Nestled deep in rural New Zealand lies a relatively unknown glowworm cave. Limestone Creek Glowworm Caves lie just north of Apiti down a winding gravel road. A scenic drive makes this a great day out.
Time 10 minute round trip, plus extra for awe-time
Difficulty not particularly difficult, however, there has been a few slips that cover a lot of the stream and track so you will have to make your way across them
Access Just north of Apiti take Table Flat Road and follow the signs to Sixtus Lodge, the Limestone Creek Glowworm Caves are about 2km before the lodge. The road turns into gravel but have no fear, keep on keeping on. Just be mindful that it does get narrow, windy and hilly. Eventually, as you wind your way down to the bottom there is a sign for ‘Glowworms’ with a limited parking on the side of the road.
Getting down to the cave
Dropping down to the river, the track is only a few minutes long but passes through the beautiful native bush. A rope clings to the side of the track to aid those with feet that have a habit of slipping out from under them (like yours truly).
Once you get down to the river the track disappears. Take a right and follow the creek to the tunnel. There are vague remanents of track following along the opposite side creek. A wet winter has helped with the destruction of the track with slips often covering the creek as well as the path.
Be mindful as you follow the track, as it is unstable with the slip. Take care where you place your footing and try and follow the set path when you can.
The scenery is stunning. High walls surround the creek adorned with moss and ferns. The creek gently flows through the gully making it seem like you are the only person on earth. Isolated and serene.
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The cave is more of a tunnel really. Wonderfully high ceiling-ed and majestic looking. The creek runs through the centre of the cave so be prepared to get those feet wet. The water sits around freezing temperature. Well, at least it certainly feels like it.
As you wade through the creek (and try not to let the thoughts of eels invade your mind) look up and let your eyes adjust to the light. I didn’t see any glowworms but it was the middle of the day. As the cave is more of a tunnel the light came in from either end, though it is quite a long tunnel/cave.
The cave is absolutely stunning. High walled with sunlight peeking through holes in the roof. Water seeped through the roof and walls of the cave although it was a sunshiny day. It really was like entering a whole new world. Dark and mysterious with the dripping soundtrack gently filling the otherwise silent scene.
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Top Tips for visiting Limestone Creek Glowworm Caves
- While you can see the glowworms during the day (if you look reeeeally hard), the best time is dusk or night
- Be mindful that this is private property. Stick to the tracks when you can
- Wear decent footwear (that you don’t mind getting wet). Jandles (or flipflops as non-kiwi’s tend to call them) probably aren’t going to be suitable and you may see just them float down the creek
- Cave formations take thousands of years to well, form. Take only photographs and leave only footprints. Look with your eyes not your hands and other mantras come into play here. Find out more about the Leave No Trace principles here.
- If you are visiting at dusk or night, chuck a torch in your bag but limit the use of it while you are in the caves as it disturbs the little glowing bugs
- Pack a spare pair of shoes in the car for your trip home. You might have cold feet otherwise
- If you are photographing the glowworms at night, don’t use a flash. You’ll blind the poor buggers
Limestone Creek Glowworm Caves are a great stop for families or the adventure loving curious minded. Stop here on your way to or from other fantastic walks in the area such as Deerford Loop, Iron Gate Hut, Alice Nash Heritage Lodge, Stoat Traps Track or Rangiwahia Hut.
For more photos check out that Kiwi Hiker’s Facebook album, Limestone Creek Glowworm Caves
For more information on Limestone Creek Glowworm Caves check out these websites:
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