We love Sydney for its sun, sea and sand but what makes it extra special is the abundance of nature and extraordinary places in and around the city. So it comes as no surprise that it is also home to a number of glow worm caves and dells. Just hop into your car and drive out of town to witness the captivating blue-green glow of these tiny creatures. They are also only found in Australia and New Zealand which is pretty cool. But despite how they sound, glow worms are essentially insects or larvae of fungus gnats (maggots) that have a bioluminescent light. But we’ll ignore that little fact and just call them by their more popular name for aesthetic purposes. Here are some places you can see glow worms near Sydney.
(Please note: Glow worms are typically found in shady, wet or moist places with high humidity. They are also extremely delicate so it’s important to ensure they’re not caused any inadvertent harm. It is advised to never shine torches at the glowworms as this causes them to switch off. Avoid flash photography, and any kind of smoke or noise as this can also disturb the insects.)
1. Helensburgh Glow Worm tunnel, Helensburgh
The Blue Mountains are the place to visit if you’re chasing glowworms. It’s home to many colonies of glowworms spread across the rugged region and they’re a sight to behold. To begin with, head to the Helensburgh Glow Worm tunnel — an old, disused rail tunnel that is filled with glowworms. Even better, it’s less than an hour from Sydney and easily accessible via public transport. If you needed another reason to visit, locals believe the tunnel is haunted which has made it a popular spot for ghosthunters and history lovers. Read all about the tunnel and how to get there here.
2. Lithgow, Blue Mountains
Admittedly harder to get to but totally worth the hike is the Lithgow Glow Worm Tunnel, located in Wollemi National Park in the Blue Mountains. In the 400-metre tunnel, you’ll find a wondrous display of glowworms, plus the surrounding area is also home to giant sandstone cliffs, prehistoric rock pagodas and lush forests. Don’t forget to wear your best walking shoes and carry a torch along for extra caution. Get more info on how to get there here.
3. Bilpin, Blue Mountains
Another spot in the Blue Mountains that offers an up-close look at glowworms is Bilpin, just a 50-minute drive from Katoomba. There are special tours organised by Blue Mountains Glow Worm Tours to help you make the most of your trip in the cosy town of Bilpin. There’s even a custom-built viewing platform for guests to view this incredible light show. Burralow Creek is another spot with a huge colony of glowworms.
The tours are currently closed but keep an eye on their website for future dates.
4. Birdwood Gully, Springwood
Birdwood Gully is a gorgeous spot to visit with or without glow worms. It’s a 2.4 km round trip with lovely waterfalls and caves and dark overhangs where you can spot glow worms. You’ll find the track a short walk from Springwood station and just under an hour’s drive from Sydney.
5. Horseshoe Falls, Hazelbrook
We saved the best for last. Horseshoe Falls in Hazelbrook is a true hidden gem and one of the loveliest natural sights you’ll see in the Blue Mountains. The walking track is a 700m walk both ways that leads you to a stunning waterfall that is home to thousands of shining glowworms. You can also walk behind the waterfall to get some dreamy pictures. This is one of the best spots to experience glowworms near Sydney and you can find it located within the Horseshoe Falls Reserve in the Blue Mountains.