Let there be light!

Trip Start Oct 03, 2012
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Trip End Feb 28, 2013


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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Next stop are the Waitomo Caves, where I am about to witness one of natures small miracles: Glowworms that light up dark caves!
I've booked an afternoon tour and a the guide explains us a lot about how these limestone caves were formed. He shows us the exact spot were two tectonic plates can collide together and how the plates were responsible for turning this former sea bottem into the hills you see today.
Enough about historical facts, it's time to tell you about the miracle I came to witness here today!
We walked about 30 meters into the cave and daylight soon fades into darkness. Our guide tells us to turn of our lights on out helmets to experience true darkness. Above ground darkness seems really dark but true darkness is experienced underground. I can't even see my own hand 10 cm's before my eyes! Our helmet lights are on again and we get into a boat and float into a small tunnel where we are asked to put our helmet lights off again. Soon the miracle reveals itself to us.
Millions of tiny green/white points light up the whole tunnel! It's like watching to millions of stars in space! Millions of glowworms who live in these caves are responsible for this miracle. The light these tiny worms produce can be compared with the light of fireflies. The worm-like larvae of these species use their glowing lights to attract small flying insects into a snare of sticky threads. One species, Arachnocampa luminosa, is found throughout New Zealand, and others occur in Australia. Also, the brighter the light, the more hungry the worms are. Truely an amazing natural phenomenom!
The next day I did a hike along the Waitomo stream that leads me through forests and farmland all the way up to the source of the stream. The sun starts to shine and again it feels like I'm walking on the Shire movie-set from Lord of the rings!
It's time again to move on and leave this small town of 41 inhabitants, because besides caving and one hike there is really nothing else to do.
Next stop: Rotorua!
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