Glowworm experiences in New Zealand you don’t want to miss!

New Zealand has a variety of native wildlife and beautiful creatures living throughout the country. One of the most fascinating species is the glow worm which is so much prettier and more exciting than the regular earthworm. Although glowworms may look prettier, in reality, they are actually just maggots for a type of fly called a fungus gnat. The glowing light they let off is what gives them their beauty, some would describe looking at them to be the same as staring at a starry nights sky.

Maori call these worms titiwai meaning lights reflected in the water as they are often located near rivers. The scientific name for these creatures is Arachnocampa Luminosa. It is the tail of the glowworm that shines and this is from a large organ similar to a human kidney. Insects of all kinds have a similar organ but only the glowworm can create light from it. Don’t forget that glowworms are nocturnal if you are wanting to see them in their true glowing form you can not shine a light. If you do shine a light they will turn their lights off.

So what do they eat… a variety of flying bugs get caught in the glowworms sticky web. the main insect they eat is midges, any other bugs that end up on their web that they don’t like or are too large they can just cut them loose. Interestingly, when a glowworm is hungry it goes really bright to attract the bugs so if you see some glowworms that are brighter then others that is why.

 

Where to find the glow worms?

You may be lucky enough to see glow worms if you venture into a bush or cave at night yourself. However, we think taking a guided hiking, kayaking or boat trip is the best way to see these magical worms. Learn more and prepare to be amazed at these top locations;

Waitomo Caves

Located 3 hours south of Auckland city is the world-famous Waitomo Caves.  Visitors get up close and personal with thousands of glow worms on the popular guided boat trip underground. There is also the option for the more adventurous to black water raft or abseil through the caves instead. Waitomo Caves offer an unforgettable experience with one of the highest populations of glow worms. 

How to get there? Join Auckland and Beyond Tours for an unforgettable trip to Waitomo Caves

Drive time from Auckland: Approx 3 hours

 

Kawiti Caves

Venture through beautiful native bush and stunning rock formations on a boardwalk that takes you to see the luminous glow worms. Kawiti Caves is just a short journey north located in the Waiomio Valley, rich in history and culture. Some would say the stories your guide tells you are just as interesting as the glow worms.  

Drive time from Auckland: Approx 3 hours

 

Other well-known places you can see glowworms:

  • Waipu Caves
  • Abbey Caves
  • Te Anau Caves
  • Nile River Caves
  • Lake Karapiro
  • Paparoa National Park
  • Lake Mclaren
  • Clifton Caves
  • Okupata caves