While in Te Anau we decided to book another cruise to visit the Te Anau Glowworm Caves. Way back in the mists of time (about 35 years ago) we did this same cruise after the completion of our four day Milford Track walk, we were much younger and fitter then, of course. I must admit I couldn't really remember too much about it after all this time, just vague memories of a boat ride there, and a boat ride through the caves. The trip was leaving at 4.30pm so we had a lazy day relaxing in camp, then drove down town to find a car park. There were plenty of people milling about – the boat arrived at the wharf, disgorged the passengers from an earlier trip, and our group climbed aboard.
The trip took us for a 30 minute cruise to the western shores of Lake Te Anau. After the necessary safely briefing we had a commentary pointing out places of interest as we cruised along.
View along the way
On arrival we walked up to Cavern House. There was a full contingent of 72 people, and we were split into groups of twelve, and away we went into the cave for a guided tour.
No photos are allowed in the caves, and when in the boat, we must be silent, we were told, otherwise the glowworms take fright and their lights go out! Luckily there were handrails to help us walk through the cave, and in some parts we had to bend our head and shoulders to get under the low ceiling! That was a bit tricky. What I had forgotten was just how loud the rushing water was in the cave, it was so noisy the guide had to shout to get her messages across. The rushing water exited the caves, and our boat ride thankfully took us across still waters deep inside the caves. With just a torch to guide us as we clambered into the small boat and then we moved slowly along in silence and complete darkness. And there they were, tiny dots of light on the roof of the cave, certainly a sight to behold. The boats have no motors and our guide told us later that she moves the boat along, standing in the front and pulling on a chain, all in complete darkness.
From the brochure
After our cave experience we walked back through the wet cave, water drip, drip, dripping down on us, to return to Cavern House where we helped ourselves to a hot cuppa and listened to a presentation on the life of a glowworm. The pair of us found the cave trip a little uncomfortable with many steps and having to bend to scuttle along under the low ceilings. Robin also had a problem with bending his knee to get into the boat, but we were certainly pleased we had repeated the trip after all these years.
On our return to shore we decided to take ourselves out for dinner to the Te Anau Club after our wonderful trip and as it was our last night in Te Anau. A beer for him and a bottle of bubbly for her while we waited for our orders to arrive. The meals were huge, neither of us could finish them. It had been a great afternoon.
Meal out at the Te Anau Club