Glorious Glow Worms

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”.

the glow worms as you see them when you turn off your head torch

the glow worms, on the roof of the cave, as you see them when you turn off your head torch

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.

Free access to abbey caves and glow worms

Free access to abbey caves and glow worms

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.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: