The Waitomo Caves can be found on New Zealand's North Island, in the King Country region. Like many caves around the world, they're famous for their stalactite and stalagmite displays, but Waitomo offers something more.

When you enter this fascinating labyrinth netherworld by boat or inner tube, thousands of glowworms will illuminate your way.


Shaun Jeffers

The glowworms emit a phosphorescent glow, creating a surreal environment that looks as if you've entered a dark, starry night.

Over the past year, Auckland-based photographer Shaun Jeffers writes on Bored Panda that he's been "back and forth to Waitomo's Ruakuri Cave to master the art of photographing these magnificent little creatures."

Shaun Jeffers

These magical caves formed more than 30 million years ago, beginning with the creation of limestone at the bottom of the ocean - standing today as one of the country's most inspiring natural wonders.

Shaun Jeffers

Jeffers writes, "When the headlamps are out and all you can see are the glowworms, you can't help but feel like you've stepped into James Cameron's Avatar Pandora, it's just unreal!"

Shaun Jeffers

"Photographing glow worms is very similar to shooting the night sky," he adds, "however the exposure time can be much longer. These images in particular range between 30 seconds and 6 minutes exposures. To achieve the shots, it required me to submerge myself and my tripod in cold water for up to 6-8 hours a day – it was totally worth it!"

Shaun Jeffers

You can view more of Jeffers' work on his website at shaunjeffersphotography.com.


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