Another attraction in New Zealand. If you prefer to explore kinda feeling, mark it down as a must-see destination.
Despite its name, glowworms are not actually worms. They are, in fact, the larvae of a two-winged insect that looks like a large mosquito.
The larvae can grow to the size of a matchstick and looks a bit like a maggot. Right after hatching, the larvae builds a nest and puts down sticky lines, much like a spider web. It uses these lines to trap flying insects which it will draw up and devour.
The insects are lured by a light emitted from the glowworm's tail, a result of a chemical reaction between its waste by-product and the oxygen in the air. As the guides charmingly put it, those beautiful lights you see are actually the glowworms' luminous faeces.
The glowworms are attracted to damp, dark places with flat ceilings. Their habitat must be sheltered so that the wind doesn't dry them or tangle their lines. The caves at Waitomo provide the perfect environment with an abundance of insects brought into the cave via the river.
These creatures can live for up to nine months before making a cocoon and finally emerging as adult insects. With only a few days to live, these adults will frantically mate and reproduce before they die of starvation as they don't have mouths.
If you are not up for a wet and wild adventure, there are several other milder options in which you can enjoy this spectacular nature show. The most popular dry tour would be to the Waitomo Glowworm Caves which leads you through 250m of stunning underground landscape. The highlight of this 45 minutes tour is a surreal motorless boat trip through the spectacular Glowworm Grotto.
Hundreds of tiny lights glow from above as you glide along silently with only a soft glow lighting the way. The other popular dry tour is the impressive Ruakuri Cave, New Zealand's longest guided underground walking tour lasting two hours. It is the only wheelchair accessible cave in the Southern Hemisphere. The most impressive feature is the dramatic spiral entranceway to Ruakuri Cave, a remarkable modern engineering design on its own.
Whichever tour you choose, you won't be disappointed by these clusters of predatory maggots with their shimmering poo.