New Zealand Glowworm Experience

The Black Abyss tour gave me a glimpse at glowworms as we floated underneath their light; however, I wanted an up close view at these little maggots.  If you read my previous post on the Black Abyss tour you know that glowworms are not actually worms.  They are the larva stage of a two winged insect that looks like a large mosquito once it emerges. The glowworm tails light to attract flying insects to their sticky lines and are then fed on (similar to spider).

Glowworm feeding lines…


The best place to view glowworms is the small town of  Waitomo, New Zealand which lies in the heart of the Waikato.   Travelers come from all over to walk through these incredible caves under the light of the glowworms.


There are several different cave tour options and I recommend doing more than one.  The most popular Waitomo Glowworm Cave starts with a guided walk through the cave before boarding a short boat ride in glowworm grotto. The boat is pulled by rope in the pitch dark with only the light of glowworms above.  They ask everyone to remain quiet during this part of the tour.  The other highlight is the area know as the Cathedral which offers excellent acoustics with their 18 meter ceilings.   I found this tour to be crowded and rushed both times but still worth an experience.

My suggestion would be to simply add on one of their other cave options.  Waitomo tour is only 45 minutes so an easy one to knock out first thing before the buses full of tourists arrive. Photography or video taping are not allowed in this one either. Here are a couple pictures right after we exited the boat and could use our cameras again.

My other walking tour was to the Ruakuri Cave and I highly recommend it.  The entire cave is handicap assessible so strollers or wheelchairs could actually go in this cave.  The tour is two hours long so being stroller friendly was ideal with a then three year old.  Entering the cave you walk down a circular ramp.


Bottom of the spiral ramp.

dsc_0069 We continued through the cave learning more about the the glowworm lifecycle and the early explorers of the caves.  This tour was open to photography and the guides even helped take group pictures.  You really get an up close look at the glowworms on this tour!

Glowworms are all over the Waikato and easily spotted on some of the free walks (hint: Ruakuri Walk)  in the early morning or at dusk!