Monday, February 16, 2009

NZ Day 13: Glowworm Logistics

Video and photography is not allowed in the Glowworm Cave, it said on the website where we booked the tour.

We are in Te Anau for three days. Tonight we kicked off the fun with a visit to the Glowworm Caves. Sitting in a small boat, together with 12 other people, in total darkness and silence, with tiny green dots on the cave ceiling above, felt very special, like a mix between camp fire, church and a VW bus where all seats are taken.

The Glowworm experience was also amazing from a logistic point of view. The cave where these creatures live is 250 Meters long. It consist of a lake at the end and a small creek flowing out of the lake to the entrance of the cave. Real Journeys, the company running the Glowworm Cave Tours, ferries customers in a 100 person catamaran to the cave. There they manage to guide people in groups of 12 through the cave without anyone really noticing that they have to wait and getting bored. First there is a visitor center where they show a movie about the glowworm and offer free tee and coffee. Then, they have managed to organize the cave visit itself, so that 4 groups of people can be inside without actually realizing it. Two groups are on the lake. Since it is pitch black and everyone was advised to keep silent on the lake not to take pictures, we barely noticed the other boat. As we came off the boat, the next group was waiting to board. And as we were walking out of the cave, I realized that, while our guide had asked us to walk onto a special platform to take a closer look at a waterfall, a fourth group had crossed ours without us taking any notice.

Regula found the glowworms and the cave super impressive. I myself am a bit torn. I think the logistics were probably even more impressive, since they were executed so gracefully that most people didn't even notice that there were any.

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