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10 best places to spot glow worms in New Zealand

Planning a trip to New Zealand? Include the glow worms on your list of things to do. With their alluring blue-green glow, they leave a spectacle that you would have never seen before. As they move around looking for food, they create a carpet of starry lights within caves or around the dark trees, so much so that they make an alternate universe. Here are 10 places where you can spot the Glowworms in New Zealand.

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1. Te Anau Glowworm Caves

Cruise through Lake Te Anau before entering underground through the narrow passageways, whirlpools, underground waterfalls and into the glowworm grotto. The small boat glides through the caves during the day or night, allowing visitors to view the spectacular sparkling ceiling. The display is nothing short of ordinary.

Other activities

Scenic flights

Lake cruising

2. Waitomo Glowworm Cave

Waitomo Glowworm Caves occupy a high placing in the New Zealand vacation wish-list. A popular location for black water rafting and caving and possibly the best place to spot glow worms. You need to venture 150 ft underground to witness the sparkling show put on by the glow worms. Get ready to be fascinated by the shining insects.

New Zealand glow worm caves
Image credit – newzealand.com 

Other activities

Zip-lining

3. Hokitika Glowworm Dell

Watch these tiny creatures radiate their unmistakable luminescent light in your evening walk at Hokitika Glowworm Dell. The insects live in the banks under tall trees and this outdoor gathering can be found here year-round. This site is off the tourist trail, so it’s likely you won’t encounter large crowds.

New Zealand glow worm cave
Image credit – 500px.com 

Other activities

Mountain biking

4. Wellington Botanic Garden

You don’t have to leave the comforts of the city and enter caves, explore the Botanic Garden by night for this fascinating one-hour tour into the secret world of the glow worms and their sticky, prey-catching nets. See the glow worms on the overhanging banks of the hills from the paths in the Main Garden, from the Duck Pond up to Glen Road along the Pukatea Stream. 

New Zealand glow worm caves
Image credit – eventfinda.co.nz 

Other activities

Cable car

5. Minnehaha Glowworm Walk

Watch the lowland forest come alive at night with the Arachnocampa luminosa glow worms. This relaxing walk follows a small stream through the rainforest exposed to many types of forest trees, ferns and mosses before finding the stunning sight of the mystical glowing lights in tree trunks and along the banks. This walk is open to all and wheelchair-friendly too.

Other activities

Sky-diving

6. Lake Rotoiti

Take a dreamy night kayaking tour along the beautiful lake and enter the Glow worm caves to get an insight on the strange life of these creatures which suspend sticky silken threads and glows to attract tiny insects to the trap. Soak in the natural hot pool after and take in the beautiful scenery.

New Zealand glow worm caves
Image credit – everythingnewzealand.com 

Other activities

Jet boating

7. Paparoa National Park

Journey by Rainforest Train into the Nile River Canyon and explore the upper levels of the large Metro/Te Ananui cave systems, by rafting, in its natural wilderness state. Get up close to interpret the best Glow worm display, away from the crowd. Your guide will explain the life cycle of the Arachnocampa Luminosa and the intricate webs used to catch their prey.

New Zealand glow worm caves
Image credit – wanderlusters.com 

Other activities

 Hiking

8. Kawiti Caves

The Kawiti Caves, also known as the Waiomio Caves attracts many visitors with its karst features and stalactite formations. Discover thousands of glowworms replicating a starry night’s sky in this intimate cave network. Journey underground through networks of stalactites and stalagmites to hidden chambers like the Waiomio night sky where the glow worms are so close you can almost touch them.

New Zealand glow worm caves
Image credit – away4now.com 

Other activities

Caving

9. Waipu Caves

How about an unguided tour of the Waipu Caves where you can find a galaxy of glowworms? The caves are undeveloped and absolutely free, so you have to find your own way inside out! It is also the only place where you can view the glowworms “crowd-free”. There are no tracks or paths in the cave and wading through water and clambering over mud banks may be necessary.

New Zealand glow worm caves
Image credit – trover.com 

Other activities

Dolphin and whale-watching

10. Lake Karapiro

It’s a hidden gem. Kayak up Lake Karapiro to Pokaiwhenua Stream and through the canyon carved out by water, you will be rewarded with the breathtaking scenery. Paddle downstream and gaze in silence at the myriad of glow worm lights. Float through the starry wonderland and experience a serene ambience.

New Zealand glow worm caves
Image credit – treatme.co.nz 

Other activities

Yachting and canoeing

Got your bags packed? Here’s the next step!

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  • […] In those fantasy movies like Pirates of the Caribbean, when the crew of The Black Pearl escapes from the cannibals by jumping into the underground caves, we all awed at the location. Well, this spot is an extremely famous honeymoon destination in New Zealand, where couples can descend a 100 meters below the surface of the earth and take a walk in the underground caves, or even go black water rafting among the glow worms. […]