The road to the Luminescence: How to Get to the Glowworm Tunnel in NSW
Situated in New South Wales, Australia, the Glowworm Tunnel captivates visitors with its luminescent residents. The tunnel, which once served a historical purpose, is now a dark sanctuary illuminated by thousands of glow worms. Although enchanting, reaching this spot requires navigating an unpaved road.
Why is Glowworm Tunnel famous for?
The Glow Worm Tunnel, a 400-meter expanse in the heart of the Wolgan Valley, attracts bushwalkers and tourists alike. Initially constructed in the 1900s for the burgeoning mining industry in Newnes, its curving structure makes it particularly dim—perfect for the glow worms that have made it their home. These bioluminescent creatures thrive in the tunnel's damp, dark conditions, making the tunnel arguably the best spot in the Blue Mountains to witness their beauty. In addition to these natural lights, the vicinity boasts stunning gorges, caves, and vistas. Managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service, visitors should tread lightly, keeping noise down and being cautious of the rocky and uneven terrain. Note that vehicles can't access the tunnel—a deliberate decision to protect the glow worms from exhaust fumes.
How to get to Glowworm Tunnel?
The pathway to the Glowworm Tunnel lies within the Wollemi National Park and is named the Glowworm Tunnel Road. This 35.6 km stretch starts from Clarence, tracing the route of the Newnes railway line, which once facilitated the Newnes Oil Shale mines in the early 20th century. Since its decommission in 1932, the rails have been removed, leaving a rough and narrow road behind. As the road meanders through the old railway's route, drivers are treated to elevated embankments, cuttings, and sweeping curves. The winding end of the drive poses a challenge, navigating through deep cuttings and even a railway tunnel. With the road's narrowness and blind corners, drivers should be on the lookout for other vehicles, including motorbikes. While it's possible for 2WD vehicles to traverse this route during dry conditions, a 4WD vehicle is recommended.
Upon reaching the journey's end, travelers will find a parking area 1 km away from the tunnel's entrance. Be wary; the parking space, especially during peak seasons, can fill up quickly.
Pic: Alfredo Revelant