Located right above the famous Waitomo Caves, you’ll find New Zealand’s most haunted hotel: the Waitomo Caves Hotel. People have died between the walls of this Victorian hotel, but some hauntings find their origins from the time the hotel wasn’t even build yet. Add a couple of Maori mythical creatures to it and the horror is complete.
The history of the Waitomo Caves Hotel
The Waitomo Caves Hotel was built on a hill in 1908, but due to an increase of popularity of the underlying Waitomo Glowworm Caves, it was renovated 20 years later to house more guests. But before the hotel even existed, the land had another purpose. To the Maori it was sacred (Tapu) land and it is said to be occupied by Taniwha, guardian (or predator) beings that lurk in deep pools and rivers, dark caves and even at sea.
The Maori also believed the land was inhabited by the Patupaiarehe. These pale-skinned creatures live in deep forests and mountaintops and are said to lure people to their doom with their singing and flute music. The caves themselves were used as a Maori burial ground. There’s running water underneath the hotel and running water is said to attract ghosts. And it was used to accommodate a British fort. Therefore, it’s one big paranormal hotspot.
The Maori battles
The Maori resided in the area in 1350. Two massive battles were fought, right where the hotel and its gardens are now. One of these bloody battles, was the battle between the Kingitanga, the Maori King Movement, and the British Army. All the bloodshed must have triggered something on this land, for many ghosts reside at the hotel.
The ghosts of the Waitomo Caves Hotel
Many people claim to have seen, felt or heard something at the hotel. Some have experienced a time-slip in which they have completely lost track of time. Lights and objects are moving, footsteps are heard, and some people even feel “something” move right through them. According to the hotel management, the ghosts are harmless, and they mean well. The ghost of a Maori man, poor Mrs. Rutherford, the wife of the first owner whose dress accidently caught fire and the spirit of a woman dressed in Victorian clothes are just a few of the spirits that haunt the hotel.
The ghost of the Maori princess
The Waitomo Caves Hotel is haunted by a Maori princess. Her story is a tragic one. She is said to have fallen in love with a British soldier who was stationed at the fort that used to be here. She snuck out one night, hoping to meet her lover in secret, but was mistaken for a Maori warrior by a sentry guard. The princess was shot and died at the spot. Her spirit has been seen in the entire hotel, but mainly in the Victorian wing where she haunts room 12. There she moves the lights in the en-suite bathroom, and she is notorious for pulling off bedsheets. She has also been seen in the attic where she moans all night.
The young man that stayed in room 14 a long time ago, had a scary encounter with the Maori princess. He told other guests that he felt her pass through him. Shortly after he dropped that message, he went up to his room and took his own life. He still haunts this room and the adjoining corridors. People claim to have seen blood dripping in the bathtub of this room, even though the young man killed himself by hanging.
The ghost of Cat Alley
Cat Alley is the name of a cluster of small rooms and corridors for workers and maids to sleep in. Cat Alley connected these rooms to the kitchen and the restaurant. One night in the 1930’s, one of the maid’s snug in her little boy at night. He accidently knocked over a pot with boiling water and got burned so badly that he died of his injuries. The staff has been calling him Daniel. He is said to be giggling, skipping and children who stay at the hotel often complain about being followed by a strange boy.
Like many hotels, there’s no room 13 at the Waitomo Caves Hotel. Number 13 is called 12A, and it’s incredibly haunted. Objects are being moved and footprints are heard AND seen. Someone accidentally spilled talcum powder on the floor and powdered footprints were formed by unseen feet.
Room 25 is a room the staff doesn’t like to come. People complain having an uneasy feeling, screams are heard, and objects are moved here as well. This room is haunted by a former staff member. She still gives orders to the staff as if she’s still in charge today.
The Waitomo Caves Hotel today
This beautiful hotel is still in operation today. The location is breathtaking, overlooking Waitomo Village from the hill and its beautiful gardens. Not to mention the gorgeous Waitomo Glowworm Caves! The hotel itself might seem a bit outdated, but it’s a charming place where you’re well looked after. And you might run into a ghost or two.
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Cover photo: Shaun Jeffers via Shutterstock
Sources: Wikipedia, waitomocaveshotel.co.nz, hauntedaukland.com, nzrentacar.co.nz and nzherald.co.nz.
Address: Hotel Access Rd, Waitomo Caves, Waitomo 3977, New Zealand.