One of New Zealand's biggest tourist sites is celebrating a major milestone this month, with the Waitomo Glowworm Caves marking 125 years of guiding through the attraction.

The glowworm caves are operated by Tourism Holdings, and chief executive Grant Webster said the work of tourism pioneers more than a century ago have helped the caves grow into one of New Zealand's most recognised tourist destinations.

"In 1889 local Maori, including Tanetinorau, opened the doors to visitor tours at the Waitomo Glowworm Caves - and it's been a very special place for both the local people and visitors ever since."

Operations manager Gordon Hewston said the native glowworms had helped put this country on the world map, saying millions had visited to learn more about our "mysterious and magical underground world".


The Ruapuha Uekaha Hapu Trust, Tourism Holdings and the Department of Conservation are hosting a series of events called Limestone, People & Time - starting on September 6 - to commemorate the event.

It includes a Glowworm Ball at the Waitomo Caves Hotel, photographic and art exhibitions and a Caves staff reunion.

Mr Hewston said the aim was to celebrate the past, present and future of the Caves.

Photo / Waitomo Caves Discovery Centre