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Sail through the caves lit up by glowworms


About 137 miles south of Auckland, on New Zealand’s North Island, lies the Waitomo Caves. Seeming to be an entirely different realm, thanks to a kind of glowworm—Arachnocampa Luminosa, growing spider-worms—that illuminate the caves and its limestone formations.

Thousands of these glowworms make Waitomo caves their homes, giving out an incredible blue-green luminescent effect both day and night. In Māori, the name of the caves loosely translates to water passing through a hole’, with ‘titiwai’ meaning glowworms in Māori.

For a place as special as this, visitors who wish to explore the caves would have to book a tour. The tour would be in small groups and will take visitors into the dark water on boats, and almost immediately, you would be able to catch glimpses of glowing light.

In addition to the luminescent creatures, stalagmites and stalactites in the caves form all kinds of unusual and cool shapes and sizes, with many of the areas named accordingly to the shapes.

Despite being famously connected to Waitomo Caves, the glowworms can be found throughout New Zealand including Wellington Botanical Gardens and the McLaren Falls on North Island and Arthur’s Pass on the South Island.

Want to witness the magical effect of the glowworms? The Waitomo caves are open to visitors all year round, but advance reservations is highly recommended. During summer in the southern hemisphere, November to March, there are tours every 15 minutes between 8.30am to 5.30pm.

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