Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023


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Waitomo Wander

Te Kuiti, Waikato

Submitted by Mike Tennent

Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023


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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 13 ?

Gnarl Factor: 39 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible

Out and Back

Undulating, small hills only

Native bush


Open farmlands


Run Makeup


Sealed Road

Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Technical Single Track

Untracked / Route only

Average Uphill Gradient: +8.1%

Average Downhill Gradient: -8.1%


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Estimated Times to Run







Starting at the rugby ground opposite the info centre, head to the back of the park behind the club rooms where you will see the ubiquitous green sign pointing to the start of the trail. Just follow the signs for Waitomo Trail all the way to the main Caves centre... there you will reach a tunnel under the road... go through that and immediately on the other side you will see the continuation of the Waitomo Trail off to the right.

Follow this for about 100m until you come onto the road with the car park on your left.... head about 80 metres along and go through the archway on your left and follow the trail along the river, through the farmland and then along the rivers through the bush some more.

Eventually you will come to one of the main car parks and look for the entrance to the Ruakuri Bush Walk... head into the trail and take the left turn that says “Natural tunnel viewing platform” and follow this trail. You will pass one trail turning very sharply right... ignore that for now. You will then come to a T intersection... go either way as it loops back to the same point. Take the time to savour the views and snap a few pics, because you will see some amazing stuff!

Then when you are heading back from the T section, this time veer left at the trail that you passed before and follow this past some more amazing caves and views to the start of the trail. Then retrace your steps to the start - with a couple of options.

When you get back to a section where there is farmland on your right, you will you climb quite a few steps. Watch out on the top section of this part for an unformed track off to the left. Follow this a few metres into a lovely small cave with a couple of natural pillars.

The next option is near the end where you can veer left to a lookout on a hill overlooking the town and the surrounding countryside.

Wonderful section through and into caves, and around some amazing land formations

If you know of any public toilets near the trail start or on the route, please login and then let us know so we can update this section.

Plenty of parking in the area.

18 km

17 minutes




Pretty hard to get lost on this one


Windproof jacket, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map, Headtorch and spare batteries

Plenty of water... not sure how drinkable.... but never far from civilisation

Muddy through the farm area in winter and after lots of rain

Low caves, mud, steps and some rocks

Trail Legend

Helen Rowland

Helen Rowland

has completed Waitomo Wander once in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

It's two short walks with some cool and interesting places to check out but not ideal for running connected by a mediocre farm section

jace jones

September 11, 2022

Nice easy trail for a detour on the drive south, flat and easily runnable

Murray Taylor

August 4, 2021

Really liked this trail with lots of interesting scenery. Yes couple of bits across paddocks a bit average but the good bits are excellent, and worth the effort. Run took an extra 15-20 just stopping to take photos. Didn't stick any mud, but there were bits of hard packed clay that were slippery due to rain. Most dangerous bits were the timber boards that form the steps, super smooth and when wet- slippery than an eels butt.

Glen Brownlee

April 22, 2021

The Ruakuri part of the trail is very cool but unfortunately the middle section of the trail which runs between a paddock and the stream has been badly neglected. The grass has completely overgrown the trail and the trail itself has been eroded and is falling into the stream. It is pretty dangerous in places so take great care!

Joe Benbow

January 22, 2020

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