It kept spinning over and over in my head: “The Glowworm Song” that I remembered as a kid.
“Shine little glow-worm, glimmer, glimmer….” It hit number one on the Billboard Charts in 1952, and there’s a Youtube video of the Mills Brothers singing it on the Nat King Cole Show in 1957. Since then, I’ve always wanted to see a glowworm.
So, knowing that New Zealand has at least a couple of caverns renowned for their glowworms, I jumped at the chance when Goway Travel suggested including the Te Anau Glowworm caves on my South Island itinerary. Following my Milford Trek “tramp,” as the Kiwis call it, I returned to my hotel at Te Anau, on the shores of the eponymous lake, in early evening. There I just had time for a quick change of clothes, before heading to the dock across the street, where a boat from Real Journeys was waiting to take us across the western end of the lake for an evening excursion to the Te Anau Glowworm caves.
Arriving, we were divided into small groups. I had been told that the entrance to the caves was via a small tunnel, where you had to crouch low to enter. Knowing that I’m claustrophobic, I almost backed out, but decided to go through with it. I explained to my guide, a young man from India, that I become very anxious in confined spaces. So, he put me at the head of the group, led me in as he walked backward through the tunnel, facing me, and engaged me in conversation so that I would be distracted. It worked! I made it through the claustrophobic tunnel, which may not have been higher than 3 or 4 ft.
Learn more about my experience in the glowworm cave with Part II.