Starry Starry Night

Thousands of magical glowworms, unique to New Zealand, illuminate the spellbinding cavern.

BENEATH THE VERDANT SLOPES of Waitomo, North Island, lie an intricate network of subterranean wonders. Within the labyrinthine maze of shafts and underground rivers, the Glowworm Grotto twinkles wondrously; in spectacular and awe-inspiring fashion.

While the existence of the caves were known to the local Maoris for years, the area was generally uncharted until a Maori tribal chief extensively traversed the site and stumbled upon the glimmering chamber.

The Glowworm Cave, is a segment of the entire Waitomo Caves network, and consists of three levels. The upper section features the refreshingly exquisite Catacombs, Tomo and The Pipe Organ, felicitously titled charming limestone formations. The Banquet Chamber, resides in the middle portion.

Starry Starry NightPhoto: Karora

The Cathedral, the caves’ tallest chamber, and renowned for flaunting beautiful acoustics, is lodged in the lower region.

Close by, a stream of water flows delicately. Reflecting sparkling bluish hues off the ceiling, the scene is immensely captivating. Amidst the radiant darkness, the spectacle is exceedingly enthralling.

Behold the Glowworm Grotto.

The tour boat sails beneath a lucid display of vivacious shimmers.

Arachnocampa luminosa, (or New Zealand glowworms), dot the overhead ridges. Bioluminescent, as a result of the luciferase enzyme acting upon luciferin, they emanate a cerulean gleam. Scattered and sprinkled across the rocky roof, the collective brilliance against the shadowy backdrop, is vividly reminiscent of a dreamy night sky – perhaps even more mesmerising.

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