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The Glowworm Tunnel is a disused railway tunnel between Lithgow, New South Wales and Newnes, New South Wales, Australia. It is notable for its resident glow-worms, the bioluminescent larvae of Arachnocampa richardsae, a type of fungus gnat.
Description and history
The 600-metre tunnel was bored through the sandstone in 1907 as part of the Newnes railway line that served the Newnes oil shale mines that operated during the early 20th century. The railway was closed in 1932 and the rails were pulled out of the tunnel.
The tunnel is now contained within the Wollemi National Park and is a popular attraction for bushwalkers and tourists. Outside the tunnel, the area features spectacular gorges, caves and scenery. The site is maintained by the National Parks and Wildlife Service. On the south side of the tunnel, a large gap in the road prevents vehicular access. According to some sources, this gap was created deliberately to keep cars out of the tunnel, because the exhaust fumes would have killed the glow-worms. On the north side of the tunnel, a track leads to Newnes.
Access to the tunnel is via several routes:
- 22km walk each way: Walk for 22km along the route of the old railway line from Newnes
- 9km return walk: Drive to the weir over the Wolgan River 7km before Newnes. Walk up the nearby fire trail to the railway line to the right
- Walk or cycle in from Newnes State forest
- Drive from Lithgow or Clarence (both roads eventually join up), about 25km bumpy dirt road, and walk 1km to the tunnel.
- Allan Watson's Newnes Services web page Newnes Information
- Deane, Henry (1979), The Wolgan Valley Railway - Its Construction, Australian Railway Historical Society, New South Wales Division, ISBN 0-909650-09-8
- Treks in New South Wales, Neil Paton (Kangaroo Press) 1986, ISBN 0-86417-079-3
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