Waitomo: The Glow Worm Caves
The main attraction in Waitomo is the Glo Worm Caves. Little strands of glow worm goo hang from the ceiling of many caves in the area, creating an awesome diplay of blueish glowing light within the darkness.
Rather than visiting the biggest, most frequently visited cave (complete with a museum, conference center, and cafe) we opted to splurge on an official tour. Spellbound tours was the most appealing with a 3-hour, $76 tour featuring two different privately owned caves. The first cave was really cool – we walked right in on the easy-to-manuever pathway and wandered through the headlamp-beamed darkness to a small raft. Our tour guide (a dude who had been in the business for over 17 years!) pulled us along the underground river as we all just stared up in awe.
At first, we could only see dimly lit strands above us. As our eyes adjusted, though, the strings of light became a neon hue of blue. We went back and forth along the water several times to take it all in. Next, we headed over to another cave complete with a paved pathway and certain areas with spotlights on them – featuring fossils, unique rock formations, and old bones of animals that had fallen into the cave from the sink hole above! That poor cow.
As a sort of last-resort option, we ended up camping in Marokopa that night. A pretty bare site with turf-like grass and no owners to be found, it wasn’t exactly welcoming, and I wouldn’t recommend it. Be smarter than us: find lodging in advance; the area is hard to explore in the dark.