Overrun By Glow Worms

If you like abandoned railway tunnels and glowing insects, a visit to the Newnes railroad tunnel in the Blue Mountains might the next weekend adventure for you.


The Newnes railroad tunnel, runs for some 400 metres through the sandstone mountains of the state’s Wollemi National Park. Built in 1907 to transport shale oil from the mining township of Newnes, the railway line was eventually closed in 1932. And as the rail tracks were pulled out of the tunnel, bioluminescent larvae called Arachnocampa richardsaemoved in.

Known colloquially as fungus gnats (or even more colloquially as glow worms), the insects live off the mushrooms that thrive in the tunnel’s cool, moist climate. Interestingly (or grossly), it’s not the worms themselves that actually glow. Rather, it’s the long, stringy mucus they sling around the place to hunt for food.


Info Blue Mountains has the lowdown on how to access the tunnel. Don’t forget to bring a torch – the tunnel gets mighty dark when the worms aren’t slinging their mucus.

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