Caves
  • Tel: 07-878-7640 or freephone 0800-773-552 (within New Zealand) (0800 SPELLB)
  • Fax: 07-878-7622
  • Email: info@glowworm.co.nz
  • Web: www.glowworm.co.nz
  • Updated: 31/01/2008

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Absolute Adventure

Waitomo Caves

Adventure activities

Rigged up in overalls, harness, helmet and gumboots I was exposed to 'Lucky Strike' (the McKay’s impressive formation-filled cave) and its many rocky challenges. This is serious caving action and my most amazing experience to date. Groups of no more than 4 abseil, squirm and clamber under the watchful eyes of an inconspicuous guide. Adrenaline rush guaranteed, a towel and change of underwear recommended... that's what they say!

Absolute Adventure
  • Prices: Mission trip: 2 hrs underground, 4 hrs in total $100. Expedition trip: 4 hrs underground, 6 hrs in total $175. Free CD of photos from trip.
  • Contact: Waitomo Museum of Caves, Waitomo Caves
  • Tel: 07-878-8274
  • Cel: 027-567-8083
  • Email: justine@absoluteadventure.co.nz
  • Web: www.absoluteadventure.co.nz
  • Updated: 31/01/2008

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Otorohanga Kiwi House

Otorohanga

Bird experts & tours

For those wishing to spot a real-life version of New Zealand’s national symbol this is the place to do it. Night and day have been reversed at the Otorohanga kiwi house with the aid of an artificial moon and good ol' black-out techniques. These wacky nocturnal birds were a lot bigger than I expected. When you consider this charity-run conservation operation also houses one of New Zealand’s largest walk-in aviaries and displays more bird knowledge than is safely recordable in a day you’ll feel guilty not paying more than the ridiculously low entry fee.

  • Prices: The cost of entry is $12.00 for adults and $4.00 for children (5-16 years old) accompanied by adults. Children under 5 years old are free.
  • Contact: Alex Telfer Drive, Otorohanga
  • Tel: 07-873-7391
  • Fax: 07-873-7356
  • Email: admin@kiwihouse.org
  • Web: www.kiwihouse.org.nz
  • Updated: 31/01/2008

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Hamilton Gardens

Hamilton

Botany & gardens

58ha of gardens in the heart of Hamilton. This massive town-set oasis includes five different-themed garden collections which arouse each sense with colour, smell and birdsong.

  • Tel: 07-838-6782
  • Updated: 31/01/2008

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Waitomo Golf Course

Otorohanga

Golf

Waikato has 46 golf courses in total. One of the most recommended was Waitomo’s easy-going country course. The 18-hole course measures up to championship standard yet is as friendly as they come.

  • Tel: 07-873-7978
  • Updated: 31/01/2008

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Waikato and King Country Highlights

  • Check out the English-style countryside of Cambridge. The rural village is famous for breeding and training thoroughbred horses. You may even catch a spot of cricket on the green.
  • Take full advantage of the rolling landscapes, country gardens and rich farmland of the Waikato. This is Hobbit country and the most beautiful of shires.
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