Natural Bridge glow worms cave is likely to be the most touristy spot in Springbrook National Park, and one of my favourite natural landmarks near Brisbane. I’ve stopped counting the number of times I’ve visited this magical place. Here are my tips to organise your Natural Bridge glow worms cave visit.
Important things to know about Springbrook Natural Bridge glow worms
Glow worms caves can only be found in Australia and New Zealand. The glow worms, who are actually the larva stage of a small fly and not worms, are rare and fragile so it’s important to respect the instructions on site to protect them. The main ones:
- do not use lights in the cave (but have a torch with you to walk there) – including flash for your photos: the glow worms will stop glowing (and feeding)
- do not use insect repellent and do not smoke: it can kill them
- keep noise and the size of your group to a minimum
Springbrook Natural Bridge glow worms are Australia’s largest population of glow worms and it’s the best place to see them in their natural habitat.
At night, the glow worms produce a blue-green bioluminescent light with their bodies to attract their preys (midges and mosquitoes) to sticky threads. You can see the thread close up on the photo above of worms in a New Zealand cave.
When the time comes, they cover the entire cave ceiling for a magical experience. At Natural Bridge, it looks like there are stars everywhere. It’s a unique sight.
How to take photos of Springbrook glow worms?
To photograph the glow worms, you must not use your flash. Firstly, flash photography disturbs them and they stop glowing. Secondly, the result won’t be good anyway as you wouldn’t capture the bioluminescence of the glow worms in the cave.
The best way to photograph the glow worms is to take a long exposure shot with a tripod. The most challenging part is not to move at all, and you may need a few tries to get the right amount of light in. You want to avoid pushing your ISO too much as it will create noise in the image, but you may need to do it if your camera doesn’t allow an exposure long enough.
When is the best season to see glow worms at Natural Bridge?
The Springbrook Natural Bridge cave is a sanctuary for glow worms. The temperature does not vary too much during the seasons, keeping a perfect environment for the glow worms. Hence, Springbrook Natural Bridge glow worms may be seen all year round.
However, they are best observed when it’s hot and humid, from December to March. So if you can aim at visiting Natural Bridge on a hot summer rainy day, you’ll have the ultimate glow worm experience. During winter, their display is significantly reduced.
When is the best time to see Springbrook Natural Bridge glow worms?
Springbrook Natural Bridge glow worms can only be seen at night. The later you go, the more glow worms you’ll see.
Make sure you turn off all your lights before entering the cave. You will adapt to the obscurity. The glow worms cover and light up the entire cave, it looks magical.
If you want to spend the night in Springbrook National Park, I recommend having a look at the Lyrebird Retreat*. I haven’t tried it yet, but I love the concept: it’s a non-profit accommodation that redirects all its profit to rainforest restoration.
If you want to see the glow worms but don’t want to drive at night, you can book an evening tour from the Gold Coast (click here for more info)*. Alternatively, there is another glow worm cave in Tambourine National Park that you can visit during the day. Although it’s a purpose-built cave, the glow worms are real! Check out this tour from Brisbane that will take you there*.
Natural Bridge walk: one of my favourite hikes in Springbrook National Park
The Natural Bridge walk is not only about the glow worms: it’s awesome during the day too. The waterfall in the cave is one of the most photogenic landmarks you’ll ever see. It’s one of the best walks and waterfalls in Springbrook National Park.
They built a beautiful asphalt track so despite the number of people the traffic is flowing rather freely to keep the visit enjoyable. The views on all the different facets of the Natural Bridge waterfall are remarkable.
As it is a popular destination, the wildlife is limited, but you can always hear many birds during the walk. We also spotted a python a few meters away from the track. The cave near the fall is inhabited by small bats that you can distinguish if you look attentively.
When you walk there at night to see the glow worms, turn off your light while you’re on the track: we saw glowing mushrooms too!
Sadly, we picked up a lot of trash on the Natural Bridge walk (bottles of wine or cans of beers…). It is surprising how people can travel that far to admire nature and leave their rubbish there…
Responsible travel tip: Always dispose carefully of your rubbish, especially when you’re visiting a remote place where waste collection can be challenging. If a bin is full, don’t risk contaminating the place and bring your rubbish home with you. If you see rubbish where it shouldn’t be, it’s a fantastic habit to collect it – even if it’s not yours!
Have you seen the Natural Bridge glow worms in Springbrook National Park? How was it? Share your experience in the comment below!
Where is the Natural Bridge glow worms cave?
It’s one of the stops on my Australia’s East Coast road trip guide that you can download for free here.
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