Guest author: Robbie Cheadle – Waitoma Glowworm Caves

During our family visit to the North Island of New Zealand in August 2016, we visited the Waitomo Glowworm Caves. The name Waitomo comes from the Maori words wai meaning water and tomo meaning hole or shaft. I have a bit of a fascination with caves and, as a result, we have visited several other fabulous caves including the Cango Caves in Knysna and Sterkfontein Caves in the Cradle of Mankind in South Africa.

This visit was a unique one for us as the Waitomo Glowworm Caves is famous for its population of Arachnocampa Luminosa, a species of glowworm found exclusively in New Zealand. It was very exciting to enter the cavern known as the glowworm grotto and experience the twinkling glow that emanates from the ceiling when the lighting is off. The glowworms are a species of small, dark flying gnats that glow during the larval and imago (last stage of metamorphosis) stages of their life cycle.

I did find it a bit creepy to be in a dark and damp cave which was completely covered with glowing larvae and luminous pupa, hanging down from the roof of the cave on silken threads. The larvae spin nests out of silk on the ceiling of the cave and then hang down up to seventy threads of silk, each up to thirty or forty centimeters long, from around the nest. The threads thread holds droplets of mucus and are used to catch prey. I am not that keen on walking into web like threads in the dark, I must be honest. I was interested to learn that the larva stage is the longest of the glowworms life cycle, lasting between six and twelve months, depending on the availability of food. Once the adult glowworms emerge from their pupa they don’t feed and only live a few days.

The caves were discovered in the 1800’s by a Maori Chieftan by the name of Tane Tinorau. On 28 December 1887, Tane and his companion, Fred Mace, an English surveyor, explored the cave on a flax raft, using burning torches to light their way. He began offering tours to visitors in 1889. Tane and his wife, Huti, acted as guides to tourists who wanted to visit the glowworm caves.

The cave system also has an exquisite limestone formation which formed when the region was still under the ocean approximately 30 million years ago. The limestone is composed of fossilized coral, seashells, fish skeletons and other small marine organisms that occur on the seabed. Over millions of years the fossilized rocks have layered over each other to form the limestone which is over 200 meters thick in some places in the Waitomo region.

8About the author

Robbie Cheadle was born in London in the United Kingdom. Her father died when she was three months old and her mother immigrated to South Africa with her tiny baby girl. Robbie has lived in Johannesburg, George and Cape Town in South Africa and attended fourteen different schools. This gave her lots of opportunities to meet new people and learn lots of social skills as she was frequently “the new girl”.

Robbie is a qualified Chartered Accountant and specialises in corporate finance with a specific interest in listed entities and stock markets. Robbie has written a number of publications on listing equities and debt instruments in Africa and foreign direct investment into Africa.

Robbie is married to Terence Cheadle and they have two lovely boys, Gregory and Michael. Michael (aged 11) is the co-author of the Sir Chocolate series of books and attends school in Johannesburg. Gregory (aged 14) is an avid reader and assists Robbie and Michael with filming and editing their YouTube videos and editing their books.

Find and follow Robbie

Robbie’s Inspiration Blog      Goodreads    Facebook    YouTube

Amazon author page   Twitter: @bakeandwrite

Books by Robbie and Michael Cheadle

The Sir Chocolate books are a delightful marriage of story, verse and cookery

… a perfect recipe for sharing with children.  Silly Willy goes to Cape Town tells the adventures of two very different brothers…and includes five party cake ideas.

You can purchase the Sir Chocolate books from:

Amazon    TSL Books

or you can buy them in South Africa directly from the authors by emailing Robbie Cheadle at


Why not be my guest?

If you are a writer, artist or photographer…If you have a poem, story or memoirs to share… If you have a book to promote, a character to introduce, an exhibition or event to publicise… If you have advice for writers, artists or bloggers…

If you would like to be my guest, please read the guidelines and get in touch!

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
This entry was posted in Guest post and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

61 Responses to Guest author: Robbie Cheadle – Waitoma Glowworm Caves

  1. Colline says:

    The limestone formations are amazing.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Darlene says:

    A fascinating place. I bet the boys loved it, especially the glow worms. A great post!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I always know I’m in for a treat when I see Robbie featured, Sue. But this was fascinating. Hugs to you both.


  4. Thanks for this fascinating post, Robbie. The last time I remember being in a cave was on a school geography trip, in Yorkshire many years ago. I remember the limestone coming down from the ceiling and also going up from the floor. We alsso explored the limestone pavements. While geography was never my strong point, I did enjoy exploring the caves. Kevin

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ritu says:

    Those caves look amazing!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I have had an earworm for the past week of “Glow Little Glow Worm” and it hasn’t gone away until i read this today. Apparently I needed to read this post. Glow little glow worm — glimmer! glimmer!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. rivrvlogr says:

    I would have enjoyed this visit, Robbie. The state of Missouri is known for its caves, and has nearly 20 “show caves.” Since moving here in 2012, I’ve visited about a half-dozen of them plus a few that are in state parks.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I would hope they give you something to cover your hair! Very cool, but I don’t think my claustrophobia would be happy in there, lol

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Mary Smith says:

    Fascinating, Robbie, though I don’t fancy walking into the threads either. The limestone looks amazing.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Reblogged this on Robbie's inspiration and commented:
    I am visiting Sue Vincent at Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo today and sharing my family’s visit to the Waitoma Glowworm Caves in New Zealand. Thank you Sue for hosting us all today, we love visiting your fabulous blog.


  11. Just fascinating. I would be a little creeped out too, Robbie. But what a thing to experience. And only in one place in the world. That’s amazing. Thanks for sharing, ladies. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Such a cool thing to do.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. TanGental says:

    dare i say that when I went, three years ago with my lad, we took the Abyss tour or something that involved wet suits, abseils, zip-wires, rubber rings and swimming. Frankly the sticky webs were the least of my worries… If you’re at all interested…

    Liked by 2 people

  14. A wonderful story Robbie! Never heared about such a place with glowworms, till today. Fascinating indeed. Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  15. That was an interesting read. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. HI Robbie. A very interesting post. I also find caves fascinating and have visited Cango and Sterkfontein. The Waitoma caves sound brilliant, glow worms are one of my favourite bugs.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Jennie says:

    I think this sounds fascinating! Thanks, Robbie.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Wow! This sounds like an amazing thing to see! I’ll definitely have to try to get there one day!!

    Liked by 2 people

  19. olganm says:

    Fascinating, Robbie. Nature never ceases to amaze me. Thanks, Robbie and Sue.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Mae Clair says:

    Waht a cool place to visit. I’m kind of freaky about caves, but the glow worms are amazing!

    Liked by 2 people

  21. jjspina says:

    This is fascinating, Robbie! I agree I would find it a little creepy to walk around with these creatures hanging above my head. Ugh! Thanks for sharing this interesting post. Hugs to you and Sue! Xx

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.