Who would have thought that under the earth there could be a sky strewn with millions of stars … And this, after all, is reality! It is enough to visit Waitomo Caves to see for yourself.
One of the most unique and beautiful places in New Zealand is able to turn the idea of natural beauty. In the caves of Svetlyachkov, as this place is also called, for all its realism, the feeling that this is all untrue and too magical does not leave.
Persistent Tinoro and Mays
Once upon a time, the locals of the New Zealand town of Te Kuiti knew that somewhere there were extraordinary caves that could only be reached through the water. But no one ever dared to go deep into this mystical place (and this place was really considered something magical and mystical).
Waitomo Caves in New Zealand
In 1887, one of the former rulers of the local Maori, Tan Tinoro, together with a scientist from England, Fred Mayes, ventured to go on an underground journey on a makeshift raft with just one candle in their hands.
The fearlessness of the researchers was rewarded with dignity – what appeared before their eyes, as soon as they sailed deep into the grotto, did not give in to any verbal description, the beauty that opened to them was so fantastic. Bizarre limestone growths over the arches were completely covered with small luminous dots that flickered very beautifully through the darkness.
The history of the discovery of Waitomo caves in New Zealand
The discoverers had to come back here more than once in order to study their find in more detail. After some time, they even managed to find the entrance to the cave from above (not through the water) – at the moment it is the main one.
“House for the little luminous creatures”
The “luminous” grotto is an integral part of Waitomo caves, which are made up of 150 diverse formations. Scientists estimate the age of these caves at about 2 million years, so they are tinned are considered almost the oldest on our planet.
New Zealand Attractions – Waitomo Caves
These millions of years ago there was water everywhere – the ocean, and all these formations were located at the bottom. Thanks to this, for hundreds of thousands of years various cave passages, labyrinths and tunnels have been formed and laid here, turning stony gorges into a unique natural masterpiece.
Then the water receded and the inhabitants of the Earth had a unique opportunity to admire the wonders of the once underwater dungeons with their bizarre walls, covered with unusual stone figures and calcareous growths, decorated with fish skeletons, corals and shells of various shapes and sizes.
Natural Wonders – Waitomo Caves in New Zealand
This whole space has become a real home for some luminous creatures that are endowed with a unique ability to emit light. All tourist trips to the cave consist precisely in seeing with their own eyes this light.
In fact, these creatures are the mushroom firefly mosquitoes (Arachnocampa Luminosa). These unique living organisms can shine in the dark with blue-green and light green-blue colors, clearly outwardly resembling a starry sky.
Traveling the Waitomo Caves in New Zealand
The luminescence itself arises due to a special chemical reaction that occurs in a special organ in the stomach of a mosquito. Two special substances are mixed in the body of the insect with oxygen, which oxidizes them, and energy is generated in the form of light. These bright “dots” cover all the walls and ceiling of the caves, which, incidentally, were named as a result of the Caves of Svetlyachkov.
It is striking that researchers, biologists and scientists of the whole world cannot understand and explain the phenomenon of firefly mosquitoes. According to one version, the glow depends on the state of their hunger – the more hungry, the greater the intensity of the glow.
Unique Waitomo Caves in New Zealand
According to another version, light is an attractive maneuver for potential victims (threads are woven, which are impregnated with a special substance that kills insects, and these strings are also highlighted). The third version refutes the second, because fireflies feed on mushroom spores and they do not need to catch anyone, and the emitting light has a purely decorative function.
But one of the biologists dared to suggest that adult mosquitoes feed on insects, and I can have hunting habits, but their larvae eat mushroom spores as food.
Mysteries of Waitomo Caves in New Zealand
But in one, scientists agreed to one hundred percent – the species of these insects (Luminosa) exists only on the islands of New Zealand. And to see with their own eyes such a cluster of them and evaluate their fabulous glow only in the underground Waitomo complex in the cave of fireflies.
Waitomo Caves Now
Just 2 years after the discovery of Waitomo Caves (since 1889), they became available for visits by tourists. Managed tourist visits Tinoro himself. Together with his wife, they organized a small business, conducting tours of the caves for a very small fee. Absolute could get into the cave