Waitomo Glowworm Caves – New Zealand

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Waitomo Glowworm Caves New Zealand
Waitomo Glowworm Caves New Zealand

On the North Island of New Zealand, near the town of Waitomo, there are Waitomo Glowworm Caves “Firefly Caves”, attracting many tourists to these places. This New Zealand attraction owes its popularity to a large colony of fireflies that inhabit caves.

Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Waitomo Glowworm Caves New Zealand

Waitomo Glowworm Caves History

For the first time, Tang Tinoro, the former ruler of the local Maori people, began to explore the Waitomo Glowworm Caves “firefly caves”, New Zealand. The local residents have long known about the existence of unusual caves, which could be accessed by water, but they never dared to penetrate far into this mysterious place. But Tang Tinoro turned out to be bolder than the rest, and in 1887, together with the English scientist Fred Mays, he sailed into the dungeon on a makeshift raft and holding a candle in his hands.

The courage of the explorers was rewarded with a magnificent discovery – swimming a little further into the caves, they discovered the fantastic in its beauty the Grotto of the Fireflies… The intricate limestone formations of the vaults were completely covered with small luminous dots that flickered beautifully in the dark. The discoverers of the grotto have come back here more than once to better study their find.

Waitomo Glowworm
Waitomo Glowworm Caves New Zealand

In 1889, Waitomo Glowworm Caves in New Zealand became accessible to tourists, and Tan Tinoro himself took over the management of this business. Together with his wife Ooty, he conducted small-cost excursions for everyone, thus organizing a small family business. True, in 1906 the government took over the administration of the caves, but local residents are actively involved in the service of this tourist facility and receive their own small percentage of the profits.

Waitomo Caves New Zealand
Waitomo Glowworm Caves New Zealand

Once upon a time, the ocean ruled on the site of the present caves. The water has created mysterious intricacies of passages and grottoes here. The bizarre growths on the walls are limestone and the remains of marine organisms – corals, sea shells, skeletons of sea fish.

Waitomo Caves New Zealand
Waitomo Glowworm Caves New Zealand

When the water receded, conditions began to form in the underground grottoes of the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, ideal for the habitation of the most unique organisms – Arachnocampa Luminosa, or mushroom firefly mosquitoes.

Waitomo New Zealand
Waitomo Glowworm Caves New Zealand

Some researchers believe that the fireflies in Waitomo Glowworm Caves with hunger. And the hungrier the firefly, the brighter it will glow. With light, they lure various insects into their trap nets. By the way, silk nets can even be seen if you are near them. However, there is another point of view. According to her, fireflies feed on fungal spores, which do not need to be lured at all. Therefore, the glow is just a kind of decoration for outlandish cave worms. By the way, if you shout or even just talk loudly in a cave, you can scare the fireflies. And then their magic lights will go out, plunging the cave into darkness.

Waitomo Glowworm Caves New Zealand 1
Waitomo Glowworm Caves New Zealand

The Waitomo Cave Complex consists of Waitomo Glowworm Caves, New Zealand, Aranui Cave, Ruakuri Cave, and Gardner’s Gut. In the caves, in addition to fireflies, you can see stunningly beautiful stalactites and stalagmites, some of which reach several meters in length. In total, the Waitomo system includes about 150 karst caves.

Waitomo Glowworm Caves New Zealand 3
Waitomo Glowworm Caves New Zealand

There are several options for sightseeing tours in Waitomo. The standard excursion includes a walk in the caves and rafting on multi-seat boats.

Waitomo Glowworm Caves NZ
Waitomo Glowworm Caves New Zealand

There are also options for extreme sports, such as Black Water Rafting or “black water rafting”.

Waitomo Glowworm Caves New Zealand sports
Waitomo Glowworm Caves New Zealand

Part of the route during the rafting runs through the grottoes, illuminated only by the bluish-green flicker of fireflies, and part of it is completely dark. Well, get ready for the fact that you will definitely not be able to “get out of the water” during such a tour! In the hard-to-reach corners of the caves, speleologists’ competitions are held. In the hard-to-reach corners of the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, speleologists’ competitions are held.

Waitomo Glowworm Caves New Zealand 4
Waitomo Glowworm Caves New Zealand

By the way, the name “Waitomo” is formed by the addition of two words in the Maori language – “wai”, which means “water” and “tomo” – “funnel”. Thus, the name Waitomo can be translated as “water passing through a funnel”.

The Waitomo Glowworm Caves, New Zealand are open 365 days a year, more details and details can be found at waitomo.com.


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