Another incredible natural phenomenon in NZ (that has largely been harnessed for the tourist trade) is that of the glow worm. I visited waitomo in the 90’s and was enchanted by the star-studded caves, in fact- not stars- but lit up by thousands of tiny “glow-worms”.
In fact- Glowworms (Arachnocampa luminosa) are not worms at all, but the larvae (maggot) of a creature called the fungus eating gnat. Their larval form is a long slimy worm-like creature that grows about the size of a matchstick, and hangs suspended in a transparent tube strung between two points (a bit like a hammock). The adult gnat looks like a mosquito! The larva emit the light to attract prey, that gets caught up in the sticky tubes-just like the spider web.
Once again South Africans are at a disadvantage given the weak rand and to pay over R1000 to see some wormies wasn’t going to happen. Luckily, the glow-worms occur throughout NZ and then- we found the Abbey caves near Whangarei. “Free Entrance” for the intrepid. Woo Hoo.
Finn joined us for an adventure of note and he totally loved caving (this bodes well for a SCUBA diving future !).
What a fun filled way to spend a day but not for the faint-hearted or claustrophobic You are totally left to your own devices as you wind your way deep; deep into the ground via up to three deep caves. It’s also very dark. Black- except for the glow-worms of course.
I will let the worms enchant you themselves with this album as words cannot ignite their beauty.