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In Context #13 (Spring, 2005, pp. 11-12,18); copyright 2005 by The Nature Institute

Waitomo: New Zealand's Glow-worm Caves
Sophia Sherman


Sophia Sherman, a local friend of The Nature Institute, shared with us the following notes from her travels. We thought they would interest many readers of In Context.

Landscape where glow-worm caves occur in the Waitomo region of New Zealand. (Photo: Sophia Sherman)


In December 2004 I took a trip to New Zealand, with six weeks to explore the country's natural wonders and volunteer on organic farms. New Zealand consists of two large islands with beaches, bays, and fjords, and many smaller islands along their coasts. Near the center of the North Island is a region called Waitomo, where steeply rolling green hillsides, cleared long ago of native bush, provide pasture for thousands of cows and sheep.

At 40 degrees latitude - nearly identical but inverse to my home in Harlemville, New York - the temperate climate of this South Pacific countryside supports the same European grasses and flowers that are naturalized in the northeastern U.S. December in Waitomo smelled deliciously and uncannily like June in Harlemville. Others have described it as a replica of English farmland. Clovers, plantains, dandelions, and grasses bloom al