Great news if you like freakish glowing insects: an abandoned railway tunnel in New South Wales has been overrun with thousands of glow worms.
Known as the Newnes railroad tunnel, it runs for some 400 metres through the sandstone mountains of the state’s Wollemi National Park. Built in 1907 to transport shale oil from the mining township of Newnes, the railway line was eventually closed in 1932. And as the rail tracks were pulled out of the tunnel, bioluminescent larvae called Arachnocampa richardsae moved in.
Known colloquially as fungus gnats (or even more colloquially as glow worms), the insects live off the mushrooms that thrive in the tunnel’s cool, moist climate. Interestingly (or grossly), it’s not the worms themselves that actually glow. Rather, it’s the long, stringy mucus they sling around the place to hunt for food. (Nature, you're weird.)
If that hasn’t put you off seeing them in the luminescent flesh, there are a couple of ways for visitors to access the Newnes Glow Worm Tunnel. Info Blue Mountains has the lowdown. Just remember to bring a torch – that tunnel gets mighty dark when the worms aren't slinging their mucus.
Related: New Zealand has its own beautiful/creepy glow worm tunnel.