Twinkle twinkle little star… How I wonder what you are… Deep beneath the earth so deep…Like diamonds shining in heaps!
This is exactly what will come to your mind when you see pictures of magnificent shiny dots lighting up a century-old cave in New Zealand. Yes, the amazingly captured pictures you have probably seen of blue sparkles are actually real – they are glow worms habituating in Waitomo Caves situated on the North Island of New Zealand.
What are glow worms? This is a species which is slightly bigger than a mosquito and is known as Archnocampa luminous. These are the kind of insects which have a fungus gnat that glow in the larvae stage. The fungus gnats glow as they hunt for strings of mucus and cling onto rock walls, which is why you see the ceiling of cave glowing. The glow is a result of a particular chemical released by this species and the oxygen in the air. Glow worms survive without food for weeks, even months. They are quite smart that way, as they attract their prey (flies, mosquitoes, spiders, etc.) by glowing and enticing them to come closer.
The Waitomo Caves were discovered in the 18th century and is a natural formation as old as 30million years! There are over 300 limestone caves that have been discovered by man so far and each one has cavities and hollows that are awe-inspiring! Yet, the Pipe Organ, the Catacombs and Banquet Chambers of the Glow worm Caves are the best and consequently the most popular tourist spots.
There are guided tours that take you through the dark tunnels with glow worms sparkling on the roof. Since the cave is filled with water, you can hop onto a rafting boat and glide through the black hollow turns – the sight of blue and green specs is just unexplainably gripping! For the adventure lovers, you can jump into the deep cave and take a walking tour of the Glow Worm world underneath. With a torch-helmet you explore the dark waters, but the sights you see of the Archnocampa luminous are probably better than the ones you capture from the boat. There are other fun activities at the Waitomo Caves like rafting, exploring the stalactites and stalagmites, and walking through a nature that you never knew of.
New Zealand is known as probably the most beautiful and talented country in the world; it even has the best of all adventure sports. Yet, the glow worm habitat is a starry wonderland you can never see anywhere else in the world. It is the rarest natural phenomenon and witnessing it is going to be your best lifetime experience. Rest assured!