Road tripping across New Zealand Chapter 24: Appreciating darkness in Glow worm Caves

7 December 2015

Good morning from Te Anau. We are leaving Te Anau today but before that, we will be visiting the Glowworm Caves. We booked the tour in advance and today was a good day to go, right before we make our way to Dunedin.

We were all packed and left our luggages in the trunk of the car. Actually our car is not that big, it is a wonder how it fit all our bags lol.

We had to report ourselves here. You can book your tour in advance via your motel or via this website.


It was a sunny and beautiful day, perfect for a short stroll.


Trying to play with the ducks but they were all busy ignoring me.

I really love this town. It is small, quiet and peaceful. There is a certain level of warmth in small towns like this. Of course I also love that you can see Te Anau lake from any part of the town.

Once we boarded the boat, we chose to sit at the top deck so that we can enjoy the views to the fullest.


The views were spectacular. Since the boat was going at speedy pace, it was pretty windy and difficult to take photos. Somehow I managed to take some great photos of the views but of course these photos are an understatement of the true beauty we witnessed live.


Once we arrived, we were guided to a small hall for briefing. Last few photos of daylight. Lol.



At only 12000 years old, apparently Te Anau Glowworm caves is one of the youngest in New Zealand. The guide shared an informative talk about the life cycle of the glow worms, the history of the caves, their development and operation.

We had to split into two groups because one small boat could only carry 14 people. Corrine and me decided to go first. We were briefed that the walkway into the caves was going to be dark and cramped so some bending may be required. We were also told that no photography is allowed and that we have to keep absolutely quiet so as not to disturb the glowworms. The caves are in total darkness and we would be able to see the glowworms on the walls of the cave.

Frankly I was slightly nervous because being in complete darkness in a boat with strangers is not really my idea of fun but I read about the glowworm caves before this trip and a lot of travel bloggers had mentioned their amazing experience so I wanted to give it a shot. Isn’t that what travel is about? To see things that are not available in your country. To experience a whole new world, to trust strangers, to have faith that everything will be ok.

While walking into the caves, we could hear the loud sound of water gushing. We were walking on bridges built inside the caves (it looks like tunnel too). The water was cold, and my wild imagination kept wondering if I would survive in case I fell off the boat lol.

As we rowed into the inner part of the cave, the more we were surrounded by complete darkness. This means that even when I place my hand right in front of my face, I would not be able to see it. Our guide simply told us to keep still and enjoy the view because we would be able to see the glowworm very soon.

True enough, all my paranoia and fears went down the drain the minute my eyes landed on the beautiful glowworm caves. It was everywhere around us, on the walls and ceilings, my guess is that the passageway for the boat is pretty narrow thus, I really felt that we were so closed to the glowworms.

It was like seeing shiny stars around you. It was so beautiful, I was tempted to touch it, (but of course I did not lol). The amazing view of the glowworms brighten up the passageway, it was truly magical. I wish I could take photos and prove my point but even a high tech camera would not be able to capture it all.

Corrine and me were in complete awe after the whole boat cruise. If given a chance, we would definitely want to go again. The organizers took this photo of us before entering the glowworm caves and this was the only photo we have there.


Glow Worms require very specific environmental conditions and the cave has been fitted with equipment to maintain these conditions throughout the year, providing the perfect environment for a healthy Glow Worm colony all year round. This means you are guaranteed to see THOUSANDS of Glow Worms inside the cave all year round.

I was also glad that everyone on the boat complied with the rules of being quiet, keeping still and not taking photos. It makes the whole experience much more pleasant.

If you are in New Zealand, do not miss the chance to visit any Glow Worms caves. It will be an experience you will never forget.