Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Out of the Rain and into the Glowworm Grotto

This is the entrance into the cave system . . . VERY low ceiling!

Going deeper

Entering the grotto by boat. On our trip it was completely
black . . . no lights, just the glowworms.

Yesterday was spent mainly in the car. We left Dunedin in the late morning and slowly made our way along the picturesque southern coast, arriving at the hostel in Te Anau around 7:00 in the evening. Our good weather karma finally failed us toward the end of our drive—rain began to fall in buckets—so we caught only glimpses of the thickly forested mountains looming above. After settling into our overly well lit room (too much fluorescent lighting for too small a space), we headed to the supermarket and bought food for next day’s “brekkie” as well as a couple of beers and a steak to throw on the grill for dinner.

This morning we woke up to more fierce rain, so after brekkie we decided to join the glowworms in their grotto across the lake. A speedboat took us, along with a bunch of other tourists, to the entrance of a narrow cave filled with the sound of roaring water. Once inside, we walked along an underground river and passed several waterfalls before clambering into a small boat that our guide pulled deep into the glowworms’ inner sanctum. Glowworm tails covered the ceiling, creating what appeared to be a nighttime sky studded with light-blue stars. Breathtaking.

Now we’re back in our room at the hostel after having made a chicken satay and couscous dinner. The rain is still pouring down, but better weather is supposedly on the way. We hope so, because tomorrow we go on a guided kayak tour of Doubtful Sound, in the heart of the New Zealand fjords.


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