Glow Worms Turn New Zealand Cave Into Starry Wonderland

May 28, 2016 By Olivia Adams

Nothing demands more amazement and awe from onlookers than the natural wonders of the world. Take a trip to the Grand Canyon or spend a night looking at the northern lights and it’s as if all time stops for those few moments when you recognize the natural beauty our world has to offer. Luckily for New Zealand natives, this beauty lies right beneath their feet. 

Underneath the spectacular glaciers, picturesque hillsides, and gorgeous beaches of New Zealand lies a series of limestone caves. Located primarily in the Waitomo area, these caves are filled with a precious, luminous secret: glowworms.  The worms, often found in cold, wet environments, are known for emitting a bright, phosphorescent glow that light up the areas around them. Take one look inside Waitomo’s “Ruakuri Cave” and it’s as if these worms are permanent light fixtures, illuminating the cave and creating what can only be described as a completely surreal environment. 

Photographers from all over have spent years trying to capture the beauty of this natural phenomenon, and for good reason. The light emitted from these glowworms almost makes you feel as though you’ve stepped right into James Cameron’s film Avatar. However, capturing just the right picture takes a bit of patience and incredible timing. 

Glowworms are actually able to turn their lights on and off whenever they feel too much heat or sense bright lights. Therefore, when heading into their environments with the intent of flashing a camera light, the worms will oftentimes go dark. To achieve the perfect shot, this photographer had to spend six to eight hours a day submerged in the freezing cold water! The results, however, were completely worth it. 

These glowworms prove that New Zealand is just as gorgeous below as it is above!

Similar to shooting pictures of the night sky, exposure is everything when it comes to capturing images of these light-emitting insects.

Exposure time to these glowworms can last anywhere from 30 seconds to six minutes.

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Lucky for us, these insects thrive in large colonies, producing the beautiful trail of lights seen in this picture!

The beautiful green/blue light we see in this picture is actually caused by biochemical reaction called “bioluminescence."

The biochemical reaction, or “bioluminescence,” uses energy from the rich protein, ATP, to create a light source.

The particular glowworms seen in this picture, Arachnocampa luminosa, are actually native to New Zealand.

Today, the Waitomo Glowworm Caves occupy a high spot on New Zealand’s vacation wish-list.

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Boat rides are now available to tourists searching for a fun, awe-inspiring adventure! These tours will take you through the caves of Waitomo in order to gaze at what some are calling the “Glowworm Grotto."

Imagine gliding through this starry wonderland in complete silence and awe.

These beautiful blues and greens are sure to fascinate and intrigue any passersby.

Be sure to SHARE these beautiful photos with family and friends!

H/T: Bored Panda | Shaun Jeffers Photography

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