Kayaking in a glowworm cave
$130 Per Person *
Book Now >
* a premium rate of $140 applies from 26 December to 31 January

Relax on the edge of tranquil Lake McLaren, enjoy locally produced refreshments while watching the ducks and swans go about their evenings preparations. At dusk our kayak tour guides will lead you onto the lake to watch the sun set over the rolling hills. Gently paddle on your kayak into the night and discover the magic of the enchanting glow worm canyon...

$130 Per Person *
Book Now >
* a premium rate of $140 applies from 26 December to 31 January
A truly wonderful, unique and magical kayak tour experience. If I had only experienced this one glory then this two weeks in NZ would have been justified.

Bruce Elder
Sydney Morning Herald


Magical, Enchanting, Surreal, Amazing!

If any of the above words described the activity you and your group are looking for, then the Glow Worm Kayak Tour is for you.

This is a truly unique experience; while you can see glow worms elsewhere in New Zealand, and you can paddle a sea kayak in many places around the world, this is the only place when the two combine for a magical & truly unique experience. This glow worm kayak tour is great fun with great refreshments, beautiful scenery, fantastic birdlife and awesome glow worms.

Enjoy wine from the award winning Mills Reef winery, delicate New Zealand cheeses and refreshments on the edge of Lake McLaren. Our kayak tour guides will prepare and brief you on how to kayak effectively before launching you onto picturesque Lake McLaren at twilight to paddle your kayak to the mysterious glow worm canyon.

The glow worms are situated in a narrow, high-sided canyon at the top of the lake, not in a cave, so our kayak tour only departs once a day before sunset so by the time we get to the glow worm canyon it’s completely dark, as required to see the glow worms to the best effect.

Paddling a kayak may be something you have tried before, but you probably haven’t kayaked at night (we provide head-torches) and certainly not have kayaked in the dark to see constellations of glow worms. It is a fully guided kayak tour, with our professional kayaking guides leading your group and providing a fascinating & informative brief about the life cycle and peculiarities of the New Zealand fungus gnat (glow worms).

A truly magical & unique experience; not to be missed!

Spectacular, gorgeous, educational, unforgettable.

 November 2013

My 8 year old daughter and I did this tour in November 2013. I would just like to say that I will never forget this experience as long as I live. We paddled our kayak in the most beautiful and pristine lake surrounded by the lushness of untouched NZ. The guides were super friendly and informative about the geography and history of the areas we visited. They were also very skilled kayakers. I felt very safe with them. They also educated us on the native people of NZ, their customs and their way of life.
The beauty that I shared with my daughter paddling in front of me, taking it all in as well, was a bonding and unforgettable experience.

Haney - Tauranga Bay of Plenty

Want to know more?

Take a look at what others have said about this glow worm tour.

Kayak Tour Duration

Approximately 1-1½ hour kayaking. Total tour duration: 3-3½ hour tour.


Enjoy a cheeseboard & fruit platter with NZ wines & juice at sunset during the warmer months; or salami, dried kiwi fruit and locally made mulled wine during the winter months.

Age, Fitness & Clothing Requirements

  • All guests are welcome from 8 years old and above.
  • Moderate fitness required. Please inform your kayak tour guide of any medical conditions.
  • We provide stable, comfortable double sea-kayaks, paddles, spray decks, paddle-jackets & buoyancy aids. (fleeces will also be provided if required)
  • We will provide all kayaking gear for the Glow Worm Tour, but we recommend everyone brings a fleece top or similar for additional warmth while enjoying the refreshments on the lake edge (the coolest part of the evening), once we get the gear on for kayaking and start paddling you will be toasty warm. A hat is recommended in cool or wet weather.
  • Please wear comfortable light warm clothing, we recommend that people don't wear denim jeans; while you are unlikely to get wet, jeans are heavy, cold and uncomfortable if they do get wet.
  • This kayak tour can operate in almost all weather conditions. Please read our tour Terms & Conditions at the link below & contact Waimarino if in doubt.
  • Minimum 2 clients.


  • Transport from Waimarino Adventure Park to the tour launch site, and return is included.
  • We can provide transport from & to your accommodation at an extra cost of $25 per person. This option is available from our booking page.


For onsite accommodation take a look at: airbnb.co.nz

Departure Times

Please come to Waimarino Adventure Park 15 minutes prior to the departure time.

January 1945 (7:45pm)
February 1930 (7:30pm)
March (1st - 15th) 1845 (6:45pm)
March (16th - 31st) 1800 (6:00pm)
April (1st - daylight saving end) 1800 (6:00pm)
April (daylight saving end - 30th) 1645 (4:45pm)
May (1st - 15th) 1615 (4:15pm)
May (16th - 31st) 1600 (4:00pm)
June 1600 (4:00pm)
July 1615 (4:15pm)
August 1645 (4:45pm)
September (1st - daylight saving starts) 1700 (5:00pm)
September (daylight saving starts - 30th) 1830 (6:30pm)
October 1830 (6:30pm)
November 1900 (7:00pm)
December 1930 (7:30pm)

24 hours booking notice preferred.

$130 Per Person *
Book Now >
* a premium rate of $140 applies from 26 December to 31 January