Posted by: Ian | 23 November, 2009

Otford Tunnel – Closed

Otford Tunnel (No. 7) – Closed

This page has moved permanently to

Please update your bookmarks/favourites and links.



  1. I found the southern end of the Otford Tunnel on Monday 15th March 2010 and photographed the southern portal at Stanwell Park.. (with all its graffiti art..:0

    I wanted to see inside further but was too scared to go in by myself in case I disturbed a snake or spider … Yuk… so imagine my delight to find them here this morning when I was googling to see what was about on the subject!!!

    Thanks… great photographs…

  2. Hi Kerry

    Thanks for your kind comments. I would like to see those photos you took if possible. 🙂

  3. I walked the Otford tunnel today from Stanwell Park to the northern Otford end. It’s so overgrown with thorns at the Otford portal that we had to walk back through the tunnel to Stanwell to get out :o)

  4. walked it tonight about 3 hours ago. had plenty of torches. access whilst slightly tricky from otford side isn’t impossible as that is where i entered. i walked the full length down and back. was great. council should fix up the floor and set up some lights to make it into a nice walk way or cycle path straight down to the beach

    • Hi aj

      Thanks for your reply here. I did similar to yourself last year and had a great time.

      I agree that it should be turned into public access much like they did with the Redhill Tunnel in the Newcastle area.
      However the Otford Tunnel has already been deemed unsafe by the State Rail Authority but one hopes this could be reversed.

  5. There is no mushy gunk under foot and no deep water pools.
    Slight air flow so maybe cool-ish.
    Despite the extreme length and darkness, not one glow worm sighted anywhere, odd.

    The tunnel floor is not very even underfoot, so definitely bring the torch and spare batteries. My 4 x AA cell bike light made it all the way up and back.

    There are some blackberry thorns at the Otford end, so I didn’t venture far past the north end but that was not our plan anyway, so I speedily walked back through in less than half an hour; think it was 2 hours walking up.

  6. If you want to see glow worms, take your gumbys into the Metropolitan Tunnel. The centre line of the tunnel is like the Milky Way at night, and there are some (in the side refuges) along the Cawley Tunnel.

    • No Glow worms are found in any of the tunnels that were used for mushroom cultivation. Must of been something that was used in the composting mix?

      The Metropolitan Tunnel is the only tunnel never used for mushroom farming, hence their proliferation in that tunnel.

      Thanks for the heads-up of glow worms occupying the approaches of the Cawley Tunnel. Well done.

  7. Just wondering if anyone has any plans in the near future for a walk around all the tunnels…. would love to walk them all.

    A huge thanks to black diamond for the pictures and stories. Its great that someone responsible still walks the old lines, someone without a tin of spraypaint and a bag full of rubbish.


    • Daniel, my name is Neil Johnman. A friend and I have become interested in the abandoned Illawarra Tunnels. We are from Queensland so I am doing some research prior to coming down to Sydney. At this stage it is likely to be late August or early September.
      Wea re interested in walking the Cawley, Otford and checking out Metropolitan and Helensburgh no 1.

      • Hello Neil

        The only tunnels that are easily accessible, are the tunnels located near the existing Helensburgh Railway Station; called the Helensburgh Station Reserve. This is an area where the Department of Lands have proclaimed the Metropolitan Tunnel, Helensburgh Tunnel, and the 1st Helensburgh Railway Station for environmental and heritage protection.
        As I have mentioned in other articles; these two tunnels are particularly easy to access, (take your waterproof footwear).

        To visit and view the southern end (or portal) of the Otford Tunnel, drive to the end of Chellow Dene Avenue, Stanwell Park.

        I’m glad to hear of you rinterest in the area.

        Thank you.

    • Outstanding work Dave Rave… Well done.

      Bet your flash got a good workout that day. The editing must have been fun. 😉

      Thank you kindly for sharing that I really enjoyed your efforts. 🙂

      • wow sooo many orbs 🙂 thanx dave loved it

  8. We are hoping to take our scout group up there next tuesday to see the glow worms..does anyone know if they are actually still there?

  9. we are actually taking them to the one near the railway station at Helensburgh, I thought this one was it.. if its the largest colony in NSW that would suggest that we should see some. I thought this tunnel was the one we were going to, thanks for the advice about taking waterproof footware, I have just let all the parents and children know to take their gumboots along..any other suggestions? we will be taking our torches, do they affect the worms or what about noise..30 kids could be a tad on the noisy side..I hope they get to see them glowing, they are a little excited.

    • The tunnel located near the Helensburgh Train Station (both now and in the past) is called the Metropolitan tunnel. Named because that is where the tunnel exits on the south-side. (the present day mine or the Metropolitan Colliery).

      The tunnel that this web page is related to is the Otford tunnel located in Otford.

      You’ll find many glow worms in the old Metropolitan tunnel during both day and night. I would be taking torches but asking the children to avoid shining the light directly on them (the roof of the tunnel). Noise shouldn’t be an issue as the neighbours who live in the old stationmaster’s home are used to the traffic of tourists, historians and the curious. You have to walk on the railway sleepers to enter the tunnel as the water is ever-present. (railway sleepers were donated by the mine after the site was restored in the late 90’s; they are not part of the original line from 100 + years ago).
      My page about the 1st Metropolitan tunnel is in a link to follow, and it contains many images of the Metropolitan tunnel. Thanks for visiting my site Leanne and hope the kids have a great experience.

      By the way the picture located at the top of this page, is the tunnel you will be visiting. 🙂

  10. No, thank you for putting this informative site together, who knew there were so many unused tunnels up that way..I followed the link and am impressed and looking forward now to taking them up there..

  11. I Timothy Hall, is looking for information about my Great Grandfather Thomas Hall who founded the Helensburgh Workers Club late 1800’s. If somebody knows any information, can they please contact me via this email. It is believed to be the oldest Workers Club in Australia.
    As i have done several searchs only to come up blank.
    I appreciate any information
    Tim Hall

  12. I have heard that there is a ghost in the Helensburgh tunnel. Is there anyone that can tell me any more than seeing a light hovering deep in the tunnel?

    • Hello Lisa

      Thank for visiting the site and leaving a comment.

      I think its all hearsay, and I have never seen anything to indicate what you mention. 🙂

  13. Very Impressive

    • Thank you for your kind words Buck.


  14. Hello I visited otford tunnel on th 22/9/15 chellow dene avenue has been blocked 350 to 400 metres from South portal just where the bitumen runs out have to walk to portal need to park in previous side street no room to turn car we made it almost half way before turning around having suffered a massive unexplained stroke in 2013 I was very happy with my achievement 12 months ago I couldnt have walked from road block to portal thanks

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: