Waitomo is famous for its glowworm caves, and that’s basically the only reason tourists come here. Most of the caving activities, like tubing and abseiling, were too expensive for us though, so we settled with Spellbound: a bit of walking, followed by sitting in a boat in one of the caves, followed by another bit of walking through another cave. If it’s good enough for David Attenborough, it’s good enough for us.
We got picked up at the I-site, and driven about 25 minutes into the countryside. We had a five-minute walk down to the cave opening, and had our photos taken with our hard hats on. We walked a bit of the way into the cave and switched off our torches: it was pitch black, as we expected. We put them back on and walked a bit further, where we saw glowworms with their sticky threads that they use to catch prey. Then we walked a bit further in and climbed into the boat.
At this point we switched off all the lights, and spent 20 minutes going up and down this stretch of the river, looking at the glowworms on the roof of the cave above us. As our eyes adjusted to the darkness, we could see more and more. It looked like a starry sky, which is the whole idea behind them catching their prey. On the way back out, we left the lights off and stopped at the same spot as on the way in. Now that our eyes had adjusted, we could see daylight and even a few glowworms, where it was totally black before.
We had coffee and biscuits before moving onto our second cave, The Cave of the Spirit. There were very few glowworms in this cave, but lots of stalagmites and stalactites, and some bones of animals that at some point got trapped in the cave.
Once back in town, Kris and I went to the museum and then for pizza, while Freddy and Inga went to The Shearing Shed, where they shear Angora rabbits.
We left Waitomo around 3pm. Kris has had this thing for a few days now: he wanted to make a video of us all doing a Dame Edna impression (“Hello Possum”) when we saw a dead possum on the road. He finally got his chance to make it today! It is quite funny, but probably more so for us!
Anyway, we dropped Freddy and Inga off in Otorohanga, because they were catching the bus south, and Kris and I drove back to Auckland. We continued the alphabet game, and I got a little lost by Hamilton, but otherwise it was quite uneventful.