NEW ZEALAND MUST DO: GLOWWORM CAVES, WAITOMO

NEW ZEALAND MUST DO: GLOWWORM CAVES, WAITOMO

When coming to New Zealand with Wild Kiwi we had a handful of experiences we simply had to do before we could officially tick off this destination, and exploring the caves of Waitomo was one of those bucket list experiences.

For those of you who has never heard of Waitomo, here is why it needs to be on your NZ bucket list…

With Wai meaning water and tomo meaning hole, hidden away under the rolling green farmland of Waitomo, there is an enormous labyrinth of caves. These caves have been slowly formed over millions and millions of years as underground streams have steadily eroded the limestone. There are a number of tours available that allow you to explore a few of these caves, and experience the unique glow worms!

Check out our vlog below to see what we got up to during our visit to Waitomo, and keep scrolling if you would like to read more on everything you need to know for a visit here!

Wait… What Are Glowworms?

Every year, thousands of travellers come to Waitomo to see the famous glow worms that line the ceilings of the nearby caves. The glow worms emit a phosphorescent glow that shines from the inside of the caves like a starry night.

Glow worms are the larval stage in the life of an insect called the fungus gnat. Just as maggots grow into common house flies, glow worms grow to become fungus gnats, which are similar to mosquitoes (but glowworm is a much nicer word to use than glow maggots).

The New Zealand glowworm is one of many creatures that naturally produce light (bioluminescence). The light is used to attract insects lost in the dark, which the glow worm catches and eats.


Exploring The Caves

There are a number of ways to see the glow worms. There’s the three-hour black-water tubing trip, the five-hour trip that includes abseiling and climbing, or you can explore via foot and boat. Travelling with quite a bit of camera gear we decided to go for the foot & boat tour with Spellbound so we could keep dry and capture our experience to share with you all!

Our tour was just over 3 hours long, visiting two caves – the first including a boat ride with hundreds of glow worms to see, and the second is a walk-through cave tour. Others on our Wild Kiwi tour went for the black-water tubing trip which they said was really fun and adventurous, but they only saw a couple of glow worms during the tour. So if you are after a glow worm experience we recommend the boat tour, however if you are more into exploring the caves than go for the tubing!


A big thank you to Wild Kiwi for supporting Flying the Nest and making this trip possible.

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