Bad weather hits glow-worm tours

LAUREN HAYES
Last updated 13:24 21/01/2013
Southland Times photo
ROBYN EDIE/Fairfax NZ

Tourists return to the Te Anau Glowworm Caves, re-opened after heavy rain and flooding forced Real Journeys to close the attraction.

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The real cost of summer's wet start is beginning to show, with one company down thousands of dollars in lost admissions because of the weather.

Real Journeys chief executive Richard Lauder said heavy rain had closed Te Anau's glow-worm caves for about four days this month, one of the company's busiest months.

The poor weather meant the caves were unsafe for visitors. Safety apparatus in the caves, such as handrails, had been damaged by the excess water.

He believed that about 500 people a day were shown through the glow-worm caves.

With admission to the caves listed as $75 for an adult, the company could have missed out on more than $100,000 during the days the caves were closed.

However, Mr Lauder was reluctant to estimate how much the poor weather had cost the company, as many of the customers booked on the experience had been redirected to other Real Journeys activities.

"It's quite hard to say how much money we lost.

"There's a range of things we can offer [in place of the glowworms caves]."

While a bout of bad weather last year had also closed the caves for a length of time, he said this month's weather was worse because it hit right in the middle of tourism season.

January was part of the busiest period for the company, which stretched from late December until mid-February, he said.

"It is a very seasonal business. Normally in January there would be [no closures]."

He hoped the weather would hold out for Chinese New Year, which was another peak period for the company.

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- The Southland Times

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