Day 142 on the Road
Seeing Glowworms in Te Anau
Today we are checking out the Te Anau Glowworm Caves with Real Journeys. If you like this video and want more New Zealand bucket list inspiration, then join our backpacker squad over on YouTube!
We are in Te Anau and we’re gonna go on a boat cruise out to the lake and see a cave full of glowworms.
After 10 days of adrenaline and adventure we are finally leaving Queenstown. we are now heading alongside Lake Wakatipu and making our way to the Southland region which is the very southern part of the South Island and our first destination of Southland is gonna be Te Anau.
Te Anau is the gateway to the Fiordland National Park and we are getting straight to business. We are at the Real Journeys office to do a Te Anau Glowworm Caves tour. So there’s not just glowworms in Waitomo there’s glowworms hidden on Te Anau Lake.
After grabbing our tickets from the counter and being explained quickly what the tour is all about we are boarding the boat. We are being greeted by the entire crew of Real Journeys vessel and they all tell us that the weather today is going to be a little bit iffy so we better be prepared for a windy ride.
So right now we are on Lake Te Anau we are going to check out some caves, whirlpools and even some glowworms on the other side of the lake.
Despite the weather Laura and I are determined to make the most of what we think is going to be the best part of the tour which is the cruise on Lake Te Anau.
Lake Te Anau is world famous for its amazing scenery. it’s right on the edge of the Fiordland National Park, which is one of the most protected parts of the world. And the lake is huge it’s actually the biggest lake of the South Island and is only the second biggest lake of the country right after Lake Taupo.
It’s worth staying up here on the top deck of the boat and braving the wind to really embrace this amazing scenery around us. It’s a real hint of what the Fiordland National Park is like because actually on this lake there are three fiords on here itself.
We are taking pictures of amazing towering mountains that reach up to 1700m high.
As soon as we arrive on the western shore of Lake Te Anau it’s time for us to unboard and make our way to the Cavern House which is where the tour is gonna start.
The walk is taking us on a pontoon above an amazing beach and then straight away into the stunning virgin forest of the Fiordland National Park. The Fiordland National Park is well known to have really think and penetrable forest which is definitely the feel we get as soon as we get inside the forest.
As soon as we get into the Cavern House we are given an overload of information about this cave that we’re about to explore as well as the glowworms. There’s lots of information on the walls and we are also meeting our guide Verdant who is telling us all about the fascinating lifecycle of the glowworms. We’re watching a little bit of a presentation which actually has some incredible close-up footage of the glowworms in action which really awesome to see.
Long story short, the life cycle of the glowworm is hatch, eat your brother for sustenance, create some dim light to catch some fly, eat the fly, become yourself a fly, live for 2 days to try to reproduce and then you’re dead.
Although I am fascinated by the glowworms and the display that they present in caves I am really not envious to their actual lifestyle.
And now it’s time for us to get inside the cave and start exploring. So luckily there is a walkway through here and it’s a very small and intimate cave we actually have to bend down a few times to make our way through.
Vedant is showing us a few different features of the cave like a tomo with water spilling from it which is fresh water so we can drink from it. And soon enough, we get our first glimpse of the glowworms.
The really cool bit about this glowworms is that it’s lit up just on the side so we can actually see what the glowworms look like up-close. We can see those sticky threads hanging down which actually look like beads of jewellery it’s really awesome.
Another really unique feature of the glowworm caves right here is that there’s not only glowworms in here there is also some eels and even trout which are swimming upstream inside the caves. I didn’t know that such a thing as cave trout existed.
But we are mostly here for the glowworms so we are boarding a little boat in the middle of the cave that is taking us under amazing displays of glowworms. Our camera footage really does not do justice to what we’re seeing right here because we really just have to hold the GoPro and hope for the best. It was an amazing display and we got so up close to the glowworms it was super intimate experience with those amazing creatures. We loved every second of it.
On the way back we learn that Te Anau means the cave of the swirling water current which we can definitely see why as we see this awesome waterfall right in the middle of the caves. There’s lots of different limestone features along the way and in geological terms this cave is actually really young. It’s only about 12,000 years old meaning that the whole cave is forming as we speak. it’s not fully formed yet.
We’re leaving the cave in awe of what we just saw. it is an amazing place to visit. it is so small, intimate, young and so much to offer I really love that tour.
But Vedant has much more to telly us today and he is taking us toward another part of the complex where he’s going to be telling us more about the conservation that they’re doing right here with the native bird species.
After spending a few minutes talking to us about the famous takahe he’s giving us the massive plush toy to take some pictures and we are back on the boat ready to make our way back toward the little township of Te Anau, where we have quite few days left to explore the area. There is an amazing bird sanctuary and we are also taking you right in the heart of of the Fiordland National Park.