Te Anau Glowworm Caves

Te-Ana-Eu Glowworm Caves

Useful Information

Location: On the western shores of Lake Te Anau, by boat from the town Te Anau. Lakefront wharf, Te Anau.
Open: NOV to MAR daily 14, 17, 18:45, 20:15.
APR to MAY daily 14, 18:45, 20:15.
JUL to SEP daily 14, 18:45.
OCT daily 14, 18:45, 20:15.
Fee: Adults NZ$ 45, Children (-15) NZ$ 15. 20:15 departure Adults NZ$ 52.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave Speleologyriver cave. Tunnel Burn limestone, 35 Ma. BiologyGlowworm
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours: D=150 min. V=12,000/a [2000]
Photography: Photography and video cameras not permitted.
Address: Real Journeys, P.O. Box 1, Lakefront, Te Anau, Tel: +64-3-249-7416, Fax +64-3-249-7022, toll free 0800-656501, E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.



The name Te Anau Caves means caves of rushing waters. It is a place of waterfalls, rapids and whirlpools. This cave is a river cave with subterranean white water called Tunnel Burn Stream. The trail winds around and crosses the rushing waters and is rather impressing.

You first take a cruise across the lake to arrive at the western shores of Lake Te Anau. At Cavern House the guided tours start, as more people are on the boat than can go into the cave at once, several tours have to be made.

When our reviewer visited the cave, there were three tours, so the cave visit took only a little more than a third of the time. There was a detailed introduction for all visitors, which is necessary because of the loud roaring of the white water inside the cave. While you wait, there is time for refreshments at Cavern House or a stroll through the native rainforest. There is also a small exhibition on glowworms and the cave.

The glow worm grotto lies at the end of the cave and is visited on small boats. This cave is rather loud, so it is not so essential to be quiet to see the glowworms, which are very sensitive to sound, at least sound they are not used to. They are also sensitive to light, especially flashlight, so the glowworm part of the cave is not lighted, and photography and video are prohibited completely.

Although the river cave is very impressive, the cave visit is rather short as the boat ride to the cave makes most of the tour. Our guess is to take an afternoon trip, as you will not see much landscape on the night trip at 20:15. If you are not interested in a boat trip, you should think about visiting one of the other show caves of South Island instead. But if you have no chance to visit the Waitomo Caves, this is the only place to see glowworms on South Island.