Wonders of the World: the Waitomo Glowworm Caves

Thousands of tiny bright lights shine from the ceiling of the stunning Glowworm Grotto. It's a jewel in one of the wonders of the world, the Waitomo Glowworm Caves in New Zealand.

It was discovered in 1887 by local Maori Chief Tane Tinorau and an English surveryor named Fred Mace. Though the locals knew about the caves, they had never explored them extensively.

Floating on a raft of flax stems and using candles to the light their way, Tane and Fred happened upon the natural marvel. They returned many times and by two years later, Tane was providing visitors with tours of the cave.

The government took over the administration of the caves as the number of visitors grew. They retained control until 1989, when the government returned the area to the descendants of Chief Tane Tinorau, and today many of the staff who work there are his direct descendants.

Ready to head to the Waitomo Glowworm Caves?

How to Get There

Waitomo is easily reached by road from many of the North Island of New Zealand's major centers. The city of Hamilton is just one hour away. Auckland is around 2.5 hours away and Taupo and Rotorua are a mere 2 hours away.

Where to Stay

Find the perfect North Island New Zealand accommodation on Tripping - from $90/night!

Photos via: Photo 1 via imugr ; Photo 2 via fazerintercambio.com.br; Photo 3 via Facebook (Science is Awesome); Photo 4 via travelonline.com; Photo 5 via tumblr