Spend more on activities like the glow-worm cave tours and black-water rafting and less on where you sleep with these wallet-friendly accommodation options in Waitomo, New Zealand, bookable on Culture Trip.
From spelunking to day trips to the Hobbiton movie set just one hour away, the cost of activities easily escalates in Waitomo. You can rein the budget in a little, however, by booking one of the village’s more affordable hotels. You might even be surprised by what you get for your buck – there are hot tubs, balconies and pools among these options.
Waitomo Orchard Estate B&B
4.4/5 (152 Reviews)
Courtesy of Waitomo Orchard Estate B and B / Expedia
This B&B is set in a sea of green countryside, a 10-minute drive from the glow-worm caves. Book the queen room with its pretty chandelier or the superior king room, with its parrot-print cushions and the B&B’s only private bathroom; you can take in the views from a private patio. Alternatively, hop in the hot tub and look out over the landscape until your fingers wrinkle.
Courtesy of Waitomo Homestead Cabins / Booking.com
Waitomo Homestead Cabins, with its two- and three-bed cabins and shared bathroom facilities, has set itself up as a great springboard to Waitomo’s attractions. It sells tickets to the glow-worm caves in its shop, and there’s a restaurant/deli on site that sells everything you’d need to make a packed lunch. Try the $3 (£1.65) pies – the locals love the chicken and broccoli the best. For post-exploring hours, meanwhile, there’s a large communal deck that’s topped with bean bags.
The glow-worm caves are a 10-minute walk from this guesthouse, run by a husband-and-wife team, with an extra welcome from Minnie, their cat. There are eight en-suite studios here and, away from the rooms, you get access to a wooden deck area and a shaded barbecue patio. Breakfast goes beyond the standard continental: host Lyn is known to make her own croissants, and extras like spinach and feta muffins often make it onto the menu, too.
Swaddled in bottle-green countryside on the hillside above Waitomo’s centre, the Waitomo Caves Hotel has a Victorian Wing that dates back to 1908 and an Art Deco Wing that was added in the 1920s. The whole place is crammed with characterful features like crystal chandeliers, indoor fountains and, in Room 5, an antique four-poster bed. Breakfast is quintessentially Kiwi – dig into toasted rēwena bread, rewarewa honey-smoked salmon and kumara sweet potato hash.
Locations don’t get much more convenient than this holiday park. It’s just 600 metres (0.4mi) from the glow-worm caves and across the road from Waitomo General Store. There’s a collection of accommodation options here, including cabins and motel rooms. The deluxe cabins put the smallest dent in the budget; they come with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. Whichever room you choose, you get access to an outdoor swimming pool, a hot tub and a barbecue area free of charge.
Offering pared-down dorm rooms with shared bathrooms and cabins with en-suites, Kiwi Paka is a good choice if you’re making an overnight pitstop while exploring Waitomo. The glow-worm caves are a 10-minute walk down the road, and you can drive to a black-water rafting site in 10 minutes, too. You have to pay extra for towels, and no alcohol is allowed on site. If you’re gasping for a drink, the Tomo Bar and Eatery is next door.
The fuss-free rooms and studios at this Otorohanga motel, 15 minutes’ drive from central Waitomo, all come with their own bathrooms. Guests also get access to a pool, a small spa pool and a communal kitchen where you can cook your own meals. Continental breakfasts are available on request, and a longer list of breakfast, lunch and dinner options can be found in Otorohanga centre – give the Inaka Sushi place a go and save room for the banana tempura dessert.
The Mangaokewa Stream flows past the eastern side of Waitomo Lodge Motel, in the village of Te Kuiti and a 15-minute drive from Waitomo centre. Many of the studio rooms have balconies that overlook the water. Some of the fresh-faced white-and-wood rooms also have their own kitchenettes. For bigger feeds, the Bosco Café over the road serves all-day breakfasts – try the savoury muffins – plus cakes and lunch dishes like seafood chowder and Kiwi burgers until 4pm.
A selection of dorm beds and rooms with and without en-suites are available at this hostel that’s surrounded by animal-dotted farmland, a five-minute drive from the glow-worm caves. The fully equipped kitchen lets you rein in holiday spending by making your own meals. Other facilities on the site include a swimming pool and a communal lounge-and-dining area, which is warmed by a crackling fire in colder months.
The motel rooms at Woodlyn Park are spread between a restored ship called Waitanic, the cockpit and the tail of a Bristol Freighter plane, a train cabin and a Hobbit-style hut with a grassy roof. Every room comes with an en-suite and a dinky kitchenette for making snacks. For more of a slap-up meal, you can walk into the centre of Waitomo in 10 minutes. Or, for breakfast, try the full Cave Man plate at the nearby Café at Waitomo Adventures.