This is the second part of our post on my visit to the Glowworm Caves of Te Anau. Read Part I here.
“Te Anau” in Maori, is actually said to mean, “the cave with a current of swirling water,” which led to the Glowworm Caves’ rediscovery in 1948. After a walk crouched down low, the tunnel opened on to a dimly-lit walkway suspended above rushing and swirling waters below, fed from above by Lake Te Anau. Passing the 12,000 year old cave’s jagged, limestone-sculpted walls and cliffs, we reached a waterfall above us. Then, after a short walk, we boarded a small, open boat in total darkness to float along a silent lake in an underground grotto. The eerie silence was quite a contrast to the rushing and throbbing of the waters we had just passed.
We had been advised to remain silent and take no photos in order not to disturb the glowworms. According to Real Journeys’ literature, the lights of the glowworm’s larvae attract insects to sticky threads that hang from their nests. Apparently, the hungrier the glowworms are, the brighter they glow. Rather than the light-bulb colored dots I was envisioning, the glow worms were greenish dots, twinkling like Christmas tree lights on the cavern walls. It was like being in an amusement park ride, as we glided along. But, rather than a theme park, this was real nature at work.
Alighting from the silent, subterranean boat ride, we retraced our steps back along the undulating walkway, and through the claustrophobic tunnel. Returning to the outside world, we had a choice of visiting the Cavern House, with its educational display, or taking a short nature walk along the lake shore, before boarding the boat for the final journey across Lake Te Anau.
Shine little glowworm, glimmer, glimmer….
My experience in the Glowworm Cave of Te Anau was part of a custom South Island itinerary arranged by Goway.