Jess is a Wanderer had been recommended to visit McLaren Falls by the wonderful Shelley and Paul - our Christmas Airbnb hosts. With glowworms and waterfalls, it was the perfect place to end our stay in Tauranga. What's more it's free and there are no restrictions for photographs like other glowworm hotspots.
McLaren Park is accessed by a gate which closes at 7:30pm prompt each night. As long as you're inside the area before then, you can stay for as long as you like (if overnight, you need to prepay for a camping permit) and the gate will automatically open when you want to leave.
If you're patient enough (in summer) to wait until after sunset (around 9pm), you'll be rewarded by hundreds of tiny glowworms sparkling in the darkness surrounded by nature's bushy, leafy plants; a trickling stream and a roaring waterfall. It's the perfect setting to see these curious creatures.
Here are the highlights: