Waitomo, New Zealand is home to the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, a unique natural area where bioluminescent (glowing) worms hang from the walls and ceiling of certain parts of the cave, releasing a bright blue glow in the darkness of the caves. Other features, such as stalactites and stalagmites, make this natural area a popular tourist destination for lovers of natural history and biology.
The caves' stunning natural features, including the glowworm grotto, were first thoroughly explored by Maori Chief Tane Tinorau and an Englishman named Fred Mace in 1887. After this discovery, Chief Tane Tinorau and his wife began leading the first groups of tourists through the caves starting in 1889. The colonial New Zealand government took over management of the cave from Tinorau's family in the early 1900s, but eventually turned the resource back over to the family of its native discoverer in the late 1980s.
Tourists are still able to go on guided tours of the caves. The natural resources on display in this part of the world are closely monitored and guarded by scientific authorities to ensure their continued existence. Some areas may be closed to tourists on especially busy days due to concerns over air quality.