Western / Newnes Plateau Discovery

This is a trail rich in both cultural heritage and varied scenery as you drive through escarpment country, pine forests and into native eucalypt forests of the Monundilla sector of the World Heritage Area en route to the Glow Worm Tunnel. This latter section of the trail follows part of the alignment of the old Newnes Railway.

Drive summary

  • 44 km one way
  • 1 hr to drive (one way)
  • Narrow unsealed roads
  • Start: Zig Zag Railway           
  • Finish: Glow Worm Tunnel
  • Alerts: Watch out for kangaroos, other wildlife and logging trucks. Slow down on narrow sections and beware of oncoming traffic on bends. Check road conditions after rain.

Continuing west along Chifley Road past Zig Zag Railway (part of the Botanists Way), the discovery trail travels down into Lithgow and past the State Mine Heritage Park on the north side of the town. From here you drive up the State Mine Gully Road onto Newnes Plateau where it joins the Glow Worm Tunnel Road.

The Glow Worm Tunnel Road passes through extensive areas of pine plantation with many cross-roads, before entering native eucalypt forest. The road then enters national parks (Gardens of Stone on the left, Wollemi on the right) and follows parts of the abandoned Newnes railway alignment past the junction of the Old Coach Road to ‘No. 1 Tunnel’. Drive through the tunnel and around a sweeping bend to the road end and carpark. From the carpark you can walk one kilometre along the old railway through a ferny gorge to the Glow Worm Tunnel. Lyrebirds are often seen here. The 400 m ‘No. 2 Tunnel’ curves to create a dark zone where star-like glow worms (the larvae of a fungus gnat) hang their webs from the dripping walls.

A battery-powered light is needed. An alternative walk to the tunnel is via the Pagoda Track, which starts from the carpark at the Old Coach Road gate. Overnight travellers can camp along the way at Bungleboori in Newnes State Forest.