This week Thinking Color heads underground in New Zealand to examine a colorful creature that lights up a subterranean world. The Waitomo glowworm caves are one of the largest and oldest tourist attractions in New Zealand.
English surveyors Laurence Cussen, and Fred Mace were awestruck when local Maori chief, Tane Tinorau, first lead the explorers to the cave. Drifting through the caves on a raft the englishman were amazed that the walls and ceiling glowed brighter than the little candle attached to their raft. The cave is home to a species of glowworm that only exists in the cave system. The worms are so prevalent in colonies attached to the walls and limestone formations that every surface of the cave seems to glow like a lightbulb.
Bathed in the glow created by the worms it did not take long for the english surveyors to hatch a plan, they would turn the cave into a tourist attraction based on the new railroad line that would be running through the area. The first hotel at the caves opened in 1887 and the tradition of tourism continues until this day.