This Glow Worm-Dotted Cave In New Zealand Is Literally “Avatar” IRL

Woodsprites are taking over underground.

Remember that scene from Avatar when hundreds of woodsprites laid on Jake Scully and Neytiri thought this was a sign that he has some sort of mythological importance?

Remember that scene from Avatar when hundreds of woodsprites laid on Jake Scully and Neytiri thought this was a sign that he has some sort of mythological importance?

Twentieth Century Fox

Well, New Zealand must be where their diety resides. In Waitomo’s Ruakuri caves alone, a colony of woodsprite-like glow worms make the underground look celestial.

Well, New Zealand must be where their diety resides. In Waitomo's Ruakuri caves alone, a colony of woodsprite-like glow worms make the underground look celestial.

Shaun Jeffers / shaunjeffersphotography.com

Photographer Shaun Jeffers dedicated an entire year capturing these glow worms. Spending eight hours at a time in the caves, he said the illumination looks as vibrant in real life as what you can see in the photos.

Photographer Shaun Jeffers dedicated an entire year capturing these glow worms. Spending eight hours at a time in the caves, he said the illumination looks as vibrant in real life as what you can see in the photos.

“It’s quite surreal. Tourists will generally see them as little green lights similar to looking at a really starry sky. But spending hours in the cave, my eyes would adjust to the darkness,” Jeffers told BuzzFeed.

Shaun Jeffers / shaunjeffersphotography.com

Eight hours is a lot of time to spend in a cave in the dark. Jeffers said he occasionally had a companion with him to swap ghost stories with. He also made sure he had Whittaker’s chocolate with him all the time.

Eight hours is a lot of time to spend in a cave in the dark. Jeffers said he occasionally had a companion with him to swap ghost stories with. He also made sure he had Whittaker's chocolate with him all the time.

Shaun Jeffers / shaunjeffersphotography.com


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