Clifden Limestone Caves Ideal environment for glow-worms

Clifden Limestone Caves

Clifden Limestone Caves

Clifden Limestone Caves

The Clifden limestone caves are one of few cave systems in Southland.

The limestone at Clifden formed in the early Miocene time (over a million years ago) from the accumulation of shell fragments, sand and pebbles in a shallow sea.  This sediment was buried and compressed beneath further layers of sediment and later folded, uplifted and eroded to form the present land surface.

The caves contain various formations such as stalactites, stalagmites, cave weta and are an ideal environment for glow-worms to live in.

Inside Clifden Caves

Inside Clifden Caves

Ensure you have two good torches per person with spare batteries and warm clothing.  Ask for advice at the nearest Information Centre.

It will take approximately 1½ to 2 hours to travel through the entire cave system and return to the car park along the road.

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 makers which indicate the route through the cave system.

Warning: This cave system is subject to flash flooding.  Do NOT enter during or immediately after heavy rain, or if rain events are forecast.  To fully explore these caves, caving experience is essential.


1 kilometre north-east of the Clifden-Blackmount corner (State Highway 96). Signposted along the Clifden Gorge Road.  Parking is available adjacent to the entrance.

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