Wollemi Glow Worm Tunnel

Carl doesn’t like to rise early on a Sunday morning so he wasn’t very pleased when I told him we had to be up at six to take a three-hour drive to go and see some glowworms.

The bush walk begins

The bush walk begins

Wollomi National Park

Wollomi National Park

‘What for?’ he asked. ‘Scouts.  It’s a scout activity we were supposed to do a year ago but couldn’t because of the bush fires so it’s on tomorrow’.  He actually replied, ‘Do you want to go on your own?’

A scenic beginning to our hike

A scenic beginning to our hike

I couldn’t understand the reluctance.  I thought it would be lovely to be up early and attacking the day with a trip to see something I’d never seen before then head to a pub or cafe for lunch.  Sounded perfect to me.

The beginning

The beginning

Unfortunately, we slept in and then there was a terrible scramble to get out the door because we had to meet everyone else at a fast-food outlet on the other side of the Blue Mountains in Lithgow by 9am.  As I ran around trying to get everyone ready I tried to remember what the email stated we needed to bring.  I remembered a backpack, a bottle of water and a jacket in case it gets cold.

Off we go

That’s me in the green top – powering!

We headed off in the car only to discover it had but a whiff of petrol (uni students).  We detoured to the closest petrol station but arrived to find it hadn’t yet opened.  We scratched our heads trying to think of where there was another one (because service stations seem to be disappearing), and then had to take another 15-minute detour to the next closest bowser.

Heading off on the trek

Heading off on the trek

By now Carl was grumpy.  He hadn’t had his lovely sleep-in, he hadn’t had a coffee and we were running nearly an hour late.

A long walk ahead

A long walk ahead

We made up for some lost time on the M4 but then I announced I needed a toilet break and Carl couldn’t understand why I couldn’t hold on for another hour or so.  Anyway, at the convenience store where they had bathroom facilities they also had a coffee machine and so Mr Grumpy cheered up – just a little.

The terrain was varying

The terrain was varying

We arrived at the meeting place and settled in to a dire breakfast where I didn’t really eat much but it didn’t bother me because I knew we were near the glow-worms and after that I could step into the nearest cafe.

A glorious view

A glorious view

From Lithgow we continued on through the very picturesque Wolgan Valley and it was then that I remembered the email had said, ‘Don’t forget your torch for the tunnel’.  Whoops.  Never mind, we had our mobile phones.

There's a path in there somewhere

There’s a path in there somewhere

When we arrived at the sign that pointed us in the direction of the Wollomi Glow Worm Tunnel, I noticed all the other adults had things on their feet like hiking boots.  Carl said, ‘Do we have to walk to the tunnel?’  And apparently I hadn’t seen that bit of the email that said it was an 11km round trip across varying types of terrain.

Stunning view

Stunning view

And we noticed the other adults had large packs filled with drinks and edibles to make a wonderful picnic lunch and that was when I remembered the email said, ‘Take some water, drinks and food with you’.

Sheer cliff faces

Sheer cliff faces

Carl asked, ‘Did you pack any food?’  And then I was really annoyed because I hate the way I’m the one who apparently has to think of everything.  So we started the walk not even speaking.  Except when Carl mentioned he was ‘starving already’ and he’d had several McMuffins less than an hour ago and we hadn’t even crossed the creek at the start of the hike.

Rock faces - massive

Rock faces – massive

That’s the other thing.  At the start of this hike, there is a creek you have to cross and you will need waterproof hiking boots as it’s not that shallow.  We didn’t have any of those luxuries so we had to take off our shoes and socks and walk across in bare feet then try to put our socks back on, on wet dirty feet.  I could feel grating grits for the next 11kms.



When you don’t have other people around annoying you, it’s actually a very lovely walk.  It’s not that difficult although there were some ‘thrills and spills’ and a few of the younger children had some tears.  But you’re in a very picturesque environment with ever-changing scenery and you’re out in the fresh air and there’s hardly any people around and I found it really enjoyable.

Like being in a rainforest

Like being in a rainforest

At a certain point the track heads off in two different directions and you can choose between the walking track or the railway track.  It’s hard to believe there was ever a railway in this environment but apparently, back in the 1970’s there was a plan to mine coal in the area.  The tunnel we were walking towards is man-made and was excavated as part of the coal works that never went ahead.

The tunnel's entrance

The tunnel’s entrance

Taking the railway track, it took us a couple of hours to reach the entrance of the tunnel.  This is where everyone sat down and opened up their picnic hampers for a few snacks.  We just watched.  Carl cheered up when a benevolent man offered him a Danish.

Glow worms

Glow worms

It takes about 15-minutes to walk through the tunnel.  Once you go around the bend, it’s pitch-black so don’t forget to bring your torch!  Carl and I shared the light from my mobile phone while Alfie had run ahead with Carl’s phone.  It’s not smooth underfoot and there is a stream running through it so you do need to watch where you’re going to avoid soggy footwear and/or a twisted ankle.

'There's always light at the end of the tunnel'

‘There’s always light at the end of the tunnel’

There are plenty of glow worms to see and they are spectacular.  I’d never seen glow worms before.  They light up the tunnel like stars in a distant sky.  The best thing to do is stop, switch off your torch/phone, then allow the worms to glow.  The effect will be the prettiest tunnel you’ve ever been in.

You're not in the Australian bush unless you come across a monstrous goanna

You’re not in the Australian bush unless you come across a monstrous goanna

Once through the other side, our group sat down and enjoyed a picnic lunch.  Except we didn’t have a picnic lunch.  There was another member of the scouts who took pity on the disorganised few and gave us a trail bar each.  It was enough to get us back down the mountain – just. After that it was straight to the nearest cafe that wasn’t near enough.

Verdict:  The Wollemi Glow Worm Tunnel is definitely worth a visit.  It is a little far from Sydney for a day trip but it can be done if you are organised.  The surroundings are a spectacular example of the Australian landscape and you will see many beautiful and amazing glimpses of Australian fauna and fauna.

Wollemi Glow Worm Tunnel:  Wollemi National Park, Blue Mountains, Australia

A glorious view

A glorious view

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  1. I saw the glow worm caves in New Zealand and I thought they were fantastic. This would have been perfect with proper shoes and a picnic. 🙂 It’s all Carl’s fault, I say.

  2. Danielle says:

    Wow, gorgeous scenery and seeing the glow worms would be something special. A fun family day out, though love the bit where you said ‘if you don’t have other people around annoying you it’s actually very lovely’, that cracked me up!

  3. I can so relate to this whole story, mind you I have never been on this beautiful trail but sure have been in your situation. Grit in between the toes helps release those calluses…. Beautiful photos even if you were joined by Mr. Grumpy…

  4. Sounds like your outing was full of adventure!! Not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing, but at least it makes for a great story!

  5. Your descriptive and detailed storytelling always rates as incredibly amusing and entertaining.

    What an adventure.

  6. What a fantastic hiking destination, in spite of grumpiness, toilet unavailability, no food, and giant goannas! You always amuse and fascinate.

  7. You should do stand-up comedy! Phyllis Diller used to talk about her grumpy husband in a similarly entertaining fashion.

  8. Well, Carl was a trooper for going on the trip! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Why is it that we always have to think of everything anyway?!!? Why the blazes can’t they pack a bag or wear their hiking shoes!?!?!? I mean come on, it’s like having another child for the love of Pete! At least the view was gorgeous!! Your photos are just amazing as usual, Charlie!! Glad you enjoyed at least part of the trip! 😉 xo

  10. I would love this trail. I’m not sure I’m fit enough for some of your hiking/running, but I’d love to meander. And I have never seen glow worms. How interesting. So many times your landscape is very familiar to me and could be easily a mirror of some Southern California hiking trails and vistas. But then I never see anything that remotely resembles a goanna! Much like you saying you never see deer. We have a lot in common, with some distinct differences. But our love for nature and the outdoors is shared. And I would love to take a nice long hike with you, Charlie. 🙂

  11. What a trip! Glad you all made it unscathed. I have never even heard of glow worms, I wonder if they even exist here in Canada, I will check it out. Your photos are lovely and you can definitely feel how lush that forest is. Alfie must have had a blast, were you able to bring back any of the glow worms? We have fireflies in Canada, we even have them up at our cottage. You can see them sparkling up the evening skies in the spring and summer, they are rather lovely. Thanks for letting us tag along.

  12. What an adventure! Isn’t that the way with husbands? I had it on the way to the coast when will turned to me and asked for a drink and was shocked when I said I hadn’t packed any!

  13. It sounds like an amazing trip though the long hike would be a stopping point for me. You’ll have to do it again without the grumpy companion but WITH waterproof boots, a torch (or flashlight for we, North Americans) and a picnic hamper with lots of good food and drink.

  14. Awesome!
    Have a beautiful day Charlie.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  15. Your views were spectacular!!! We seem to have those same kind of mornings…someone is always grumpy and it’s MY job to remember everything. I’ll take your word that the glow-worms were a neat experience…I’m sure I’d go in the tunnel, but I have to admit the sound of lots of worms gives me the heebie-jeebies 🙂

  16. what beautiful scenery – I am glad it was given the odds you overcame to get there – I often wish I was more organised with these sorts of trips, esp as I am the one who is expected to do it. I’ve never seen glow worms before though I have this feeling they were in the bush near our year 10 school camp

  17. G’day! I LOVE glow worms Charlie! Great photo of the goanna and love the Blue Mountains and the sounds of the Blue Bells in the morning too!
    Cheers! Joanne

  18. This sounds fantastic! I wouldn’t have liked the rushed start, Mr Grumpy or wet feet, but aside from those things – what beautiful scenery and a memorable weekend. I’m glad you made it even if there were some challenges 🙂

  19. Men!!! I’ve got a Mr Grumpy too. It was my fault the taxi driver took us to the wrong address on Sunday and my fault he was shouting at us and my fault I didn’t understand what he was saying. And my fault I didn’t know how to fix it….I don’t blame you for powering on ahead. Mind you those blue skies and the bush would make me forget about the grumps….

  20. What a fantastic outing … I’ve been through the Glow worm Caves in New Zealand and they were also spectacular!

  21. Hahha I don’t understand men, they never like to get up early but I guess 6am on a Sunday may be pushing haha it looks like a great day trip even though it was a little far away I’ve never even heard of glow worms before so it’s really interesting to me!

  22. What a fabulous place. Good on you for always being ready for an adventure. I saw a lot of glow worms in my childhood and never got tired of them.

  23. Sounds like a hike I would enjoy. And reminds me of the time that I wasn’t prepared and my husband was a little grumpy. And dehydrated. Love the pictures!!

  24. Wow! Great post. I’d love to do that with you. Glow worms!

  25. hehehehehehe!! Looks like Carl would get along famously with someone I am married to, hahaha!! At least Carl was a good sport through it. What a lovely trip, I would get up in the morning for this! “When you don’t have other people around annoying you, it’s actually a very lovely walk.” lol lol lol!!!

  26. Definitely all Carl’s fault! I’m sure you were in control until he threw you of by not getting up in time Charlie 🙂 What a pity your day played out that way, I’m glad the experience was worth it though, and I’m sure Alfie enjoyed it. Btw, isn’t the Scout motto ‘Always be prepared’? 😉 xox

  27. The trek looks awesome! Something we would definitely enjoy. I am thankful that I have a husband who loves to do these things so we try to be prepared. It is so difficult when anyone in the party is grumpy. And of course, its always our fault if something is forgotten!

  28. Yes isn’t it funny how we are always the one that has to arrange everything. Apparently just showing up is just fine! Although I do sympathise with Carl. I do get anxious if I know that I won’t have a meal in a few hours and have to do exercise. I’ve been to the glow Waitomo worm caves in NZ and they are spectacular!

  29. Oh my Carl sounds like mine. Full of reluctance, which makes life difficult sometimes. But what an experience I bet he loved it really!

  30. Diverse terrain is an understatement. But what a magnificent hike and how fun to see glow worms!

  31. What a stunning view! I’m sorry all the other things just didn’t work out. Being hungry is tough when you know there is nothing to eat out there for the next several hours… but glad you guys enjoyed the view. And I am so curious to see glow worms! Must be quite something. My kids will love this hiking!

  32. The landscapes look beautiful, Charlie, and glow worms would have been icing on an already spectacular cake. I’m glad that you’re in a few of the photos of the rock face. Your presence added perspective. Without you being there. I never would have realized just how mammoth those formations are.

  33. Wow, that scenery… absolutely incredible. Well worth the trip I’d say?! I’ve never had the luxury of seeing a glow-worm and although your exterior photos were incredible the “inside the tunnel” one wasn’t quite so visible… Do they glow in the dark a lot? So fascinating!


  1. […] we were on the hike to the glow worm cave, we chatted to a friend of ours who has appeared on this blog before; firstly when he organised a […]

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