Glow Worm Tunnel Walking Track
One of the most unique walking tracks in Australia is in the Wollemi National Park. Located just outside of Sydney, New South Wales near Lithgow. It is a mere 400 metres in length however the walk will take 1-2km. This is due to getting in and back from the designated parking some distance away. But don’t worry it is totally worth the trip.
Glow Worm Tunnel walking track is lit by thousands of glow worms all through the tunnel. This is what gives it its magical and ethereal feel. The tunnel was originally constructed as part of a railway line for the Newnes oil shale works. It fell into disuse and has since been abandoned.
It is located just over 30 kilometres from Lithgow or Clarence through Newnes Plateau. A lot of people combine the visit with one of the many lovely bush walks through the Wollemi National Park.
It is dark in the tunnel, so bring a torch and sturdy shoes!
The History of Glow Worm Tunnel
Built in the early 1900s, the Newnes oil-shale manufacturing growth was a large-scale undertaking for a moment. The idea was to contstruct a standard gauge railway into the Wolgan Valley. This was to link the Newnes oil works with the closest primary railway to Sydney. It was essential for the success of shale production and transport. The resulting railway linked at Newnes Junction, about 50 km north of Newnes, with the Western Main Line.
The railway had to be constructed with low grades and strong bends to get from the Newnes Plateau, past the sandstone hills and right into the Wolgan Valley, and fit through the tight gorge of what is now known as the Tunnel Creek.
The railway launched at the end of 1906, while in the 1930s the last periodic train operated. After the move of the Newnes unit to Glen Davis, south of Newnes, the railway was demolished in 1940.
Glow Worm Tunnel in Wollemi National Park
The Glow Worm Tunnel is actually one of two tunnels that now lie abandoned, which were part of the railway. The reason it is so dark and why we recommend a torch is that it bends at 180 degrees, hence no light traverses directly through it. There’s also a stream that passes through this tunnel, a small one, so bring sturdy shoes just in case. It’s these aspects of darkness, cool and a small stream that provide optimal conditions for the glow worms to flourish in this tunnel. The glow worms are all over the blue mountains but this is easily the best place to see them, and in such a magnificent setting.
How to get to Glow Worm Tunnel
The best way to reach Glow Worm Tunnel is to head to Lithgow first. Once you get there you should follow Inch Street and turn left onto Atkinson Street which will allow you to continue to Newnes Plateau. As you go along you’ll see some interesting rock formations but it’s important to stay on the gravel road and go past what was the afforestation camp previously.
The road here can be rough so we recommend you take it slow, there’s also an abundance of wild life, so take care not to hit a wombat or kangaroo. Absolutely avoid this place at night, as majestic as it is – it’s out in the wilderness and the odds of injuring yourself or especially wildlife is increased when it is dark – plus the tunnel is dark anyway so you may as well see it at day time when there are fewer challenges and obstacles to the visit.
Historical Significant of Wollemi National Park
For at least 12,000 years, the region that is now Wollemi National Park has been of importance to Aboriginal people. There is evidence of this association throughout the park, including ceremonial grounds, stone arrangements, grinding holes, scarred trees, and rock gravings. About 120 recognized Aboriginal locations are to be found in the park and likely many more. The individuals of Wiradjuri, Dharug, Wanaruah and Darkinjung have a powerful and continuous cultural connection to their traditional territories and seas.
Unique Geology of Wollemi National Park
Over the millennia, the landscape of Wollemi was carved into a beautiful network of towering sandstone escarpments, deep gorges and canyons, sweeping bends of the river, and stunning geology such as pagoda rock structures, basalt-capped hills and diatrems. The most comprehensive sandstone canyon scheme in eastern Australia is the dramatic Colo gorge and its tributaries. Take your camera and explore the amazing views and natural wonders that render it a treasure of the World Heritage.
Planning to camp out too? Don’t forget to pack the camping essentials.