New Zealand’s Iridescent Caves

Published June 28, 2013
Updated January 30, 2018
Published June 28, 2013
Updated January 30, 2018
Iridescent Caves

Source: Sun Surfer

Thousands of local and international guests visit New Zealand’s Waitomo Glowworm Caves each year. The iridescent caves, which have been around for centuries, are particularly striking due to the glowworm species that covers the ceilings and lights up the space like stars in the night sky.

In 1887, local Maori Chief Tane Tinorau and English surveyor Fred Mace first explored the Waitomo Glowworm Caves. To navigate the caves, they built a raft of flax stems and floated through, quickly becoming mesmerized by the glowing ceiling. It took many return trips for Tinorau and Mace to discover the cave’s land entrance on the second level.

Waitomo Caves From Inside

Source: Blogspot

In 1889, Tinorau started inviting tourists to visit the caves for a small fee. However, in less than 20 years, government authorities assumed control over the caves. It wasn’t until nearly a century later that control of the caves was returned to the locals responsible for discovering them. Now, many of the tour guides and workers are descendants of Tinorau and his wife.

The Waitomo Glowworm Caves themselves date back more than 30 million years ago. They consist of two main levels: the upper level, which is dry and allows for ground access, and the lower level, which contains the stream passage and the Cathedral, which is world-renowned for its superb acoustics (due to the rough surface and enclosed shape).

Kiri Picone
Bay Area transplant Kiri Picone is a writer and marketer who loves bizarre news and the color purple.
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