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The Glow Worms of New Zealand's Waitomo.

New Zealand is a place of more natural wonders than mere words can describe. It is a land the offers magical forests, serene lakes, majestic mountains and isolated beaches.

While all of those are truly sights to behold, New Zealand also has some sights to offer that are not only beautiful, but also quite unique. The caves in the area of Waitomo, in New Zealand's North island, offer an experience that can best be described as an underground look at a sky full of stars. And yes, it's as stunning as it sounds.

glow worms
 
glow worms
 

Each little light you see is a larva of the glow worm, Arachnocampa luminosa, a creature unique to New Zealand. The worms spindle down from their nests on the ceiling with silk-like threads reaching about 30-40 cm down. These threads are used by the worms to catch their food, much like a spider web does, and the results look like tiny glowing chandeliers.

glow worms
 
glow worms
 
glow worms
 
glow worms
 
glow worms
 
glow worms
 

If you want to see this beauty with your own eyes, the simplest way to do it is to book a guided tour. These tours, which can be an hour to 4 hours long, take you in small groups to explore the caves by foot and boat rides on the caves' many underground rivers. If you are up for a challenge, some companies offer more challenging tours that take you crawling through some of the narrower caves and gaps, and even rappelling deeper underground. Whichever option you choose, once your eyes will adapt to the dark, you will find yourself in a place like no other.

glow worms
 
glow worms
 
glow worms
 
glow worms
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