On the North Island of New Zealand is a cave at Waitomo. So many of my daughters’ generation grew up in the 1980s with a Glo Worm, a stuffed toy which had a pajamaed worm body and a glowing head when squeezed. Both girls loved and slept with them.
I had no idea that the concept came from New Zealand, and we got a chance to see the real glowworms of Waitomo renouned for its limestone formations and glowworms also called Arschnocampa luminosa. They live in a cave system which includes the Ruakuri Cave the one we visited.
Wai means water and tomo means hole or shaft in the Maori language. They had known about the cave and the glowworms for over a century.
One can tour the caves by boat as there is an underground river, but we toured on foot. We could hear the river though rushing through the cave.
We went through a Glowworm Grotto and marveled at the twinkling glow coming from its ceiling,
At one point our guide showed us up close the thin strands of slime that the worms emit, a form of excrement, something all of God’s creatures has to do. But still “ewww”.
The limestone formations were also an attraction,
Especially the curtain formations which take hundreds of years to form.
We entered this cave walking down a long spiral ramp.
We reached this area north of Rotoruta by bus on our way to Auckland, and this is what was above ground and on top of the cave system.
The countryside between Rotorua and Auckland was pastoral,
New Zealand is a beautiful emerald green country that reminded us of Ireland.