There are countless incredible caves in New Zealand. In many of them you can observe spectacular glowworms. Instead of the Waitomo Caves, where there are different guided tours, you can also find a free alternative. We were in the Waipu Caves, a small glowworm cave on the North Island!
Directions and spending the night
The Waipu Caves (Caution: do not confuse with Waipu Cove!) Are located near Waipu. In Waipu you can stay with the camper or with the tent at the Waipu Hotel (4 South Rd, Waipu 0545) in the backyard. It is rather a small garden with parking spots, than a campsite, but there is everything you need. For the price it’s definitely fine.
The ride from Waipu to the Waipu Caves takes about 20 minutes. From Waipu it is best to travel north on Shoemaker Road. After 750 m turn left into Mountfield Road. After another 5 km turn left again onto Waipu Caves Road. The last 5 km you drive on a gravel road. Waipu Caves has a small car park and a toilet. It’s just a short walk over a pasture to the entrance of the cave.
The glowworm cave
In the cave it is, of course, very dark. You should definitely bring a flashlight. Also, it can be very muddy. So take clothes which can become dirty. We had our hiking boots (waterproof) and raincoats and waterproof pants.
And this is what it looks like in the cave:
If you are lucky, you are by yourself in the cave! When we were there, there was a couple in front of us, but we saw them only briefly. Then we had the glowworms completely for us and could take pictures and enjoy the beatiful sight. After a about half an hour we went back to the outside.
The Waipu Caves were the only firefly caves we visited. Even though we can not compare the cave with others, we would definitely recommend the Waipu Caves! You do not have to go hips deep in the water, as you often read in articles about other caves. We have not encountered any biting eels or other dangerous animals. We felt absolutely safe at any time. It still was a great adventure. For us the visit was more than worth it!
Have you ever been to a glowworm cave? Then write us a short comment, where you were and how you liked it! We’d love to hear about your experiences!