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Travel Underground: Glowworm caves of New Zealand

Travelers Today       By    Katherine Hewitt

Updated: Jan 12, 2015 01:22 PM EST

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Known for its natural beauty and landscapes, New Zealand has become a favorite destination for outdoor lovers and nature appreciators.  There are forests to hike through with unique, different fauna.  There are geothermal actions such as geysers, hot pools, and mud pools.  While this beauty can all be found above ground, New Zealand offers just as much beauty underground, in the form of caves.

The city of Waitomo is famous for its caves, especially the glowworm caves.  The tour of the Waitomo Glow Worm cave is lead by a guide, who takes you from the visitor center through the New Zealand forest to the entrance of the cave.  Once inside the cave the tour begins in a large cavern in the upper level of the cave.  It is said that acoustics are so perfect here that famous singers have sung there.  From here your guide leads you down further into the cave while explaining how the cave formed over centuries.  

You finish the tour of the cave at the glowworm grotto.  At this point you step into small boats and float down the river, looking up at the ceiling of the cave to where the glowworms are.  They dot the cave as if they were tiny little stars. 

But the glowworm cave is not the only cave in the area.  There is also the Ruakuri Cave and the Aranui Cave.  In Ruakuri you can see soft limestone structures that fold on top of each other.   There are also crystal formations that line the walls of the cave as you walk down into it.  What is special about this cave is that is accessible to all people of all levels, including those in a wheelchair. 

Aranui Cave is a dry cave, meaning there is no river flowing through it and thus no life.  However, there are still some amazing cave fixtures inside for example, stalactites, stalagmites, and flowstones that you can see up close.  This is the most decorated cave in the Waitomo area, as the entire cave ceiling is decorated with formations. 

All of these cave tours are guided by experts.  There are marked paths that make it easy to not lose your way from the group.  Most people won't struggle hiking through the caves as they are designed for the non-cavers.          

See Now: The U.S. had the highest number of Most Wanted properties, dominating the Hotels.com Loved By Guests Awards 2018

Tags
New Zealand, Waitomo Glowworm caves, glowworms, Ruakuri Cave, Aranui Cave
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