Susan ar Strae 2009 travel blog

Takahe bird... thought extinct until sighting near Te Anau in 1948

Lake Te Anau, Fiordland, New Zealand

Lake Te Anau, Fiordland, New Zealand

Dome Islands on Lake Te Anau, Fiordland, New Zealand

Lake Te Anau, Fiordland, New Zealand

Lake Te Anau, Fiordland, New Zealand

Lake Te Anau, Fiordland, New Zealand

It's a worm's life!

Lake Te Anau, Fiordland, New Zealand

Lake Te Anau at dusk - Fiordland, NZ

Lake Te Anau at dusk - Fiordland, NZ

Lake Te Anau at dusk - Fiordland, NZ


After a short rain shower to start the day - we are afterall in one 'of the wettest parts of the world' the day turned out really nice - if a little chilly. I did a one hour run about the shores of lake Te Anau as far as the local river and there were some strong breezes. Not that it makes much difference these days as I'm rather slow..

I spent some time foraging for rainwear and picked up a new jacket and rain pants.. hopefully water proof as I'll be needing them in the Sounds where rainfall is 3-5 times higher than on this side of the mountains..

For the afternoon I booked a trip to see local celebrity Glow Worms in caves across the Te Ana-au lake. The name Te Ana Au comes from the Maori meaning 'cave with current of swirling water' which actually led to the discovery of the caves in 1948. The Aurora cave system is about 35 million years old but the lower end of the caves which is close to the water are a mere 12000 years old (infantile in geological terms). Strong aggressive waters teem from the alps to create limeseone passages filled with rock, and massive noisy whirlpools. In a grotto at the end of some narrow, darkly lit passageway the cave roofs are inhabited by thousands of glow worms which glitter in the darker nether regions of the caves. We are put in a boat and move about in complete darkness and silence..

It was my first time seeing these creatures and I'd liken it to viewing a zillion stars on a clear night. The 'glow worms' tail is what glows to attract insects and other bugs. The hungrier the worms the brighter the glow! Nature working at its best. The worms emit sticky threadlike stuff which captures the unwitting bugs and provides the worms with food. After about 9 months of feeding the larva turns into a pupa and then the adult has a few days in which to mate (which it does constantly!) before meeting its maker. A basic life but they seem happy.



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