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New Zealand: Waitomo Caves Where the Stars Are Glowworms

Waitomo Caves, New Zealand

In the Waitomo Caves, there is no photography permitted, which makes the experience all the more sacred. New Zealand’s Waitomo Caves are home to thousands of glowworms that light up the ceiling.

How Glowworms Eat

While much of the tour is conducted in low light, there is a truly magnificent and terrifying view of what glowworms do to eat. The glowworm is the larva stage of an insect that lives only long enough to mate. It attaches itself to the ceiling of these caves where insects fly following the current of the air and river. If the insect flies too close to the ceiling of the cave. It gets caught and eaten by the glowworm. Many adults end up feeding the larva after they have mated.

The tour guides explain this and then turn on the lights to see what the glowworms look like. The bright flash blinds you for a second. When your eyes adjust, you see thousands of strands of saliva hanging a foot or more from the ceiling. These strands are excreted by the glowworms and used to trap their food. The lights go off, and you’re left with your thoughts, which may or may not include the ending of the original fly and what if you were that guy in this cave.

A Quiet Boat Ride

As you descend to the boats, the guides ask you to remain silent to allow everyone to enjoy the cave and its atmosphere. The lights above seem to waver in lines. They look like a 3D matte painting. It’s unreal, beautiful, and quiet. As an addition to our Hobbiton tour, Waitomo Cave was a perfect contrast to the manmade set. The entire experience highlighted New Zealand’s ingenuity, beauty, and natural wonders. If you can’t make it to New Zealand, You can listen to Johnny Mercer’s Glow Worm (affiliate link) tune!

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Disney in Arbat, Moscow, Russia

Disney in Arbat: Mickey Mouse

It always neat to see how Disney has been appropriated in other countries. As we walked the area, we saw a lot of Disney in Arbat. The Mary Poppins Hotel is a chain of sorts in Moscow. Tow Mater and Lightning McQueen were at the local toy store. Mickey Mouse stood outside of a children’s place, and the Cheshire Cat in its 1951 “Alice in Wonderland” style floated above more traditional Alice characters at the door of an Irish Pub. Check out photos of Bulgakov’s house in Arbat.

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Arbat in Moscow Photos: Check them out

Red Building in Arbat in Moscow

While visiting the U.S. Embassy, we had a lot of time to walk around Arbat in Moscow. We went to the Patriarch Pond and to Bulgakov’s House, where he wrote “The Master and Margarita” (affiliate link).

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Moscow’s Patriarch Pond: ‘Master and Margarita’ Opening Scene

Mikhail Bulgakov author of 'Master and Margartita'

Moscow’s Patriarch Pond and its park are the setting for Bulgakov’s opening of “Master and Margarita” (affiliate link). It also pays homage to Russian Fablist Ivan Krilov. Check out our photos of Bulgakov’s home.

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Moscow’s Sweet Museum in Arbat

I Love Candy at Moscow's Sweet Museum

Moscow’s Sweet Museum in Arbat combines color and shape to create a wonderland inspired by every child’s dreams (and dentist’s nightmares). Take a look at the mirror hall and see thousands of you, swing through the saccharin pink of the first hall, or jump into the blue and white candy pit. You can spend a wonderful moment here satisfying your sweet tooth without worrying about cavities.

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New Zealand Food Stories Collected during Our Journey

A New Zealand Food: Cheese Rolls

Watching How-to-Dad’s YouTube videos gave us an idea of what to expect for some New Zealand food. He has a great video on things that Kiwis, the people who live in New Zealand, eat. Most of the things I didn’t expect us to get a chance to try, but there were a couple of times when I was able to get food that Kiwis eat at home.

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Things We Missed in New Zealand

Morepork at Tiritiri Matangi Island

There’s no way to learn everything about a place you’re traveling to. You just have to do your best to research it and hope you find people who write about the things you most want to see or experience. Here are some things that we missed in New Zealand, but it’s okay because I wouldn’t change how or what we did on our trip.

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New Zealand: Photos from the Hobbiton Tour

Bus to Hobbiton

Perhaps the highlight of our Hobbiton tour was when I got to run down the lane shouting “I’m going on an adventure!” If you love Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit, this is a must do in New Zealand, especially if you’re headed to or coming from Weta Workshop.

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Hobbiton: There and Back Again

Bus to Hobbiton

When you step on the bus to Hobbiton, you’re taken care of. My wife and I were scheduled to transfer to another company tour when we arrived at the Hobbiton reception center. Our first driver stayed with us until our tour leader arrived and had us on the bus. She even told us to use the restroom while she stayed with our luggage. IT made it very easy for us to enjoy our trip and take advantage of the bus that went from Rotorua to Auckland via Waitomo.

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