Glow Worm Caves To Visit Near Sydney

By: Rosie Stevens, 10 April 2019

Although Australia is inarguably famed for its kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, echidnas and other, less-than-friendly species like crocodiles, snakes and spiders—when it comes to wildlife, there’s a fungus gnat that's vying for attention, too. That’s right, a fungus gnat! And despite the less than glamorous name—they shouldn’t be overlooked. 

The small and, rather rare, glow worm is an epic sight to behold—and there are a couple of spots near Sydney where you can catch them doin’ their glow-y thang.

A Brief Glow Worm History 

Before we tell you where to head to lay eyes on these glorious creatures, we’ll bring you up to speed with what, y’know, they actually are—‘cause spoiler, they actually aren’t worms at all.

According to National Geographic, “the fungus gnat—aka glow worm—known for its bioluminescence, is only a few millimetres long and dwells in the safety of dark, wet rainforest caves. The intricate creature spins long lines of web from the ceiling and dots the line with mucus like threaded beads.

The adult fungus gnat has a very short lifespan- just enough time to mate, lay eggs and die. The larvae live for nine months prior. Because the gnats are born without mouths, they need to retain as much food during this time as possible in order to metamorphose. The glowing or bioluminescence is a chemical reaction that occurs when the enzymes and pigment in the larvae’s body collide with the oxygen in the air causing the insect to glow blueish green. The glowing lights lure prey into the sticky webs dangling from the ceiling similar to a spider.”

Aussie Glow Worms

The gorgeous lowing larvae of Australia and New Zealand are extremely sensitive, and any change to their environment could be detrimental. When visiting, it’s crucial that light isn’t shined directly onto them, and that flash photography isn’t used. You also can’t touch them, and you mustn’t make too much noise. You can, however, sit back and admire their astounding beauty! Here’s where:

Blue Mountains - Lithgow


Image: NSW National Parks

Located within the World Heritage listed Wollemi National Park, Lithgow’s Glow Worm Tunnel area offers majestic views of pagoda rock formations, extensive flora and a wide array of native wildlife including kangaroos, wallabies and of course, glow worms! 

The walk into the tunnel follows a disused railway line which once descended into the Newnes Valley and now provides a gorgeous lead up to the such a stunning spectacle. 

More information here.

Blue Mountains - Bilpin


Image: Glow Worm Tours Sydney

Located close to Mount Tomah in the Bilpin region of the Blue Mountains just 50 minutes drive from Katoomba, Blue Mountains Glow Worm Tours run nocturnal adventures to a natural amphitheatre situated on private property. 

Positioned underneath a densely populated glow worm overhang, a custom-built viewing platform allows you to climb up for a very personal experience with the glowy little things! 

More information here.

Glow Worm Glen, Bundanoon


Image: Southern Highlands News

Situated in the Bundanoon section of the Morton National Park, this beautiful glen showcases some stunning glow worms—and the walk up to it is almost as beautiful. Locals recommend starting the walk at sunset so that it’s dark by the time you reach the glen, so you can really enjoy the luminescent locals in all of their glory! 

More information here.

Hero image: National Geographic 

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