Waitangi (Bay of Islands), New Zealand
Information Not Currently Available
Approximately 5 Hours
Meals not included
Northland is one of the least-traveled areas of New Zealand and this excursion provides a good overview of the Bay of Islands. Travel by motorcoach on a 30-minute panoramic drive through an interesting mix of farmland dotted with native trees and expansive views.
Your destination is the limestone Kawiti Cavern, which features a spectacular glow-worm grotto.
The caves, located on private property, are owned by descendants of Maori chieftain Kawiti, who fought the British in 1846. The glow-worm (Arachnocompa luminosa) belongs to the gnat family. Its dazzling bioluminescent larvae form a constellation of greenish-blue lights. They demand complete silence as they are likely to extinguish their lights in self-defense if you should so much as sneeze or cough.
With the help of your guide, you will see natural underground caverns and the magnificent, delicate stalactite and stalagmite formations within.
A small stream, in which a pet eel resides, flows through the cave.
Don't miss Kawakawa -- the 'Train Town' of the Bay of Islands, nicknamed for the vintage railway that runs down the middle of its main street. Oddly, this town is most celebrated for its public restrooms, designed by Austrian architect/artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser -- a former local resident. Check out the feted privy and enjoy some free time to explore Kawakawa on your own.
Not far away is the Puketi Forest, which once covered most of the Bay of Islands with massive kauri trees. Now protected in large reserves, these magnificent trees rival California's redwoods in height and girth. A guided walk through on a forest boardwalk affords you the opportunity to marvel at these imposing trees. Nearly 50,000 visitors annually use the elevated wooden walkway, which protects the kauris' sensitive feeding roots, yet allows visitors to get up close to the ancient trees of the forest.
Your tour concludes with a scenic drive through Kerikeri on your way back to the wharf. With the Bay of Islands behind you, you'll take home a myriad of memories from a great day out.
The Kawiti Glow Worm Caves require negotiating 150 steps. Not advisable for guests suffering from claustrophobia or for those with mobility limitations. Photography is not allowed in the glow-worm cave.