Thousands of tiny glowworms call these caves home and light up the dark tunnels with the most magical
light show I have ever seen (maybe only second after the aurora borealis).
The caves were first discovered in 1887 by the local Maori Chief Tane Tinorau and an English surveyor Fred Mace. The local Maori people knew that the Caves existed, but the caverns had never been explored until Fred and Tane decided to go inside.
The explorers first entered the caves by boat, but these days you can explore the beautiful tunnels on foot before you enter the underwater stage of the light show.
One magnificent glow-worm-free part of the caves is the ‘Cathedral’ – which is the largest cabin at 8 metres in height. It is world-renowned for its superb acoustics, due to the enclosed shape and rough surface. Many famous singers and choirs have performed here. I don’t know how many other places in the world have their local Christmas concert in such a stunning subterranean setting.
Many of the employees at the Waitomo Caves are the descendants of the two explorers that first discovered the unique beauty and they all take great pride in the magical place, which is easily expressed from the enthusiasm in the wonderful cave tour, which includes the most enchanting silent boat ride you will ever board.
But the worms themselves are what make the tour so incredible. If you got up close and personal with a member of the glowing spectacle you probably wouldn’t be that impressed by the maggot-like creature that has you in awe. Glowworms are really just a freak of nature, an average worm with a mystical chemical reaction that helps them to attract food and put other creatures off eating them. Because let’s be honest, what creature in their right mind would eat something with the ability to look like a New Years Eve glow-stick.
But these natural New Years accessories sure know how to impress the crowds and the Waitomo Caves are spectacular and should not be missed on any visit to New Zealand’s North Island. Prepare to seriously appreciate one of my favourite freaks of nature in a show better than the New Years Eve fireworks.
CONTACT WAITOMO GLOWWORM CAVES
|Waitomo Glowworm Caves are just over 2 hours south of Auckland, 1 hour south of Hamilton, and 2 hours west of Rotorua. The Waitomo Glowworm Caves are situated 8km along Waitomo Caves Road, off State Highway 3.The Waitomo Glowworm Caves Visitor Centre also has Restaurant, Cafe, Exhibition Space, Theatre and Gift Shop.39 Waitomo Village Road (formerly Waitomo Caves Road)
Private Bag 501
NZ Freephone: 0800 456 922