The Otways to the west of Melbourne are simply spectacular in the day time. Filled with lush ferns and towering trees, the Otways are perfect for leisurely walks, chasing waterfalls and picnic dates. But, there’s one spot within this forest that is utterly radiant after dark. Head out to Melba Gully, and see hundreds of glimmering lights along the forest floor. These glistening pinpricks are glow worms, and they look simply magical. The glow worms at Melba Gully are about two and a half to three hours away from Melbourne.
Glow worms at Melba Gully
Melba Gully is one of the wettest places in Victoria, making it the perfect spot for glow worms. These creatures are found in shady places with high humidity, and look particularly stunning after rain, or on nights with no moonlight. They aren’t actually worms, but the larvae of fungus gnats. While the twinkling lights look utterly enchanting, they do serve a grim purpose. The abdomen of a glow worm emits a pale light, attracting small insects to their ropes of silk fibres, coated in mucous. The rope catches these insects, and the glow worm reels them in to eat.
You can see the large colony of glow worms at Melba Gully by travelling along the Madsens Track Nature Walk. This 1.5km track should take 30 to 45 minutes to complete, and will take you underneath a dense canopy of myrtle beech, blackwood and tree ferns. The walk starts from the picnic area, and continues on towards Anne’s Cascade, before looping back around to the picnic ground.
You’ll find the colony at various points along the track, shimmering from overhanging ledges and soil banks. As this is a nocturnal adventure, remember to dress warmly and bring a torch light. However, the glow worms can turn off their lights if they’re feeling disturbed, so don’t shine the torch directly onto them. Instead, point your light at the ground, away from the creatures. Walk lightly, keep to the path, and if you must say something, do it at a whisper.