Back in the 80’s we had these glow worm stuffed toys that played music and their faces glowed green.. i’m sure you’ve seen them. Well, up until now I’d never seen a real glow worm before and in my mind they were more like unicorns than an actual species, but now i’ve been enlightened. For, they do exist. And, they glow green just like our stuffy counterparts.
Ry had been excited about this day for a while. Our current strategy to avoid home sickness is by showing her tour pamphlets for her upcoming adventures, and this was the one tour she was quite keen on. Unfortunately for you all, we were not able to take photos in the caves… something about OH & S and tourists stumbling in the dark while using their device… right.
Anyway, we started off the tour by foot, down a dark cave hall, which lead to an open cathedral room, where our guide tested the acoustics with his truly amazing singing voice. We learned a little bit about the glow worms and their life cycle before climbing into a row boat (picture complete darkness and almost complete quiet with just the faint light of a single flashlight), while our guide pulled us through a water filled cavern with a rope attached to the top of the cave. The ceiling of the cave came alive with green sparkling lights, almost like the stars at night. Magical, is a great way to describe it. And, quite pretty.
The guide warned with a smile before we headed out that if we were quiet the boat portion of the tour would be a bit longer, if not, well… it was over. Little Zo was not so keen on the darkness factor and was already squawking and arching her back right out of the ergo carrier, lucky for all 30 of us I was able to shush, swing, pat, bounce and please her enough to keep her calm inside the cave. In the boat it was another story and everyone knows babies love their milk. And, one perk about a dark dark cave is that no one else knew my secret to our happier (and quiet) baby!
We got one phone photo exiting the cave where Ry had a perplexed look on her face, as if she didn’t enjoy the tour…. but actually, she was disappointed that she had to get off the boat and this was the end of her glow worm experience. Poor gal…. hopefully she is keen to visit Lake Taupo instead.
The caves were fairly interesting, and were our intended reason for visiting, but actually the highlight of our Waitomo experience was a farm visit. The afternoon of our arrival we were driving to the campground after grabbing some groceries when Ry said “I want to stop at a farm!”… well low and behold, less than 2 minutes later dad spots a farm called (Big Bird B & B) inviting guests to visit and see the animals.
So, with no one napping, we stopped, jumped out and headed up to the front door. The owner gave us a private tour of her 70 acre of property, complete with short legged cats, lop eared bunnies, guinea pigs, a miniature tortoise, llama, alpaca, donkeys, mini horses, ostrich, emu, mini bulls, goats, sheep and strange looking Maori pigs. She was very excited to announce the theme of her farm was large birds and miniature animals. It was a fantastically intimate tour that led us inside each enclosure, including that with the intimidatingly large pointy horned bulls (which Ry was pretty hesitant to sit on, but did). We pet and fed nearly all of the animals, and the tour lasted about 1.5 hours of up close, personal furry fun. I think if this place was at home in Canada it would have required a waiver and some steel toed boots!