Glow Worm Caves
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| Adventure Underground
Following a scenic cruise across Lake Te Anau, view informative interpretation displays at Cavern House before your guides take you on an exploration of the Caves by path and small punt.
Observe how the rushing water sculpts the rock formations, before gliding through silent darkness to the glowworm grotto. The delicate incandescence of thousands of tiny glowworms is a magical sight.
The Te Anau Caves are relatively young in geological terms, around 12000 years old, and are still being formed by water action. The fractured limestone rock is being steadily eroded and at times the Tunnel Burn flows through with spectacular force.
It is a mysterious underground world of rock formations and fossils, of waterfalls, whirlpools, and a ’cathedral’ with walls towering above.
The excursion is a great way to spend an evening after a day exploring either Milford or Doubtful Sounds.
New Zealand glow worms are actually the larvae of small flies called fungi gnats that go through a four part life cycle: egg, larvae, pupae and adult fly.
Only the larvae can feed and to assist hunting its prey, produces a brilliant internal glow through oxidation of the chemical luciferen in its digestive system. The light can be turned on and off at will when disturbed by unusual noises, light, humidity and temperature. It also varies intensity depending on the desire for food.
Flying insects are attracted to the collective display of lights in the dark cave that mimic the night sky and are caught up in the sticky silk threads that hang from the glow worm nests. The ’fishing lines’ are hauled in and the captured insects devoured.