A pictorial introduction to Newnes, New South Wales, Australia

What is Newnes?
Window in works Newnes is located in the scenic Wolgan Valley on the western edge of the Blue Mountains, north of Lithgow, NSW. It used to be a mining town, where Torbanite (a type of oil-shale rock) was mined and processed into a range of oil products.

Today, Newnes is a popular spot for day visitors and campers. Very little is left of the town itself, but there are extensive ruins of the oil-shale processing plant to be explored. The walk to the Glow-worm tunnel is also very popular.

If you have time, there are a number of other walks in the Newnes area, such as the "Pipeline Pass" walk to Glen Davis, walks downriver to Rocky and Annie Rowan Creeks, or climb "Mystery Mountain", the mountain opposite the Newnes Kiosk.

Other activities, such as bushwalking, rock climbing and canyoning are also popular with well-prepared adventurers.

Then there is that other "activity" of doing nothing at all; away from busy city life, no TV and no mobile phones; just the sounds of the Australian bush.

The "town"
Newnes shops and station
There was once a town at Newnes, but very little now remains.
The shops in the background of this photo were located about half-way
between the present day kiosk and the camping area.
The land where these shops stood is still privately owned and is fenced.
Newnes Hotel
Today, the old hotel is the last remaining building from the mining period.
It was moved to its present site after flooding in 1986.
It is now de-licensed, but still trades as a kiosk at weekends.
There is also a small museum inside and entry is free.

The Oil-shale Works
Ruins of works
The oil-shale works at Newnes was a very large scale undertaking and the remaining ruins are very extensive. You should allow at least 2 hours to follow the marked walking track through the ruins.
Newnes oil-shale works

<-- (Left)
This historic view, dated c.1920, was taken from the hill west of the works, looking towards the east.

(Right) -->
Today there are extensive ruins to be seen. This is part of the remains of the Paraffin Sheds. Other substantial ruins include the coke ovens, some large retaining walls and the remains of a number of other brick structures.
See the Newnes Oil-shale Works information page for a map and more details.

The Glow-worm Tunnel
View at northern end of tunnel Train under cliffs
Visitors to Newnes can walk to and through (make sure you have a torch) the Glow-worm tunnel. The walk is a 9km circuit (allow at least 3 hours) that starts at a weir over the Wolgan River 6.5km south of the Newnes Kiosk.

<-- (Left)
The railway that once came to Newnes entered the valley in a truly spectacular setting. Surprisingly, the engineering on the railway was relatively light and the railway is, instead, a tribute to the surveyors who plotted the route.

(Right) -->
Today the tunnel is host to numerous glow-worms, but there are other attractions here. This photo looks out from the Newnes end of the tunnel into a pretty, fern-filled gorge between the tunnel and the cliffs.
See the Glow-worm Tunnel Walk information page for a map and more details.

How do we get there?
Wolgan Valley Road There is no public transport to Newnes, so you will need your own vehicle.

1. From Sydney, head to Lithgow -
    (i) via Katoomba (M4 - Western Motorway and A32 - Great Western Highway), or
    (ii) via Windsor (M2-A2 - Motorway to (Old) Windsor Road and B59 Bells Line of Road).
2. Continue west on A32 and take the Mudgee (B86 - Castlereagh Highway) exit at about 7km from Lithgow.
3. The Newnes turn-off is at a major road junction, just past the Wallerawang power station at Lidsdale.
    It is signposted as a "Discovery Trail".

The first 10km to the bottom of Wolgan Gap is bitumen. The road in the valley is unsealed (see picture on left) and care is needed, particularly when wet. At all times, DRIVE CAREFULLY.
(Another 14km of this road is due to be sealed during April-December, 2013.)
<-- (Left) The road to Newnes is particularly scenic.

A map and full description of the road to Newnes is given on the Getting to Newnes information page.

Latest road conditions are posted regularly on the Current Conditions information page.
Do you want to know more?
Then have a look at the other pages on this web-site.
Do you have any specific questions about Newnes?
Email us at: "newnes[at]"

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This page last updated: 28Jun2013