Tag Archives: Glowworms

The NZ Lowdown 5: Fiordland (Part I)

After breakfast next morning, we said a sad goodbye to the lovely Queenstown scenery & drove southwest to spend a couple of days in the Fiordland National Park region.

Te Anau Was Our First Port Of Call

The weather was beautiful yet again all day – I think this was actually the warmest day of our trip, it was 80 degrees Farenheit, with an amazingly blue sky – just perfect.  We checked into our hotel – a few hours early again, but once more without any hassle from the reception desk – and then we took off into the town to explore a little.

Lunch was followed by a drive around the lake & a little walk around town. And there may have been an ice cream stop at some point too! We’d also decided to take a tour of some Glowworm Caves in the region, so that trip pretty much occupied our afternoon. The trip began with a cruise across to the western shore of Lake Te Anau. This is the 2nd largest lake in NZ by surface area, & it is beautiful, especially on a bright, sunny day like we were lucky enough to experience. It was so peaceful cruising across & enjoying the scenery aroundabout, as well as seeing all the jet-skiers in action as they’d rush into the wake of the ship to catch some great waves.

The beautiful Lake Te Anau
The tour company took us to their Cavern House when we disembarked on the shore – that’s the only thing there, except for the underground cave world that we visited next! They had a really informative & interesting set of displays there for tourists to see while waiting to take one of the small boats into the caves. Plenty of information about the life cycle of glowworms, as well as the history of the caves. And they had the obligatory coffee & snacks that never fail to make me happy!

The shore in front of the Cavern House
Small groups of about 14 of us at a time would then go off on a small boat with a guide to travel a little distance in the limestone caves. It’s quite a spectacle – the cave labyrinth is amazing to experience as you walk through a small part of it to reach the boat. There’s a fair bit of stooping & bending necessary in order to navigate the caves along the way, & the roar of the rushing water around you is phenomenal to hear. Very powerful. Photography isn’t allowed in the caves since the flash would compete with the light from the glowworms, and therefore prevent us seeing what we’d gone there to see! The glowworm lights are such simple things, but quite special to witness. At least for me anyway. And especially with the roaring water to boot. It all seemed so paradoxical in some ways – the water was so fierce & loud, and yet the glowworm lights were so tiny, delicate & peaceful. Very magical.

More beautiful scenery around Lake Te Anau
Once we returned to Te Anau we went off in search of goodies. Since it was such a gorgeous day we’d decided to make full use of it, as well as our surroundings, & so a picnic was in order. We’d scoped out a quiet spot on the lake earlier on our drive, so once we were armed with paper plates, glasses from the hotel room, wine, cheese, meats & crackers, we drove out there again. Once the wine was being chilled (in the lake!), we started snacking!

Lakeside snacking

Afterwards we decided to catch an early night back at the hotel – the next day was due to be an early start for us as we headed north to Milford Sound. 

We’d had a perfect day though.