Glow Worm Tunnel Newnes

Glow Worm Tunnel Newnes

Glow Worm Tunnel Newnes Australia

Last time I attempted this outdoors adventure, it was a glorious failure. North Nomad had already moved back to Canada, and I had two weeks left in Australia before I joined him in Toronto.

I wanted just one more adventure with my Subaru in the bush. With my sights set on the Glow Worm Tunnel at Newnes, I followed the directions up the 34 kilometres of unsealed road from Clarence, and managed to drive right on past the trail, missing the Glow Worm Tunnel.

My spatial ability isn’t the best…

Jump forward almost three years.

This time I was in Australia with North Nomad to navigate, and some fairly detailed instructions from Lithgow Tourism and Blue Mountains Tourism.

Just to be extra certain we didn’t get lost, we dropped into Lithgow Tourism where Gai explained the directions to us and gave us some maps. She reassured me that she hadn’t heard of anyone getting lost looking for this trail!

Having sold my poor Subaru to the knackers back in 2012, we had our trusty Hyundai hire car this trip. Now, because the insurance on your hire car is usually voided when you take it on unsealed roads, we had to get to the Glow Worm Tunnel a little differently.

If you have a car you can take on unsealed roads, you can get to the tunnel via a 34 kilometre unsealed road at Clarence.

Glow Worm Tunnel Newnes Australia

Without such a car, you need to drive to Lidsdale, 10km north of Lithgow. You take Wolgan Road and drive for about 30km to the start of the track, which is sign posted on the road.

You do still need to do just under a kilometre of unsealed road, just past the Emirates lodge, but it’s a surprisingly good quality unsealed road.

Glow Worm Tunnel Newnes Australia

Glow Worm Tunnel Newnes Australia

At the gate, we took our shoes off to walk through the river, to get to the 9 kilometre return hike ahead.

The water was icy-cold, but beautiful and clear. If it had been a bit deeper it would have been lovely for a swim!

Glow Worm Tunnel Newnes Australia

Glow Worm Tunnel Newnes Australia

Glow Worm Tunnel Newnes Australia

Onwards, we had a steep incline for about a kilometre. I wasn’t at my fittest after a lot of travel, and found this stage a little grueling.

It’s also sandy with that orange dust I love in the Australian bush (or outback, as North Nomad likes to call it), so you need good, firm shoes so you don’t slip.

The bush in this section is more sparse, so you also need good sunscreen and a hat to protect against suburn.

Glow Worm Tunnel Newnes Australia

Glow Worm Tunnel Newnes Australia

Glow Worm Tunnel Newnes Australia

Glow Worm Tunnel Newnes Australia

Glow Worm Tunnel Newnes Australia

Glow Worm Tunnel Newnes Australia

Beyond the incline, the landscape changes into denser bush and scrub. The roar of the cicadas at this point was deafening. I needed to block my ears at parts because it hurt!

And we wondered whether it was Monarch mating season, as we’d never seen so many of those rust coloured butterflies in one area before.

Glow Worm Tunnel Newnes Australia

Glow Worm Tunnel Newnes Australia

Glow Worm Tunnel Newnes Australia

Glow Worm Tunnel Newnes Australia

Closer towards the Glow Worm Tunnel, the landscape changes again. A creek appears and the trail runs parallel with it.

Ferns overtake this part of the hike, the trees are more lush, and it’s cooler and damp.

The smell as we approach the tunnel reminds me of Jenolan Caves, so I can tell when we’re close.

Glow Worm Tunnel Newnes Australia

Glow Worm Tunnel Newnes Australia

Glow Worm Tunnel Newnes Australia

Glow Worm Tunnel Newnes Australia

The entrance to the Glow Worm Tunnel is impressive – a huge hollowed out rocky area, previously part of the railway to Newnes Kerosene Shale Works.

It’s pitch black inside the tunnel. Gai had warned us we’d need torches to see our way through. We find the light on our iPhones was more than sufficient to get us through.

Glow Worm Tunnel Newnes Australia

Glow Worm Tunnel Newnes Australia

Glow Worm Tunnel Newnes Australia

It’s also very chilly inside, and worth bringing a jacket. The path where the railway use to lie is uneven, but closer to the sides of the tunnel is much easier to navigate, where it’s smoother and less wet.

When we get closer to the middle of the tunnel, North Nomad stops us and turns off his torch. The glow worms start to flicker into vision.

The longer without the lights, the more glow worms we see appear. They look like tiny stars in a midnight sky. It’s beautiful; serene. And with the damp and the silence, a little spooky!

Glow Worm Tunnel Newnes Australia

Glow Worm Tunnel Newnes Australia

Glow Worm Tunnel Newnes Australia

(Yes, that’s two solitary glow worms we could capture without the flash. I didn’t want to pester them, so didn’t try too hard for a photo. You’ll just have to do the hike to see them!)

Our walk back is not as strenuous as the walk up. And the icy water in the river is lovely and refreshing to walk through on the way back. If we had towels, I would have happily just sat there in the water for an hour to rest up.

Between the scenery, the sound of the cicadas, and the glow worms, this is possibly my favourite hike so far in the mountains and Lithgow area. And we recommend trying it out in Summer, when walking through a river is very appealing!

Glow Worm Tunnel Newnes Australia

Glow Worm Tunnel Newnes Australia

Glow Worm Tunnel Newnes Australia

Glow Worm Tunnel Newnes Australia

Glow Worm Tunnel Newnes Australia

Getting there:  Drive to the weir over the Wolgan River 7km before Newnes, and do the 9km return hike, walk or cycle in from Newnes State forest, or drive from Lithgow or Clarence (both roads eventually join up), about 25km bumpy dirt road, and walk 1km to the tunnel.

Contact Details: www.tourism.lithgow.com

Lithgow Visitor Information Centre: 1137 Great Western Highway,  Lithgow NSW 2790

Telephone: 1300 76 02 76 or 612+ 6350 3230 Email: tourism@lithgow.com

Tips: Wear good shoes and sunscreen. Bring a hat and torches. Gai from Lithgow Tourism also let us know that glow worms do no not like light or noise – and you can see them much better without shining your light on them.

 

21 thoughts on “Glow Worm Tunnel Newnes

  1. Looks great! We have been to those caves before but by car, didn’t know there was a hike so will check that one out when we are up there next (favourite part of this corner of the world :))

    • I’m such a numpty. I tried to find it by car and apparently drove straight past it. Only took me a few years and Shawn’s help to find it. 😉 The hike is really beautiful. 🙂

  2. Wow! What a trek to get there! I bet it was worth it though. The closest thing I’ve ever done to this would be touring Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. I remember it being quite chilly once you get all the way down inside. Fun adventure and great pictures! =)

    • Yes! They get quite cold on the inside. We haven’t been to the Carlsbad ones, but we visited some in Kentucky. It was stinking hot outside, and quite chilly inside.

    • Even if you’re not an outdoorsy place, Australia is good to visit. It’s one of those parts of the world where beautiful landscape is close to the cities, so you can easily go for a quick trip and though go back to a nice hotel. 🙂

    • Not a dumb question at all, Lou. I actually googled that before we went! Apparently they are actually insects, not worms, but their lower half looks really similar to worms. So yes, like fireflies 🙂

  3. You make me wanna go explore the world! It’s so pretty! I would love to be in a place warm enough to take a swim right now (or even just wading!). It’s so pretty! *-*

    • Yeah it’s pretty cold where you guys are! It’s stinking hot again in Chiang Mai. I think we had winter for 2 weeks here, and it still didn’t drop below 90 degrees here during the day. You would be appalled, I was wearing sweaters at night time! hehe

  4. I’ve heard about these and I’d love to see them! I’m glad you had a good experience; it’s good to hear from something besides pinterest that this place is actually worth going to! 🙂

    • Yes! It’s a beautiful place. The changes in temperature, the sounds, and the smells, they’re the things that you just can’t replicate on pinterest. 🙂

  5. Beautiful!! Thanks for sharing your adventures with us 🙂 You describe things in a was that really help me imagine what it would be like to be there. I spent a couple of weeks in Australia a few years ago but didn’t see nearly as much as I want to. Looks like a trip back is in order!

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