Day 6: Waitomo Caves & Otorohanga Kiwi House

June 28th

We had a leisurely morning complete with some laundry – thrilling stuff.  Then we headed off to the Waitomo Glow Worm Caves, a stop at the Kiwi bird house and finished with a fab thai dinner just outside of Auckland.

We decided to drive ourselves rather than book a tour.  The Waitomo Caves were supposed to be joined with Hobbiton, but our travel agent made a mistake in the booking.  So, we’re off on our own.  We packed a lunch and some snacks and hit the road.

On the way we saw an uber vivid rainbow and then another appeared just above it.  A double rainbow.  Beautiful.  Then we actually drove through the rainbow and when we got on the other side we could no longer see any of it.  It was wild.

The Waitomo caves are beautiful – filled with intricate stalagmites and stalactites.  They were warmer than outside and the sound was muffled – no echo.  Famous singers go to the caves to practice because of the lovely acoustics.

The “glow worms” are not actually worms  but really more like maggots – the pupa phase of the life cycle of a fly.  The tail has the luminescent effect and there are many long tentacles that hang down to catch food.  When the guide turns off the lights, you can see the glowing and the tentacles.  They stay in this phase for 9months.  The fly only lives for about 3 days after it’s hatched.  At the bottom of the caves you go on a silent boat ride with a “star” filled sky of glow worms.  It is spectacular and magical.

They do not allow pictures in the caves, but I do have one of us just before the entrance.  It was lovely and lush around the entrance of the cave.   We stopped for a quick refreshment before heading to the Kiwi House


(We can’t find the pictures of the Waitomo Caves!)

The Kiwi Bird House – was not quite what I was expecting after seeing the small and dated entrance.  The exhibits were really quite impressive.  Loads and loads of birds, eels, ducks, lizards, and the famous Kiwi bird.  The Kiwi bird is nocturnal and difficult to see in person.  They are also a bit neurotic.  Much bigger than I was thinking and lightning fast.  We made a quick tour and they were about to close, but we got to see everything.

Kiwi Bird House

Duck feeding – Kiwi Bird House



Up next…Queenstown & Jet Boats!

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