metres in length. Originally constructed for railway
line to Newnes
oil shale works, now taken over by glow worms. Just
over 30 kilometres from Lithgow
or Clarence through Newnes Plateau. Excellent bushwalks
and Wollemi National Park.
Good walking shoes and a torch are required for the
walk through the tunnel.
oil-shale industrial development, constructed in the
early 1900s, was, for a time, a large scale operation.
To service such an undertaking, it was deemed necessary
to construct a standard gauge railway into the Wolgan
valley to connect the works at Newnes
with the nearest main railway to Sydney. The resulting
railway connected with the Western Main Line at Newnes
Junction, some 50 kms south of Newnes.
get from the Newnes Plateau, past the sandstone cliffs
and into the Wolgan valley proper, the railway had to
be built with steep grades and sharp curves and squeeze
through the narrow gorge of what is now known as Tunnel
line opened in late 1906, while the last regular train
ran in the 1930s. The line was dismantled in 1940,
the transfer of the Newnes operation to Glen
Davis, north of Newnes.
Glow Worm Tunnel is one of two now abandoned tunnels
this railway. This tunnel curves through almost 180
degrees and consequently it is very dark. In normal
small creek flows through it. These conditions are
ideal for certain "glow worms" which inhabit
the walls and roof of the tunnel. While glow worms
dark, damp places in the Blue Mountains, the Glow Worm
Tunnel is probably the best place for the visitor to
them. The glow worms are however, very sensitive to
habitat disturbance, in particular: noise, lights,
smoke fumes. Wear good walking shoes
and take a torch for the tunnel.
To reach the Glow Worm Tunnel
from Lithgow follow
Inch Street, turning left into Atkinson Street continuing
to the Newnes Plateau, past interesting rock formations.
Keep on the gravel road past the former afforestation
Drive slowly the road is rough. Whilst
driving watch out for wildlife, especially kangaroos
and wombats. It
is not advisable to travel this road of a night.
You can leave your car at the
parking area for an easy and enjoyable 5 kms walk to
the Glow Worm Tunnel along the original railway formation.
Alternatively, you can drive on to the vehicle barrier
and walk 1 km to the Tunnel. However, there is limited
parking beyond the parking area at the Wollemi
National Park boundary.
The walk from the car park
along the old railway formation to the tunnel provides
a cool vegetation change to the dry open landscape
of the plateau. Large tree ferns and tree creepers
line the route. Along the way, you pass through spectacular
rock formations. The tunnel is some 400m long and
the glow worms become more apparent the further away
daylight you go. Towards the middle of the tunnel,
turn off your torch and allow your eyes to adjust to
see the glow worms.
There are a variety of walking
tracks in the area. You can continue through the Glow
Worm Tunnel following the Wolgan Valley railway formation
to Newnes, a distance of 11
kms. An alternative return route from Newnes is to
follow the Old Coach Road and the Pagoda track back
to the Glow Worm tunnel road, also 11 kms.
A shorter circular day walk
is through the Glow Worm Tunnel, then along the Wolgan
Valley Railway only as far as The Junction and
return via the Old Coach Road and Pagoda Track, a distance
of 7.5 kms.
The tunnel and adjacent gorges
are within the Wollemi National
Kangaroos on NEWNES
Visitors are treated
to excellent Tour Service from our Lithgow
Heres some info on The River Caves Canyon ....... It was first discovered by Russel (Rus)
May and John Norris in the
late 1940's (1948-1949) and they called it the "Water
Tunnel".... They approached by walking down Budgery
creek which was then called Buggary Creek and Mt Buggary.
John Norris also named Mt Norris near Deep
also built the Deep Pass hut. They first went to Mt
Barakee by jeep in 1959............ Rus (passed away in 2010), Alan May
still alive in Lithgow today.....
[click on images to enlarge]
Deep Pass - Photo Copyright & Courtesy
of the late Rus May
on images to enlarge]
Dingo Creek - Photo taken by John Norris about 1953
Dingo Creek - Photo courtesy of the late Rus May
LITHGOW MERCURY - MONDAY, JANUARY 5, 1959
Discover Aboriginal Rock Paintings"
[click on images to enlarge]
Mercury article and Photos
courtesy of the late Rus May taken in 1959
[click on images to
Info Blue Mountains Railway Pages-
Glow Worm Tunnel
Mountains Canyoning Page - by David Noble