Waitomo Glowworm Caves

They’re So Much More Than Just Glowworm Caves

The day we arrived in New Zealand, we went to the Waitomo Glowworm Caves. That was probably a horrible idea since we had been flying for a total of more than 24 hours at that point and were extremely exhausted. Going on a three hour cave expedition was fun, but didn’t make us less tired.

The Waitomo Glowworm Caves is a famous cave system where you can see — you guessed it — glowworms. They are in fact small maggots. In their stomachs, a chemical reaction occurs which lets out a blue-green light. The thing about the Waitomo caves is that the most beautiful and exciting tours take place in water. And yes, it’s cold. Very cold. Also, it’s winter right now in New Zealand.

You wear a wetsuit so you don’t get hypothermia in the cold water. You also wear a helmet since some places are very limited in space, so if you are claustrophobic, you might reconsider going on that tour.

Before going into the caves, we had to practice a certain backwards jump. That jump is important as you can get badly hurt if you mess it up in the caves. Because, yes, we had to jump down a waterfall. It wasn’t too big of a waterfall, but a couple of meters is still quite high up if you know a lot of people get injuries there. All of us made it, though.

Halfway through the cave system, we had a tea and chocolate break. We were all freezing at that point, so it was so good to chill out for a moment in the dark caves talking to the other people on the tour.

Moving on, we got to a point where the track split up. You could either go the long way around or see if you fit through a very small tunnel. I probably could have gone through the tunnel, but I didn’t feel like getting stuck (or, as the guide called it, “temporarily unable to move on”), so I happily went the long way around.

Shortly after this, there was a long river with a high ceiling and a heck of a lot of glowworms. Looking up, it was just like looking at the night sky — like thousands of stars. We were all totally quiet while letting the current flow us down the river, just looking at the “stars”. That was the perfect reward at the end of a three hour journey through the Waitomo Glowworm Caves.

Anyone going to New Zealand should definitely go on this tour. Don’t ask questions. Just do it. You’ll never regret or forget.

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