Because we only have 17 days to get from Auckland to Queenstown, we do not have many days left on New Zealand’s north island. After leaving Auckland, we were heading south towards Rotorua but on the way we stopped first at the Glowworm Cave in Waitomo. As no photography is allowed inside, there are no pictures of that cave, however there are plenty of pictures available on the web.
Seeing the glowworms in the dark cave is very beautiful. Glowworms have organs that emit light whenever they are hungry, the brighter they are, the hungrier they are. This light attracts insects which get trapped in the threads that hang down from each glowworm. Once trapped, the glowworm simply has to pull up the thread and eat the insect.
Once in the boat in the cave, over your head there are thousands of small lights appearing slowly after the eyes get used to the darkness, and because nobody was allowed to talk or take pictures, this part of the tour which lasted about 10 minutes was really enjoyable.
But the whole rest of the tour was just so typical of New Zealand’s way of squeezing out every cent of the tourists and promising much more than you actually get. First, we were entering the caves in groups of 40 people who each paid around CHF 40 for an advertised 45 minutes tour. But out of these 45 minutes, only the last 10 minutes were really about the glowworms, the rest was waiting, waiting, and waiting again until the other groups of 40 people ahead of us moved on or stopped singing inside the caves, and waiting for a boat to be available. The upper part of the cave which was illuminated had some stalagmites and stalactites, but it was completely unimpressive as there are definitely more impressive caves around the world.
Luckily I had a free entry from our car rental company and we only had to pay CHF 40 once, but for the full price I would not recommend going to Waitomo, because the amount is too much for 10 minutes of glowworms and it is quite far away from other attractions. And there are also many other places in New Zealand where you can see glowworms.