From bioluminescent beaches to glow worm caves, NSW is filled with a massive array of fascinating wonders. Among all the wild and wonderful things that Mother Nature decided to scatter around the state are “ghost mushrooms” or Omphalotus nidiformis — a type of incredible, glowing fungus known for its bioluminescent properties. There are a handful of places you can see these naturally glowing mushrooms and Australia is one of them. You can spot the glowing phenomenon most commonly across Southern and Western Australia as well as Victoria and Tasmania, but there are some places in NSW where bioluminescent fungi have been seen, most prominently in Thirlmere Lakes National Park in the Macarthur region. Here’s everything you need to know.
Ghost Mushrooms, NSW
The fungus has been given this name due to the soft ghostly glow it emits in the dark. This light is produced due to a chemical reaction between enzymes and chemicals called luciferins. However, the Guardian reports that exactly why these mushrooms glow in the dark is relatively unknown. Ghost mushrooms are commonly seen in autumn usually after rain, and are known to grow as big as 20 centimeters. During the day, they are a cream-white colour and transform into a glowing green hue at night. Before you go hunting for these curious mushrooms, keep in mind that like many wild fungi, they are poisonous and should not be eaten.
Thirlmere Lakes National Park is an idyllic spot if you’re looking to escape the city and be surrounded by nature, it’s also just a 15-minute drive from Picton, infamous for being Australia’s most haunted town. Watch out for rotting wood or dead tree stumps which is where the glowing mushrooms are known to be found. If you don’t mind a drive and a trek, these mushrooms can also be seen in Booderee National Park, Merimbula and were even spotted right here in Hornsby, Sydney. Interestingly, the best time to spot these mushrooms is during the day, recognise how they look during the day and wait for your eyes to adjust to their soft glow once the night sets in.
Read more about this interesting natural wonder here.