The gorgeous and vividly vibrant locales of New Zealand pull many a traveler with wanderlust to its coastal and hilly terrain. But while there are so many places you’d want to go to in this coastal country that has beaches stretching to nearly 15000 kilometers it’s the Waitomo region that calls for immediate attention particularly if you’re planning to go backpacking. There are striking and astonishing locales that will dazzle your eyes and the Waitomo glow worm caves are top of the list. Really, is there such a cave at all and can anyone enter its dark depths to see and feel with one’s own eyes what it is about? Yes! You can go around the waters in Waitomo by enrolling in a black-water rafting excursion or start off with abseiling on the caves but the real wonders await you only inside these underground caves that have water passing through it.
Taking a boat journey down through these caves of which there are almost 300 in number but only a few are reachable can be one of the most magical moments of your life. Waitomo is really a small village flanking this network of caves. You can approach it once you reach New Zealand’s north island. The glowworm caves in Waitomo possibly began to form about 30 million years back though the caves are themselves just 2 million years old. With them the legends surrounding Waitomo came alive.
Remember that Waitomo is not about entering a set of small caves and getting off. There’s a whole underground and water-based ecology down there. The cave system not only has the limestone formations that have fossilized remains of sea flora and fauna it also has several small lakes- all underground! So experience the thrills of watching perhaps one of the only few underwater lakes of the world!
The limestone caves are nature’s creations once covered by the ocean but now navigable through boats. It’s the tiny glowworm species of Arachnocampa lumiosa that you’ll find inside them. These glowworms are exclusively found in New Zealand. Thousands of worms glow in the caves where natural sunlight doesn’t penetrate, and there are magnificently huge and small thickly layered limestone formations lit up by these tiny creatures, making for a wondrous sight.
Of the network of small and bigger caves several of them are particularly significant and this includes the Aranui cave and also the Ruakuri cave. Be sure to get your reservations done in advance since Waitomo is one of the most visited sites of New Zealand.
You’ll be taken through different levels, into the caves, like the Banquet chamber. Pipe organ is Waitomo caves’ largest formation. There’s also the third level or the ‘Cathedral’ where your find towering rough surfaces. It’s an exhilarating experience being here, particularly if you know that world known choirs, singers have travelled to this region and performed in the Cathedral! Also try combining the caves excursion with other activities like rafting. You’re sure to get the best of the underground and coastal fun experience this way.