Limestone caves are the most common found in New Zealand with some lava caves found in the Auckland area. Although there are caves in almost all area of the country the most popular areas for caving are at Waitomo, in the Western North Island, North West Nelson and Northern Westland on the West Coast of the South Island. Caving tourism developed as early as 1900 at Waitomo.

In 1905 the Tourist Department took over the management of the caves. Small boats floated visitors into the Waitomo glow-worm cave, and walking tours took people into dry areas.

Black-water rafting – wearing a wetsuit and floating through a cave on a rubber tube – began at Waitomo in 1987, offering tourists more of an adventure experience.

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