Glow Worm Tunnel walking track

Wollemi National Park

Affected by closures, check current alerts 

Overview

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.

Where
Wollemi National Park
Accessibility
No wheelchair access
Distance
2km return
Time suggested
1 - 2hrs
Grade
Grade 3
Price
Free
What to
bring
Hat, sunscreen, raincoat, snacks, drinking water, sturdy shoes, suitable clothing
Please note
  • Please take care in the tunnel as the ground is rocky, uneven and slippery.
  • It’s completely dark inside the tunnel, so remember to bring a torch.
  • Try to keep noise to a minimum as glow worms are sensitive to sound.
  • It’s best to visit during the week or in spring or autumn. It can be very busy and there’s limited parking during summer, weekends, and holiday periods.
  • Please stay on the walking track to protect the fragile ecosystem in this World Heritage-listed national park.

Glow Worm Tunnel walking track is a short, easy walking track, only a 2.5hour drive from Sydney. It’s popular with families and Sydneysiders keen to see glow worms in their natural environment.

The track starts from the carpark at the end of Glow Worm Tunnel Road. Enjoy the easy 1km walk to the tunnel entrance, past an impressive landscape of tall forests, lush tree ferns, narrow gorges and stunning pagoda rock formations.

The 400m-long tunnel was built in the early 1900s as part of the railway for the thriving mining industry at Newnes. It’s now home to thousands of glow worms that cling to the dark, damp walls. Switch off your torch, keep quiet, and wait for the worms to light up the tunnel with pinpricks of blue light.

On your way back, look for goannas and lyrebirds. If you’re lucky, you may spot a swamp wallaby or koala. During spring and summer, the walking track is dotted with yellow pagoda daisies, while banksias bloom in the cooler months.

You can also access Glow Worm Tunnel from Old Coach Road or from Wolgan Valley Road near Newnes. If you’re up for a challenge, the 7.5km Wolgan Valley circuit is a 4hr loop that features pagoda and Wolgan Valley views.

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info

Current alerts in this area

There are no current alerts in this area.

Local alerts

For the latest updates on fires, closures and other alerts in this area, see https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/walking-tracks/glow-worm-tunnel-walking-track/local-alerts

General enquiries

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Glow Worm Tunnel walking track.

Track grading

Grade 3

Learn more about the grading system Features of this track
  • Time

    1 - 2hrs

  • Quality of markings

    Clearly sign posted

  • Gradient

    Gentle hills

  • Distance

    2km return

  • Steps

    Occasional steps

  • Quality of path

    Formed track, some obstacles

  • Experience required

    Some bushwalking experience recommended

Getting there and parking

Glow Worm Tunnel walking track is in the Lithgow area of Wollemi National Park. To get there:

From Bells Line of Road via Newnes Plateau

  • Turn off Bells Line of Road at Clarence (Zig Zag Railway).
  • Follow the gravel road through Newnes State Forest for 39km.
  • Continue on Glow Worm Tunnel Road until you reach the carpark.
  • From here, it’s an easy 1km walk along the railway formation to the tunnel entrance.

From Lithgow via Newnes Plateau

  • The route is signposted from the corner of Bridge St and Main Street.
  • Turn left at Atkinson Street and after 750m, right at State Mine Gully Road.
  • Continue on Glow Worm Tunnel Road until you reach the carpark.
  • From here, it’s an easy 1km walk along the railway formation to the tunnel entrance.

Road conditions and access

  • The unsealed gravel road in Newnes State Forest is in very poor condition with many potholes. While 2WD vehicles can access this route in dry weather, 4WD vehicles are recommended.
  • 2WD vehicles may prefer to take the route from Lithgow.
  • Please drive carefully on the narrow gravel roads, and look out for wildlife.

  • Unsealed roads

Vehicle access

  • 2WD vehicles (no long vehicle access)

Weather restrictions

  • 4WD required in wet weather

Parking

  • The carpark is at the end of Glow Worm Tunnel Road, 1km south of the Glow Worm Tunnel. Car spaces are limited during peak times.
  • You can also park at the Old Coach Road carpark and walk along the Pagoda walking track and connect with Glow Worm Tunnel walking track (4km return).

Facilities

  • Drinking water is not available in this area so you’ll need to bring your own.
  • Please take all rubbish with you when you leave.

Toilets

  • Non-flush toilets

Carpark

Maps and downloads

Safety messages

Bushwalking safety

If you're keen to head out on a longer walk or a backpack camp, always be prepared. Read these bushwalking safety tips before you set off on a walking adventure in national parks.

Fire safety

During periods of fire weather, the Commissioner of the NSW Rural Fire Service may declare a total fire ban for particular NSW fire areas, or statewide. Learn more about total fire bans and fire safety.

Mobile safety

Dial Triple Zero (000) in an emergency. Download the Emergency + app before you visit, it helps emergency services locate you using your smartphone's GPS. Please note there is limited mobile phone reception in this park and you’ll need mobile reception to call Triple Zero (000).

Accessibility

Disability access level - no wheelchair access

Prohibited

Camping

Camping is not permitted in the Glow Worm Tunnel area. The nearest campground is Newnes campground, which is accessed via Wolgan Valley Road.

Cycling

Cycling is not permitted along this walking track or in the Glow Worm Tunnel. You can cycle on Glow Worm Tunnel Road.

Pets

Pets and domestic animals (other than certified assistance animals) are not permitted. Find out which regional parks allow dog walking and see the pets in parks policy for more information.

Smoking

NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

Learn more

Glow Worm Tunnel walking track is in Wollemi National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

Ancient connections

Deep Pass campground, Wollemi National Park. Photo: N Stone

The area that is now Wollemi National Park has held significance to Aboriginal people for at least 12,000 years. Evidence of this connection can be seen throughout the park, including ceremonial grounds, stone arrangements, grinding grooves, scarred trees and rock engravings. There are around 120 known Aboriginal sites in the park and probably many more yet to be discovered. The Wiradjuri, Dharug, Wanaruah and Darkinjung people have a strong and ongoing cultural association with their traditional lands and waters. 

  • Guided kayak tours of Ganguddy-Dunns Swamp Experience the natural beauty of escarpments, gorges and wildlife on a guided paddling tour of Gunguddy-Dunns Swamp with Southern Cross Kayaking.
  • Pagoda Lookout walking track Pagoda Lookout walking track is a short but steep walk near Rylstone in Wollemi National Park. Enjoy incredible views over ancient pagoda rock formations and the Cudgegong River.

Geological marvels

Newnes campground, Wollemi National Park Photo: Steve Alton

Wollemi's landscape has been sculpted over millennia into a magnificent network of soaring sandstone escarpments, plunging gorges and canyons, winding river valleys and awe-inspiring geological and geomorphological features such as pagoda rock formations, basalt-capped mountains and diatremes. The spectacular Colo gorge and its tributaries form the most extensive sandstone canyon system in eastern Australia. Grab your camera and discover for yourself the breathtaking vistas and natural marvels that make this a World Heritage treasure.

  • Guided kayak tours of Ganguddy-Dunns Swamp Experience the natural beauty of escarpments, gorges and wildlife on a guided paddling tour of Gunguddy-Dunns Swamp with Southern Cross Kayaking.
  • Pagoda Lookout walking track Pagoda Lookout walking track is a short but steep walk near Rylstone in Wollemi National Park. Enjoy incredible views over ancient pagoda rock formations and the Cudgegong River.

Nature's haven

Brush tailed rock wallaby (Petrogale Penicillata), Wollemi National Park. Photo: Ingo Oeland

It's little surprise that Wollemi's spectacular landscape shelters a rich diversity of plants and animals. The rare Wollemi pine - a 'living fossil' whose closest relatives thrived some 90 million years ago was rediscovered here in 1994, and the park protects an incredible array of botanical species and communities, from open eucalypt forest and woodlands including Hawkesbury and grey box, to rainforests and perched swamps. This variety makes it an appealing habitat for eastern grey kangaroos, red-necked wallabies and the elusive brush-tailed rock wallaby, as well as the beautifully marked broad-headed snake, regent honeyeater and glossy black cockatoo. Around 55 species of butterfly have also been recorded.

  • Wollemi guided Glow Worm Tunnel walk Join Wolgan Valley Eco Tours on the popular Glow Worm Tunnel walking track in Wollemi National Park and see the magical natural light show created by thousands of glow worms.

Outdoor adventure

Newnes industrial ruins walk, Wollemi National Park. Photo: Steve Alton

Pitch a tent at one of Wollemi's great campgrounds, like the secluded Colo Meroo backpack campground, the car-accessible Coorongooba campground or the dramatically-situated, car-accessible Newnes campground. With your base set up, you're free to get out and enjoy the park's fantastic outdoor attractions, be they more relaxed pursuits such as picnicking, canoeing and swimming or something more adventurous like rock climbing, horseriding and hiking.

Plants and animals you may see

Animals

  •  Superb lyrebird, Minnamurra Rainforest, Budderoo National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

    Superb lyrebird (Menura novaehollandiae)

    With a complex mimicking call and an elaborate courtship dance to match, the superb lyrebird is one of the most spectacular Australian animals. A bird watching must-see, the superb lyrebird can be found in rainforests and wet woodlands across eastern NSW and Victoria.

  • Common wombat. Photo: Ingo Oeland

    Common wombat (Vombatus ursinus)

    A large, squat marsupial, the Australian common wombat is a burrowing mammal found in coastal forests and mountain ranges across NSW and Victoria. The only other remaining species of wombat in NSW, the endangered southern hairy-nosed wombat, was considered extinct until relatively recently.

  • Southern boobook. Photo: David Cook

    Southern boobook (Ninox novaeseelandiae)

    The southern boobook, also known as the mopoke, is the smallest and most common native owl in Australia. With a musical 'boo-book' call that echoes through forests and woodlands, the southern boobook is a great one to look out for while bird watching.

  • Satin bowerbird. Photo: Ken Stepnell

    Satin bowerbird (Ptilonorhynchus violaceus)

    With vibrant blue-violet eyes and curious antics, the satin bowerbird is a favourite for bird watching and easy to spot as it forages for food in open forest. Relatively common across eastern Australia, in NSW they’re found in coastal rainforests and adjacent woodlands and mountain ranges.

Plants

  • Smooth-barked apple. Photo: Jaime Plaza

    Smooth-barked apple (Angophora costata)

    Smooth-barked apple gums, also known as Sydney red gum or rusty gum trees, are Australian native plants found along the NSW coast, and in the Sydney basin and parts of Queensland. Growing to heights of 15-30m, the russet-coloured angophoras shed their bark in spring to reveal spectacular new salmon-coloured bark.

Environments in this park

Education resources (1)