Glow worms, Clifden Caves
Image: Dawn Patterson. | DOC



Explore the Clifden limestone caves and visit a fine example of a suspension bridge.

View the stalactites and glow worms within the rare Clifden cave system. Check safety information before you enter

The Clifden Suspension Bridge was an important transport link in what was a relatively remote part of Southland.

Find things to do and places to stay Clifden area

It will take you approximately 1.5 to 2 hours to travel through the entire cave system and return to the car park along the road. It's advisable to enter this cave system at the upper or lower entrances and travel south to the exit. This will minimise the time spent with wet footwear and clothing after passing through the pool section of the cave.

A high level of fitness and agility is required to navigate the cave system. Some passages are narrow and will require crawling on hands and knees. 

Follow the orange triangular markers which indicate the route through the cave system.

About one hour into the caves there is a small pool which requires a short sidle along a narrow ledge situated around the left hand side of the pool. This pool is cold and deep. Passing along the ledge should be undertaken one person at a time. The ledge is likely to be underwater – be prepared to get wet feet. 

Following along from the pool, there is an intersection – stay left in order to exit the cave system safely (the right hand route should only be undertaken by experienced cavers who have ropes and climbing equipment). After the pool there are several fixed ladders to climb up and down. These are only suitable for one person at a time.


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