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Glow Worm Tunnel via Wolgan Valley loop

Wollemi National Park

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Overview

Set aside a day to hike 9km through Wollemi National Park on Glow Worm Tunnel via Wolgan Valley loop. Marvel at the historic railway tunnel, a lush rainforest gorge, and rocky pagoda outcrops, on this special walk between Newnes and Lithgow.

Accessibility
No wheelchair access
Distance
9km loop
Time suggested
4 - 5hrs
Grade
Grade 4
Trip Intention Form

It's a good idea to let someone know where you're going. Fill in a trip intention form to send important details about your trip to your emergency contact.

What to
bring
Torch, drinking water, sturdy shoes, suitable clothing, first aid kit, personal locator beacon, hat, sunscreen, raincoat, snacks
Please note
  • Glow Worm Tunnel is home to thousands of glow worms. Help protect them by staying on the path.
  • Please take care in the tunnel as it’s completely dark and the ground can be slippery. 
  • When you turn off your torch, take the time for your eyes to adjust to the darkness before you see the glow worms.
  • Try to keep noise to a minimum as glow worms are sensitive to sound.
  • Shine your torch on the ground or use one with a red-light option as red-light is the least disruptive for glow worms.
  • There is no mobile reception in the Glow Worm Tunnel area.  It's a good idea to let someone know where you're going.
  • The Glow Worm Tunnel to Newnes section of the track may be closed during or after heavy rain because of rock fall and flood risk. Please check alerts for track closures before you leave home. 

Glow Worm Tunnel via Wolgan Valley loop is a walk you'll want to write home about after spending 4-5 hours in Wollemi National Park's world-heritage scenery.

The diverse and dramatic features on this walk include a historic railway tunnel with glow worms, the lush rainforest in Penrose Gorge, alien rock formations known as pagodas, and spectacular cliffs offering views out over Wolgan Valley.

Start from the Glow Worm Tunnel carpark and walk 1.5km to reach the loop. Turn right at the fork to walk the circuit anti-clockwise to minimise uphill sections. This also leaves the tunnel to the end of the walk and will allow you to spend as much time as you like seeing the glow worms. The first half of the loop along Pagoda track takes you through forests of twisted angophoras, waratahs, golden wattle, and banksias. You may even spot lyrebirds, goannas, gang-gang cockatoos and brush-tailed rock wallabies. You'll also see ‘platy’ pagoda rock formations. These are unique to the area because of their rough, sometimes striped surface, while most pagodas are smooth.

After about 3.2km, you'll reach a 4-way intersection. Take the first left to stay on the loop heading towards Glow Worm Tunnel following the old railway passage with heritage stone wall and railway sleeper remnants. After about 8km of peeking through trees the full view of the valley opens up at a lookout over Donkey Mountain, Wolgan Valley and Penrose Gorge.

Continue along Tunnel Creek surrounded by rainforest and narrow gorges before you reach Glow Worm Tunnel. Built in the early 1900s as part of the old Wolgan Valley railway track connecting Lithgow to Newnes, the tunnel is home to thousands of glow worms that cling to the dark, damp walls. At 387m long, it's dark enough for you to see glow worms during the day. Upgrades to the walking track to even out the surface and install a handrail make navigating in the dark easier. Switch off your torch, stay quiet, and wait for the tunnel to gently light up.

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info

Also see

  • NPWS field staff constructing the upgraded path in Glow Worm Tunnel in Wollemi National Park. Credit: Taku Kjelgaard, CloudHerd Commercial

    Learn more about Glow Worm Tunnel

    Get behind-the-scenes and watch our video to see how NPWS upgraded Glow Worm Tunnel walking track while avoiding negative impacts on the glow worm colony.

  • An image of Glow Worm Tunnel exit carved into a large rock wall with a family walking out to Penrose Gorge. Credit: John Spencer © DCCEEW

    Glow Worm Tunnel walking track

    Glow Worm Tunnel walking track is the fastest and easiest way to experience the wonder of this historic tunnel, lit by thousands of glow worms. It’s a favourite with visitors to Wollemi National Park, near Lithgow.

 

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Hand holding a phone with NSW National Parks app on screen. Photo: Branden Bodman/DPIE

 

Think Before You TREK

Are you planning a bushwalk, going somewhere remote or where the weather is extreme? Stay safe by planning your trip for all conditions and telling someone about it.

Bushwalkers in Wollemi National Park. Photo: Daniel Tran/DPIE

General enquiries

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