The Story of Our Conservation Initiative

The Story of Our Glow Worm Sanctuary

Glow Worms are delicate animals which are only found in Australia and New Zealand. Because they are so rare, tourism and deforestation are driving these animals to the brink, especially in the Gold Coast area. Visiting our site is a sustainable, ethical way to see glow worms while contributing to their ongoing conservation. The Tamborine Mountain Glow Worm Caves were created in 2005 as the world's first glow worm sanctuary, specifically to address these concerns. As an eco-certified activity, visitors are able to observe glow worms in a safe environment without harming the animals, making this one of the most sustainable ways to experience these animals. As the only captive glow-worm colony in the world, we take our responsibility to these animals seriously, and our mission is to protect this species and educate the public on their importance to the local ecosystem.

Breeding for Conservation 

Claire BakerOur cave was created in 2005 with the help of glow worm expert Dr. Claire Baker, for the express purpose of protecting and breeding the local glow worm species, Arachnocampa flava. With a founding population of 300, our team of biologists began caring for the colony, which has grown to over 8,000 glow worms over time. Since rainforest colonies are harder to protect, our glow worms live in a cave built to meet their unique habitat needs. Visiting glow worms at a managed colony allows for up-close, safe interactions with these animals, and helps prevent pollution and damage to wild glow worm sites. By keeping a reserve population of the Arachnocampa flava species, our cave ensures that this species will never face extinction. 

Rebuilding a Rainforest

Glow Worms aren't our only focus; our property is home to a reforested wildlife corridor, a stretch of native rainforest planted with the help of Landcare, Land for Wildlife, Scenic Rim Council and local Tamborine Mountain organizations. Our guides help manage our rainforest in order to provide habitat to a host of native Australian wildlife, including platypus, squirrel gliders, emerald spotted tree frogs and more! By continually investing in our environment, we hope to ensure the survival of local species for years to come. One current project is installing a variety of nest boxes for squirrel gliders, as part of the Queensland Glider Network. Glow Worm Cave staff is also working with local environmentalists to install native bee nesting boxes around the property, to provide increased habitat opportunities for these vulnerable species. 

Visitors can explore a portion of our habitat on our boardwalk while learning about the various species who call our estate home.

Research and Education

Our team of guides are committed to educating the public on the importance of glow worm conservation, and through our tours, our team teaches thousands of people every year how to protect glow worm colonies. Surveys of visitors have indicated that 70% of guests have never seen a glow worm before visiting us, so we are in a unique position to teach visitors how to interact with and live alongside glow worms safely and sustainably. Guides have also presented research at local wildlife conservation conferences and workshops, partnering with Wildlife Tourism Australia and Wildlife Queensland to increase academic and tour operator knowledge on glow worm species. If you are interested in working with our team on a research project or educational initiative, please get in touch with us at


Publications and Conferences:

Baker, Claire. (2005). Managing An Artifically Built Glowworm Cave. Ackma Journal, 58.
Warne, Geoff (2007). Artificial glow worm caves – taking the pressure off national parks. Paper presented at Wildlife Tourism Australia Workshop- 'Wildlife of the Scenic Rim', Beaudesert, QLD.
Baker, Claire. (2013). Twinkle, Twinkle little fly. Wildlife Australia, 50(1),10.10-13.  ISSN: 0043-5481.
Rowland, Robin, and Bruhn, Julia (2018). Can Glow-worm Ecotourism Lead to Increased Conservation Knowledge and Positive Intentions Towards Glow-worms in the Wild? Paper presented at 5th National Wildlife Tourism Australia Conference 'Wildlife Tourism Values and Challenges: balancing the needs of wildlife, tourists, tour operators and local residents', Cradle Mountain, TAS.
Rowland, Robin (2019). The success of a Wildlife Corridor on Tamborine Mountain and the Value of Landcare. Paper presented at Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland Wildlife Corridors Workshop 2019, Kooralbyn, QLD.




Our Conservation Partners:



Our Guidelines for Safe Glow Worm Interactions:


Glow-worms are nocturnal and rely on sunlight to set their daily rhythm. Shining torches on the insects signals them to 'switch off' their bioluminescence. To get the most out of a glow-worm display, make sure your torch light is directed at the ground.

As glow-worms prey on small insects, it is best not to wear insect repellent and to refrain from smoking or lighting fires in the glow-worms' environment.

As well as residing in caves and under rocky overhangs, glow-worms can also be found along creek embankments and beside walking tracks. For this reason it is important to remain on designated walking tracks to prevent accidentally stepping on them. If you keep to the track you will also protect the habitat of the insects glow-worms prey on.

Please look, but don't touch. Glow-worms are sensitive to disturbance and will switch off their lights and retreat into a crack if they or their snares are touched.



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