Located in the North Island of New Zealand, Waitomo Caves are usually crowded with tourists from all over the world. The magical chandelier of starry lights here has created a hullabaloo amidst the local people and the visitors.
While New Zealand is earning its huge amount of share through travel and tourism from Waitomo Caves, a zoologist from Austria, Janek Von Byern spent two months in these caves to study the significance of Arachnocampa Luminosa (the glow worm).
Maori Chief Tane Tinorau along with English surveyor Fred Mace were the first locals to explore these magical caves in 1887. The entry point to this place was discovered after repeated visits to the caves, the same entry point is used by lakhs of tourists after all those years. Most of the caretakers and staff at this place today are successors of Tane and his wife.
These caves were formed millions of years ago through natural disasters. The entire ceiling is embellished with dotted shiny threads of light, the minute reasons of this surreal formation were laid bare through the hard work and determination of Janek Von Byern.
Dr. Von revealed that the glow worms require a humid environment to sustain and breed, he says if the humidity falls below 80% these glow worms will start to evaporate. They use their bioluminescent tails to catch prey, in the words of Dr. Byern,"Pulling it up, and then eating, pulling it up and then eating until it comes to the prey and then eats the prey".
Being one of the most popular caves of Australasia, more than 4,00,000 people visit this place annually.
The place is flooded with lavish hotels and resorts to maintain the decorum and tourism of this renowned place.
It is counted among one of the fascinating places. People visit this place for the well-known boat ride under the surreal sheet of thousands of glittery worms.
The reason of this elongated thread-like structure is that the worms hatch their eggs on the corners and surface of the caves, the tube of mucus attached to them is about a foot long and the width is about sixth the width of human hair. The mucus helps them to catch mayflies which simultaneously maintains the stability of their structure.
The tourists are welcomed with the modern visitor center at the entrance which is designed with a wooden look. There are a number of adventure activities to do at this place including caving, off-road driving, sky diving, jet boating, bungy jumping, zip-lining and many more.
Best time to visit is between November to April.