lithgow glow worm tynnel entrance

The Lithgow Glow Worm Tunnel is extraordinary! It is a one of a kind experience for the whole family and the kids will love it! Situated on Wiradjuri Country in Wollemi National Park in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, this former railway tunnel is now a haven for spectacular bioluminescent glow worms. So we hope you are inspired to take a road trip to Lithgow with the whole family to witness the magical glow of this extraordinary tunnel and to enjoy the ancient beauty of Wollemi National Park.

Lithgow Glow Worm Tunnel – Quick facts

Lithgow Glow Worm Tunnel walking track and Wolgan Valley circuit map and information guide

Distance to the tunnel: From the Lithgow Glow Worm Tunnel carpark, it is a mostly flat 1km walk (2km return walk) with gentle hills and stairs to the tunnel. Then it is another 1km to return to the carpark along the same track.
Grade: Medium. The Glow Worm Tunnel walking track is the fastest and easiest way to see the glow worm tunnel. The Wolgan Valley circuit is an alternative track but it is a medium grade 7.5km loop.
Time: You will need approximately one hour to complete the walk and check out the glow worms.
Wheelchair and pram accessible: No. There are over 80 steps without handrails along the walk and the track narrows to 0.5m-wide after the bridge.
Dogs: No dogs are allowed on this track because it is part of a National Park.

If visiting from the lower Blue Mountains: you will need to set aside about half a day for this experience, including travel time.

For more tips for your visit to the Lithgow Glow Worm Tunnel at the end of this article.

Just a couple of hours’ drive from the Blue Mountains, Wollemi National Park is the second largest national park in New South Wales, with a diverse landscape of mountain rainforests, sandstone pagoda, outcrops, swamps, forests growing on rich basalt soil and spectacular cliffs. It is bestowed with an abundance of flora, fauna and geology and is famously home to the Lithgow Glow Worm Tunnel.

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Recent upgrades to the Lithgow Glow Worm Tunnel

little boy running on the sandstone steps leading to the Lithgow Glow Worm Tunnel
New sandstone steps that lead to the glow worm tunnel.

The Lithgow Glow Worm Tunnel is now even easier to access than ever before thanks to its recent upgrade made possible by a NSW Government grant. The upgrade was completed early in 2024 and included smoothing out the Glow Worm Tunnel walking track, installing sandstone steps that were helicoptered in one at a time, creating a big carpark with amenities and leveling out the road leading to the carpark (with no more large potholes to swallow up your car!).

the road leading to the Lithgow Glow Worm Tunnel
The upgrade to the road leading to the glow worm tunnel carpark is fantastic. Prior to this, it was a treacherous drive, even for a 4WD, due to the huge potholes along the way.
unsealed road leading to the Lithgow Glow Worm Tunnel
A section of the smooth unsealed road leading to the Lithgow Glow Worm Tunnel carpark.

The path inside the tunnel is now much safer, with a flat and smooth walkway with a handrail for most of it. The new walkway still enables the glowworms to access their food source that live in the water on the ground.

Before the upgrades, you might only be lucky enough to see a part of the tunnel because the ground was rocky, full of puddles and very uneven. Now, it is accessible for easy walking, especially with the handrail to help you find your way in the dark (the handrail does end though so watch your step toward the end of the tunnel).

How to Get There

wollemi national park information sign

From Glenbrook

The Lithgow Glow Worm Tunnel is approximately 2 hours from Glenbrook. It is 40 kilometers from Lithgow. So the quickest way to get there head up the Great Western Highway toward Lithgow.

Google map from Glenbrook to the lithgow glow worm tunnel

You could alternatively take Bells Line of Road via Richmond but add about an extra 40 minutes onto your trip from the lower Blue Mountains.

  • Once in Lithgow, turn right at Bridge Street. The route is signposted from the corner of Bridge Street to Inch Street. 
  • Turn right at Inch Street.
  • Turn left at Atkinson Street and after 750m, turn right onto State Mine Gully Road. State Mine Gully Road is a gravel road that becomes Glow Worm Tunnel Road.
The route to the Lithgow Glow Worm Tunnel is fairly well signposted along the way. Stay left at this point.
  • After about 39km, you’ll drive through a 60 metre tunnel just before you reach the Glow Worm Tunnel carpark.
a sign pointing vistors to the lithgow glow worm tunnel
Once you reach this tunnel, it’s only a few more minutes until you reach the Glow Worm Tunnel carpark.

If you have reception, it’s a good idea to type Glow Worm Tunnel Walking Track into Google Maps to help navigate you as you drive.

Once you finally reach the car park, it’s about a 20 – 30 minute walk to the tunnel entrance. It will take longer if you take breaks or make stops to check out birds, trees and wildlife.

From Sydney

If you’re traveling from Sydney, it’s around a 3-hour drive to the tunnel. Take the Great Western Highway towards Lithgow, then follow the signs to the Glow Worm Tunnel (more detailed directions above).


The carpark is at the end of Glow Worm Tunnel Road which is a 1km walk from the Glow Worm Tunnel. Car spaces are limited during peak times.

the carpark at the lithgow glow worm tunnel walking track entrance

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 (7.5km, about a 4 hour return walk).

What to expect when you visit the Lithgow Glow Worm Tunnel

the carpark at the Neunes Lithgow Glow Worm Tunnel at Wollemi National Park
You have arrived at the carpark! Finally, you are here – well, you are not at the tunnel yet. This is the carpark with toilet facilities (the shed on the left).
The entrance to the 1km walk to the Lithgow Glow Worm Tunnel
This is the entrance from the carpark to the walk to the Lithgow Glow Worm Tunnel. From here, it is about a 30 minute walk to reach the tunnel entrance.
Start here. The path is clear along the way so it is hard to get lost.
a family walking to on the Lithgow Glow Worm Tunnel track to see the glow worms
The track is a picturesque walk and easy enough for most children to accomplish. Under fives may still need extra rests or piggy backing.

A visit to the Lithgow Glow Worm Tunnel is like nothing else we have experienced before. The scenery is like a chapter from the prehistoric age (the ancient Wollemi Pine was discovered in this National Park, after all!) and the end goal, the tunnel, is filled with these amazing wonders of nature. It is nature’s very own Vivid show, only you can visit in the daytime! Here’s a little more on what to expect on your visit:

The Glow Worm Tunnel is Dark

the dark Lithgow Glow Worm Tunnel with upgraded path
Once you pass the opening of the 400 metre tunnel, it is pitch black the whole way until you reach the other end.

Just to state the obvious, the 400 metre tunnel is dark. Very dark. Pitch black. So if you have children who are afraid of the dark, the tunnel could be scary for them, even with a torch lighting your path. Besides this, other visitors may get cranky with you if you have the torch on the whole time because you don’t get the full glow worm experience without the darkness.

Bioluminescent Glow Worms

glow worms in the Lithgow Glow Worm Tunnel
A cluster of glow worms in the Lithgow Glow Worm Tunnel.
Glow worms on the Lithgow Glow Worm Tunnel
More glow worms in the Lithgow Glow Worm Tunnel.

The main attraction of the Glow Worm Tunnel is, of course, the bioluminescent glow worms! These amazing tiny creatures emit a blue-green light, creating a starry effect on the tunnel’s ceilings and walls.

Did you know that glow worms are not worms at all? Your children may like to know that they are actually the larvae of a primitive fly, the fungus gnat. Also, glow worms love wet conditions. So you may see them in small cracks and on rocky overhangs. Their luminescent glow is used to attract small insects that emerge from the leaf litter and water to where the glow worms reside. The glow worms construct snares (like a spider’s web) made from silk threads and sticky droplets to capture and eat the insects attracted to their glow.

silk thread of glow worms
Silk threads from glow worms (that are in fact flies!). Photo credit: National Parks and Wildlife Service.

This ethereal display is best viewed in complete darkness, so switch off your lights once inside the tunnel to fully appreciate the glow. The most densely populated glow worms can be found on your left as you enter the tunnel as well as above you as you walk along the path.

Scenic Surroundings

wattle along the Lithgow Glow Worm Tunnel walking track
The drive and walk to the Lithgow Glow Worm Tunnel in Winter abounds in Acacia (wattle)!

The walk along Glow Worm Tunnel Track to the tunnel is an adventure in itself. The surrounding Wollemi National Park is rich with lush forests, diverse wildlife, and stunning rock formations so keep your eyes and ears peeled. This is a beautiful walk!

ferns along the Lithgow Glow Worm Tunnel walking track in the Wollemi National Park
The track is laden with lush rainforest flora, especially ferns.
Keep an eye out for interesting fungi too.

On your walk on the Glow Worm Tunnel Track, you will pass a lake on your right, walk across a metal bridge and journey up sandstone stairs positioned snugly between two cliffs.

the lake along the Lithgow Glow Worm Tunnel walking track in the Wollemi National Park
You will pass this lake on your right on your way to the tunnel.
A narrow path between two rock walls that lead you up to the Lithgow glow worm tunnel.
A narrow path between two rock walls that leads you up to the glow worm tunnel.

Birds and Animals

If you’re lucky you may spot a flat-nosed wombat, superb lyrebird, satin bowerbird, the southern bookbook, brush tailed wallaby or gang gang cockatoo. On our walk, we spotted the superb lyrebird perched up on some rocks in the bush. Listen out for its pretty calls. The kids may enjoy bringing binoculars and taking time to birdwatch in this area.


a little boy in a blue jacket running up stairs along the Lithgow glow worm tunnel walking track

The walking track is mainly flat but does have about 80 stairs to climb along the track making it inaccessible for wheelchairs and prams, unfortunately.

sandstone stairs alongthe Lithgow glow worm tunnel walking track

Seating and Picnic Area

picnic area at the end of the Lithgow glow worm tunnel
The picnic area after the tunnel exit.

Feeling tired? Take a break, bird watch and soak up the serenity of the Wollemi National Park. There are a few seats to rest on during the walk. At the end of the tunnel, there is a small picnic space surrounded by ferns with two blocks to sit on. So bring some snacks to enjoy after your walk and please remember to take all of your rubbish and leftover food with you.

a bench along the Lithgow glow worm tunnel walking track
Take a break on one of the benches along the walking track.

The Tunnel

the entrance to the Lithgow glow worm tunnel
It’s time to get excited. You are almost there! Can you see the tunnel?

As you approach the Lithgow Glow Worm Tunnel, you will see the sandstone steps leading towards them, surrounded by lush rainforest trees and trickling water down the rocks. It is peaceful and beautiful (we arrived mid-afternoon on a public holiday and it was fairly quiet but if you visit in peak times on weekends, it may not be as peaceful).

There is a flat path with a sturdy handrail to help find your way in the complete darkness. It is best to turn off your torch where possible and just hold the handrail as you walk slowly and gaze at the glow worms around you. This way, your eyes can adjust to the darkness and you will see more and more glow worms as your eyes get used to the dark.

The view from the glow worm tunnel as you head back out to begin your return walk to the carpark at the lithgow glow worm tunnel
The view from the glow worm tunnel as you head back out to begin your return walk to the carpark.

Take Care of the Glow Worms

Glow worms are sensitive to light and noise so when visiting the Lithgow Glow Worm Tunnel please remember to:

  • Use your torch to shine on the ground only – do not shine it directly at the glow worms;
  • Do not use flash photography – use a long exposure or night mode to capture their light;
  • Do not smoke or vape;
  • Keep noise to a minimum;
  • Do not touch them.

Tips for Visiting the Lithgow Glow Worm Tunnel

Your view as you finish exploring the 400 metre Glow Worm Tunnel
Your view as you finish exploring the 400 metre Glow Worm Tunnel.
  1. Bring a torch: While it’s essential to have a light source for the tunnel, remember to switch it off or at least turn the light down or point it at your feet inside the tunnel to avoid disturbing the glow worms and other visitors.
  2. Allow your eyes to adjust: Your eyes will need to adjust to experience the Lithgow Glow Worm Tunnel at its best. Allow a few minutes with light to get the full experience. Closer to the middle of the tunnel is the darkest space to see the glow worms.
  3. Photos: A tripod may help you take the best photos of the glow worms but a regular smart phone on night mode can take some great shots! Please no flash photography.
  4. Keep children close to you: Even though this track is easy enough for our kids to enjoy, they should always be close to you and not run ahead. Please read these safety tips when bushwalking with children.
  5. Wear appropriate footwear: Even though the path is relatively smooth, it is a damp area so even on a dry day the path could be slippery and uneven. Closed shoes or sturdy hiking boots are advisable.
  6. Respect the National Park: As a protected area, please leave no trace behind. Take all rubbish with you and avoid touching the glow worms or their webs. Stay on the path and leave nature in place.
  7. Visit during off-peak times: For a more serene experience, try to visit early in the morning or on weekdays to avoid the crowds.
  8. Cars: State Mine Gully Road and Glow Worm Tunnel Road is an unsealed gravel road. You can access the Lithgow Glow Worm Tunnel in dry weather with a regular 2WD vehicle. In wet weather, a 4WD would be best.
  9. Water: Bring your own water because there is no water available.
  10. Toilets: There are two non flush toilets available at the start of the track (tip: bring your own toilet paper or tissues)
  11. Mobile reception: There is limited mobile phone reception in this park. Download the Emergency Plus app before you visit a it helps emergency services locate you using your smartphone’s GPS.
  12. No dogs, camping, cycling or smoking are allowed in the glow worm tunnel area.
  13. The best time to see glow worms: The most spectacular glow worm displays can be seen during the warmer, wetter months, from December to March.

The History Behind the Glow Worm Tunnel

Originally constructed in the early 1900s, the Glow Worm Tunnel was part of the Newnes railway line used for transporting oil shale. After the closure of the railway in 1932, the tunnel fell into disuse and nature began to reclaim it.

Over time, the tunnel became a perfect environment for glow worms, transforming it into the natural spectacle it is today. It is surrounded by bushwalks and picturesque views of the Wolgan Valley. As you walk to the tunnel, keep an eye out for the hand carved cuttings and embankments that allowed the trains to traverse this wild area.

Nearby Attractions

While in the area, consider exploring other fun family attractions in the Lithgow and Blue Mountains region:

We will always remember our amazing time visiting the Lithgow Glow Worm Tunnel and we hope you and your family are inspired to visit this wonderful glow worm tunnel too.

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