Improvements allow Wollemi’s glow worms to shine

A glow worm friendly $4.3 million upgrade has been completed at the popular Glow Worm Tunnel precinct in Wollemi National Park, which is now open to visitors.

Man and girl standing inside the middle of the glow worm tunnel.

NSW Minister for the Environment Penny Sharpe has officially opened the precinct, which now has a new path through the tunnel and handrails to keep visitors from accidently brushing against the glow worm webs.

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service staff carried out the work in a glow worm safe way, to avoid disturbing the colony. This was achieved by using battery operated and hand-held tools, with only headlights and red lamps to illuminate the direct workspace.

Works to the precinct surrounding the tunnel, which attracts up to 50,000 visitors each year, include 5.7 km of upgraded walking tracks, new picnic tables, a new toilet block and an expansion of the car park.

The work was jointly funded by the Australian Government using the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund, and the NSW Government.

The 387 m long tunnel was built in the early 1900s as part of a railway line for shale mining in the Wolgan Valley at Newnes. The tunnel’s high humidity and running stream made it a perfect home for the permanent glow worm population.

Visitors can learn more about the site with a self-guided audio tour and immersive videos that can be downloaded for free from October via the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service app and website.

More information about the Glow Worm Tunnel precinct is available online.

Quote attributable to NSW Minister for the Environment Penny Sharpe:

'The new path through the wonderful Glow Worm Tunnel makes it safer and easier for visitors to access and importantly, minimises disturbance to the glow worms.

'The repairs and upgrades to Glow Worm Tunnel Road mean visitors with two-wheel drive cars can now travel to the precinct during dry weather, making it accessible to more people.

'I want to congratulate the team from NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service for conducting this work under such delicate conditions and keeping the glow worms safe in the process.'

Quote attributable to Minister for Regional NSW Tara Moriarty:

'The NSW Government is backing community projects that boost preparedness for natural disasters, encourage economic recovery, aid tourism and bring people together.

'The new footpath and handrail at the Wollemi National Park Glow Worm Tunnel will be important in helping preserve this incredible natural wonder for the more than 50,000 visitors who travel to experience it each year.

'This project helps to strengthen Lithgow’s visitor economy and ensure it is more resilient to future disruptions like natural disasters.'

Quote attributable to Senator for NSW Deborah O’Neill:

'Wollemi National Park is home to some of our most important flora and fauna, but was unfortunately victim to one of Australia’s largest ever bushfires during Black Summer, as well as flooding events in 2021 and 2022.

'This joint funding from both levels of government has enabled the park to bounce back by supporting the installation of some much needed upgrades to the iconic Glow Worm Tunnel.

'The completion of this project will play an important role in Lithgow’s economic recovery from disasters.'