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The abandoned tunnel in Helensburgh is an otherworldly tourist attraction

Added Wed, 18/01/2023
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Wed, 18/01/2023
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In the small Australian town of Helensburgh there is one of the most amazing places on the planet – an abandoned railway tunnel that glows with a mysterious blue light at night.

The Helensburgh Firefly Tunnel is an abandoned railway tunnel in Helensburgh, New South Wales that has become famous for both ghost stories and a colony of fireflies that give it an iconic bioluminescent blue glow.

Originally, the 624-meter-long underpass was opened at the end of the 19th century and was used to transport coal from a local mine to the suburbs. However, a couple of decades later it closed and remained abandoned until the mid-90s. This time was enough for a colony of fireflies to capture him.

Opened on January 1, 1889, the Helensburgh Underground Tunnel was operated until 1915. Years of exposure to smoke and soot from coal made the tunnel unsafe for train crews and passengers, so the railway line was duplicated and the tunnel abandoned. One end of it was blocked off, and the whole place was turned into a reservoir for mining.

Over the years, the tunnel has been littered with garbage and overgrown with grass, and most people have forgotten that it ever existed. Only in 1995, the Metropolitan Mine decided to drain the flooded tunnel, clear the rubble inside and around it and turn this place into a historical landmark. However, they had no idea that their efforts would eventually lead to a unique natural spectacle.

After initial restoration, the old railway tunnel became home to a colony of fireflies, which has since become one of the largest in all of New South Wales. They covered the ceiling of the tunnel, emitting a distinctive blue light to attract prey – invertebrates such as mosquitoes. Although this bioluminescence serves a different purpose, it creates a fantastic natural light show for us humans.

Over time, the tunnel became known as the Helensburgh Firefly Tunnel, and people from all over Australia came here to see the natural light show with their own eyes. Since the photos and videos taken here have gone viral on the web and the tunnel has become an international tourist attraction.

However, with the arrival of tourists here, the number of fireflies in the tunnel began to decrease. The fact is that visitors ignored warnings not to direct light at the ceiling of the tunnel and not to use flashlights to make photos brighter.

Fearing the disappearance of their extraordinary attractiveness, the Helensburgh Landcare group temporarily restricted access to the firefly tunnel in Helensburgh in January 2019 to allow the fireflies to breed peacefully.

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