An hour south of Hamilton and a small diversion on route to Rotorua, the glowing world of Waitomo awaits. Most of the area’s natural wonders can be found below the earth’s surface as rolling hills and unspoilt native bush gives way to subterranean limestone caverns., Waitomo’s (wai meaning water and tomo meaning hole into the ground in Maori) visually awe-inspiring cave network draws people looking for adventure and those looking for a sense of wonder.

You may also wish to walk to the Marokopa falls ,here the Marokopa River cascades over the undercut greywacke basement rock, located 31 km west of Waitomo, on Te Anga Road, certainly worth the extra excursion. If you are wanting to see Kiwi (the bird like ones not human), Otorohanga celebrates all things kiwi, from No 8 wire to pavlova. It’s also home to the Otorohanga Kiwi House & Native Bird Park, where you are guaranteed a sighting of the nocturnal bird that has come to represent the country. South of Waitomo Te Kuiti, is the (sheep) shearing capital of the world. A trip to Rotorua via Waitomo is certainly one worth doing, with many opportunities to experience small town rural New Zealand.