How to get to Glow worm tunnel at Newnes?

Submitted: Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00
ThreadID: 1785 Views:13457 Replies:7 FollowUps:7
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I want to take my 9-year old girl and show her the glow worm tunnel at Newnes, near Lithgow. I've been telling her about it since she was 7 and now that I finally have a 4WD for a bit of adventure in her life as she's growing up, I want to do the trip. I remember visiting it when I was 15, but that's the only time I've been there. Back then, we drove up to near the entrance in an XB Falcon and walked a short distance, but that's all I remember about that particular trip. Now that way of getting there, I can manage without referencing a map too much.

I've heard that you can approach the tunnel from the east by driving along an old (hopefully disused) railway track, and that's the route I want to take. Can anyone direct me? I'd love to do it this way as the look on my ex-wife's face when my daughter goes back home and starts spouting off to her excitedly about how Daddy took her exploring along a railway line to a cave with these glow worms would surely be MasterCard Priceless :)

I'm not mean, just misunderstood. [insert innocent look here]
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Reply By: Tim - Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00

Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00
I heard that the glow worms were burnt out in the fires at Christmas.

I went there about three years ago from the east and the fire trail was locked, and had to walk in (took about an hour).
AnswerID: 5927

Follow Up By: Plexus- Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00

Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00
Is it true that they got burnt out? Bummer if it is. I so wanted to take her there. And this fiire trail you mentioned: is that the railway line trek I heard about?
FollowupID: 2587

Reply By: Member - Tony - Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00

Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00
Plexus, don't despair!! No fire damage evident at the eastern end when we went there in May (and it was C-O-L-D). The easier access is from the Newnes Forest Rd (via Zig Zag Railway). Turn right at Bungleboori Camping & Picnic Area, and follow the Glowworm Tunnel Rd for about 25k's. The tracks not too difficult, but narrow in some places, so beware on-coming traffic. You'll reach a NPWS carpark, and have to walk the last 1km in. Not difficult, my 8 & 4 yr old girls enjoyed the walk. Take a Dolphin torch, and sturdy footwear, as it's slippery in the tunnel. Walk right in (don't be scared!), turn the torch off. Then close your eyes to adjust, open and.. bingo! The kids love it!!
Trek notes can be found in "4WD Treks Close to Sydney" (Boiling Billy) or Gregory's "4WD Weekends".Newnes is a great spot, and plenty of info at the old (dry) hotel. Good map is Cullen Bullen 8931-3-N. Cheers, Tony
AnswerID: 5934

Follow Up By: Member - Tony - Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00

Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00
Plexus, just to add the other way in is off Wolgan Gap Rd. Stop near a causeway (there's nearly always cars parked there). You have to walk over the river, and it's about a 4-5km each way walk. Might tire the little one out! Cheers, Tony
FollowupID: 2588

Reply By: Savvas - Friday, Aug 23, 2002 at 00:00

Friday, Aug 23, 2002 at 00:00
Plexus .... I took my 5 year old there about 3 weeks ago. He absolutely LOVED it! We did the Zig Zag railway on the same day. As he is a train, tunnel and bridge fanatic, he had an absolute ball and was totally exhausted by the end of the day. The Central West State Forests map shows the track from the Zig Zag railway, north through to the Glow worm Tunnel. It is a relatively easy drive in a 4wd. A 2WD can negotiate it, slowly. But I wouldn't try it. Get the Boiling Billy "4wd Treks Close to Sydney" for some more detail, too. Tony's advice above re torches and footwear is spot on. You can also tie in a short trek down to the Lost City. When heading out from the Glow worm tunnel, at the intersection where Bungleboori picnic area is, turn right and then about 20m down the road turn left again. Follow the track, crossing under the power lines, and then straight ahead for about 3km.The rock pagodas are spectacular. The last 100-200 metres into the Lost City are steep and badly rutted (3 weeks ago, anyway). You may want to park at the little clearing at the top of the descent and just walk the rest of the way. No one was attempting it when we were there. Enjoy're daughter will think you're a hero!
AnswerID: 5968

Follow Up By: Plexus - Friday, Aug 23, 2002 at 00:00

Friday, Aug 23, 2002 at 00:00
OK this sounds absolutely great. We're going up this Sunday to try it out. I don't have access to any of these forest maps, and although I've ordered the "4WD Treks Near Sydney" book, it won't arrive until next week. I'd love to wait until I've got the book, problem is access with my daughter is only every 2 weeks so unfortunately we live our lives with her by the calendar, so we'll go now. Just hope the normal NSW road maps will be good enough :)
FollowupID: 2598

Follow Up By: Plexus - Saturday, Aug 24, 2002 at 00:00

Saturday, Aug 24, 2002 at 00:00
OK I've found some quite comprehensive information about Newnes on a web site, showing access roads, and places to go. I must say that the Lost City, the Shale Oil Ruins, and of course the Glow Worm Cave, present drool opportunities for my photography. I have a question though: I'm a total newbie, only purchased my Landcruiser on Monday this week, and haven't any recovery gear yet. I was looking for a nice easy introduction to getting my wheels dirty and getting some experience. Am I nuts going to these places (in dry weather)? I want to make sure the 'cruiser makes it back in one piece. In a year from now, I'll be experienced, no worries. But today? Your thoughts please.
FollowupID: 2615

Reply By: John - Saturday, Aug 24, 2002 at 00:00

Saturday, Aug 24, 2002 at 00:00
Hi plexus,
None of the places you hve mentioned will require recovery gear if you stick to the designated tracks....easy going.
If you intend to get really serious, I sugest you maybe join a 4x4 club and do the driver training.
Being a club member has many benifits - Trips, training,sometimes discounts etc.....
I must addmit I learnt via the school of "large dents" though.
But the clubs can offer some great social outtings as well.

AnswerID: 5991

Follow Up By: Plexus - Saturday, Aug 24, 2002 at 00:00

Saturday, Aug 24, 2002 at 00:00
Yes I fully intend to join a club and get some training etc. The Toyota Landcruiser Car Club looks good because they meet in a suburb which is only 10 minutes away from my place. I just want to make sure I can do this trip this weekend without going to the School Of Large Dents.
FollowupID: 2620

Reply By: JohnH - Saturday, Aug 24, 2002 at 00:00

Saturday, Aug 24, 2002 at 00:00
You'll be ok plexus,
Just take some food and drink, because its a fair way back to town if you get hungry!!
You'll have a ball.....
Oh...and the toyota club would be a very good choice.

Cheers and have fun
AnswerID: 5999

Reply By: Savvas - Monday, Aug 26, 2002 at 00:00

Monday, Aug 26, 2002 at 00:00
Plexus ... Let us know how the day went. I'll be heading back there in the October school holidays. BTW ... The boilingbilly book is $21.95 at Dymocks.
AnswerID: 6028

Follow Up By: Plexus - Monday, Aug 26, 2002 at 00:00

Monday, Aug 26, 2002 at 00:00
We took the southern approach from the Zig Zag and the Glow Worm Tunnel Road. It was stunning. I didn't know potholes could be so LARGE. Some of them would have swallowed a small car. I have a newfound respect for just how tough these Landcruisers are. We were going over them at 60 clicks and nothing bent, fell off, or failed. Amazing. Mind you, it was funny when I could see enough air between my partner's bleep and her seat to slide two telephone books in between. The FJ62 felt indestructible. By the way she was screaming, I don't think she was. Ah well, such is life. That grab handle on the dash sure got used yesterday afternoon, let me tell you. Anyway the kids loved it. But then again, they have a greater distance to travel before their heads hit the roof lining. The road is basically level, and there were a few smooth patches, but mostly it's washboard corrugations and potholes. I can't imaging bringing my car anywhere near a place like this. Mind you, at the car park there was a Statesman and a new VW Passat. Sorry guys, I wouldn't do that. The road narrows quite a bit about 3 km from the tunnel so you need to proceed with extreme care: there's nowhere else to go if you have an off. The only potentially nasty bit is about a km or so from the car park, where the road goes downhill for the only time. There's a V-shaped dip with zero room either side of the vehicle, sandy edges, and one wrong move to the wrong side and you're over the edge, one way. So remember, as soon as the road gets narrow and starts to go downhill, whoa. The walk from the carpark is easy and passes through some stunning scenery. There were glow worms in the tunnel and the scenery beyond was breathtaking. I bought this 4WD in part for my photography, and being able to go to places like this made the outlay well worth while. You can see some of the images at the following URLs:

I'll be posting more photos on this website later. I've got some real stunners of the ancient ferns and the red creek bed. We tried later to find the lost city, but it was going on dusk and couldn't find the turnoff from the fire trail. Some notes say go down the fire trail for 20m, some 200m, and turn left, but we couldn't find anything to go down so looks like another trip back to sort that out. In the search, went down some trails that were really not for the faint hearted (got the thing tilted at 20° easy and for a newbie it felt great) so I got to do some serious (for me) stuff.
FollowupID: 2645

Follow Up By: Savvas - Monday, Aug 26, 2002 at 00:00

Monday, Aug 26, 2002 at 00:00
Stunning photos! Really cool.
FollowupID: 2648

Reply By: Plexus - Monday, Aug 26, 2002 at 00:00

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