Frequently Asked Questions
Can we do a self-guided visit to the caves?
We only allow access to the caves via a guided tour to ensure our glow worms are kept safe. Working with one of the foremost scientists on glow worms and with the supervision of local wildlife experts, we have created the world’s only purpose-built environment to protect these amazing creatures.
During a tour, highly knowledgeable tour guides educate visitors on tours on how to safely interact with glow worms. We also provide scientific information about the species and their delicate wild habitats. By coming to visit our eco-certified, purpose-built environment, you are guaranteed to see these amazing creatures. Through the admission cost, you help us to preserve the vulnerable South East Queensland glow worm species. Since we're not a national park or natural area, our site was designed specifically to allow people to access the cave with the help of a guide to ensure the safety of guests and the glow worms. Please keep in mind that light-up shoes are not allowed in the cave with our glow worms.
Do I need to make a reservation or buy tickets ahead of time?
Booking online saves you money! We offer a lower rate if you book online, so even if you book online an hour or so before you come, it's worth it! We highly recommend making a booking ahead of time. Making a booking also ensures you will get the tour time of your choice since tours have limited capacity. You can buy tickets in our gift shop on the day but may have to wait a while until the next available time slot. Even if you book online an hour beforehand, you will be able to see exactly which tours are available on our website and plan your day. You do need to get a tour to see our glow worms, so booking ahead is the best way to make sure you can access the site.
Make a Booking Here
What is your COVID-19 cancellation policy?
If you have COVID-19 symptoms or are required to lockdown or quarantine, your tour will be refunded or rescheduled without a fee, so you can continue to support local businesses and wildlife conservation without worry! Otherwise, if cancellation is made within 24 hours of arrival there is no refund available, but we are happy to reschedule your tour. If cancellation occurs with more than 24 hours' notice, a 10% booking fee will be deducted from your total refund.
How does the glow worm tour work?
Our Gold Coast Hinterland Glow Worm Tours (located an hour away from Brisbane) last 30 minutes and leave from our garden area. One of our highly qualified tour guides will lead you on a short walk through the rainforest into our glow worm cave. Here you'll be shown a brief documentary and learn more facts about glow worms. After the film, your tour guide will lead you into the magical glow worm tunnel, filled with thousands of shining glow worms. Because our cave is not a natural site, you will not be climbing or hiking. The tour is held at a slow walking pace on our boardwalk and is suitable for most ages and levels of fitness.
Are you a national park? What is the difference between your tours and national park tours?
We are a privately owned glow worm sanctuary, not a national park. Our site is the only place in Queensland to see glow worms during the daytime, and the only glow worm sanctuary in the world. Tours in national parks are run only at night time, by companies that pick you up and drive you to the site and guide you through the park at night time to see the wildlife. Glow worms are not always visible in the wild, but sightings are guaranteed at our site. Because we don't provide transport, we are able to offer the cheapest glow worm tours in the world! When our conservation program started, Cedar Creek Estate was agricultural land, so there was no existing rainforest or glow worms onsite. We've created this conservation program by building a cave, breeding glow worms within and planting rainforests around it in a world-first initiative.
What other animals can I see during my visit?
Our grounds are home to many wild animals. As well as our glow worm and native frogs and insects we've had recent sightings of land mullet skinks, owls, and frogs on the estate. Stop by for a tour of the Glow Worm Cave any day of the week to see if you can have your own wildlife sighting!
Our on-site frog and insect exhibit is a great place for kids, and adults, to learn about some of our native Australian animals on Mount Tamborine. Open daily from 10 am.
Is the cave open all year round, even in the rain?
Yes! Our purpose-built cave is open all year round and to a wide selection of times during the daytime. We can provide tours no matter the weather because our cave is undercover and protected. There is a short rainforest walk to the cave so rain jackets are recommended if it's wet outside! We are open every day except Good Friday and Christmas day.
What's the best time to see the Glow Worms?
At our site, during the daytime, all year round! Because our glow worms are in a purpose-built environment resembling their natural environment which is kept dark during the daytime, they glow during our opening hours. This allows our guides to care for the glow worms and provide food for them during the day. Because the glow worms are in a controlled environment, everyone has an equal chance of seeing the glows.
Is this a child-friendly experience?
Our cave was constructed to allow people of all ages the opportunity to get up close and personal with glow worms and to see their glowing lights. All our tours are very family-friendly and perfect for a special event, like a birthday! Many of our customers find glow worm cave tours educational and enjoyable for the children. Please keep in mind, prams are not permitted or suitable for being inside the cave, so we ask parents to carry any little ones during the 30-minute tour. Prams can be left in the Gift Shop during the tour. To avoid disturbing our glow worms, we cannot make excess noise inside the cave, so if your child may have trouble keeping their voice down, please take this into account and be prepared to leave the tour early if necessary.
There are also plenty of things to do at Cedar Creek Estate and is perfect for a Gold Coast day trip. Head down to Frog Hollow, a complimentary exhibit featuring native frog species and some amazing local insects. You can also grab a bite to eat in our Cafe and Restaurant, walk through our grounds and vineyard or sample the wonderful wines on offer in the Wine Centre (18+ only).
What else can I do on Tamborine Mountain?
Tamborine Mountain is the perfect day trip! Experience the only Glow Worm Sanctuary in the world and go on an adventure on one of our 6 national park walks. If you're after something to eat or drink, you have to visit Cedar Creek Estate, one of the most special grounds on the mountain. Here you can go on a wine-tasting tour, have lunch or simply enjoy the stunning views.
The mountain is waiting for you!
Is the cave suitable for those with mobility issues?
Our cave requires a very short walk to access and does not require any previous hiking experience. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the Glow Worm Cave, tours are currently NOT suitable for wheelchair users. This is a priority issue we are working hard to address, but currently the cave is inaccessible to those in wheelchairs. For those with limited walking ability, there are handrails present in the glow worm alley to help guide visitors once inside. Additionally, the pathway is for the most part completely flat, aside from 3 steps which currently have no ramp alternative. The most strenuous aspect of our tour is our three-minute rainforest walk, which is conducted on a at a leisurely pace. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about any assistance you may need.
What is your cancellation policy, especially for COVID-19 lockdowns?
Is there transportation to Tamborine Mountain?
We do not provide any transportation to our cave but our site is easily accessible by car or tour buses. Escape Shuttles runs a shuttle from Helensvale up to the mountain, and Tours on Tamborine Mountain, Queensland Day Tours, Southern Cross Day Tours provide hotel pickup services to Tamborine Mountain. While taxi and shared-ride services like Uber also visit our mountain, we recommend that you book a round-trip journey.
With amazing views to get here, we are located just 50-minute drive away from Surfers Paradise, and 1 hour away from Brisbane CBD. View directions to the Glow Worm Caves.
Are there any restrictions in the cave?
We do not allow any photography or artificial lights inside with our glow worms, as electronic lights interfere with their glowing behaviour. Due to this requirement, we cannot allow light-up shoes, GoPros, or other electronic lights. While in the cave, we ask that you keep your hands behind the railing and do not touch the glow worm or any of the native wildlife.
Glow Worms are pretty fascinating animals! They're a unique part of our ecosystems. Glow Worms live in dark, wet environments, preferably caves if they can find them. On the Gold Coast of Queensland, they don't have any caves, so the local species, Arachnocampa flava are usually found beside waterfalls.
Read more facts about glow worms here.
What are Glow Worms?
Glow worms are the larvae (immature stage) of a small fly. The larval stage is the only stage in their life cycle that can glow. The adults are delicate flies that do not have working mouthparts, and as such, only live for a small number of days (females two days, males six days). As the adults are unable to feed, glow worms must gain enough sustenance during the larval stage to get them through the rest of their lifecycle. The larvae are believed to live for approximately one year. Although, this is heavily dependent on environmental conditions and availability of food. Glow worms have a very short lifespan and each adult female lives for only a few weeks until she mates.
Why Do Glow Worms Glow?
Glow worms glow to attract small insects that emerge from the leaf litter and water to where the glow worms reside. The glow worms construct "snares" (like a spider's web) made from silk threads and sticky droplets. These are made to capture and eat the insects attracted to their glow.
How Do They Glow?
The light of a glow worm is also known as bioluminescence or light produced by a living organism. There are many different animals that have bioluminescent properties including:
- Fireflies, glow worms and other insect larvae
- Arachnids (spiders)
- Annelids (ringed worms)
- Some deep-sea fish and squid
- And certain varieties of bacteria and fungi
In the case of glow worms, the light they emit is produced by a chemical reaction. A pigment called "luciferin" reacts with the enzyme "luciferase" and adenosine triphosphate (also called ATP*) and with the oxygen in the air to create the blue-green light that you see the glow worms emitting in our cave.
All images on this page are copyrighted to Anthony O'Toole. Written permission must be gained before use.
* ATP molecules are found in all living cells. ATP molecules make any energy-consuming actions (running, jumping, moving fingers etc) possible by storing the energy obtained by food and releasing it when needed. ATP is a necessary part of the reaction needed to create the light a glow worm produces.