All aglow at Tamborine Mountain

Entrance to the cave

Tamborine Mountain is about a 50 minute drive from the Queensland resort of Surfers Paradise.

One of the reasons for visiting Tamborine Mountain is to visit the many wineries that are scattered about the mountain, and one of the most popular of those is Cedar Creek Estate, on Hartley Road, North Tamborine.

Apart from the excellent wines that are available for you to try, Cedar Creek Estate has an attraction that is truly remarkable, their own purpose-built Glow Worm Caves.

Glow worms are mostly found in Australia and New Zealand, and there dying out due to changes to their natural habitat.  The Glow Worm Cave at Cedar Creek Estate was built in order to preserve the glow worms, and allow them to multiply so that they can be returned to their natural environment.

First chamber in the cave

The scientific name for the glow worm is Arachnocampa, but they are not spiders, they are fungus gnats that are in their larval stage.  The name Arachnocampa is given to them because, like spiders, they spin sticky fibres.  These fibres down form webs, but hang from the glow worm’s mouth, in order to trap smaller insects.  The glow worms prefer dark areas such as caves, and have a natural light source in their rear ends, which they use to attract the insects to their gossamer fibres.  Once an insect gets caught, the glow worm, which has two enormous jaws that are perfect for crunching insects, eats its line of fibre, hauling the insect up to its mouth, where the insect is immediately devoured.

The light in the glow worm’s bum is caused by a chemical reaction involving the waste product lucifern, oxygen and energy molecule called adenosine trisophate.  The remarkable thing about the light is that is it 99% light and only 1% heat.  Scientists are already working with glow worm DNA in order to produce more efficient lights.

The glow worm cave at Cedar Creek Estate comprises of two chambers, one of which looks like the inside of a cave with stalactites, etc.  This first chamber is where visitors are shown a film about the glow worm, the real purpose of which is to adjust visitor’s eyes to the darker conditions.  From there, you are shown into the glow worm chamber, which is kept pitch black.

It is quite amazing, as both the walls and ceiling of this chamber are covered in small pinpoints of green light.  The hungrier the glow worm, the brighter their light.  Glow worms are silent, and it is as if all the stars in the universe have suddenly turned green, it really is like looking at the night sky, as the clusters of glow worms form different patterns of light.

Tours of the glow worm caves last about half an hour, and it truly is a fascinating experience.

We were so enraptured by the glow worms, that we stayed for a Devonshire Tea in the Cedar Creek Estate restaurant, and enjoyed the most delicious home baked scones.

Forming part of the Cedar Creek Estate complex is Wine On Q, the Queensland Wine Club, where you can sample wines from the various wine growing regions in Queensland.

So all-in-all a visit to Cedar Creek Estate is truly worthwhile, especially as you are given to experience glow worms at their very best.

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