Lofoten Islands

Should you bother? Yes, you should!

My experience was certainly mixed and by the end of it, I would highly recommend taking a trip to Lofoten islands.

Landscapes are magical and none that I have encountered anywhere else before. I would say its a mix between Swiss mountains and New Zealand scenery so it is very beautiful and majestic.

Main reason to get here is for hiking. There isn’t much info available when in town so be prepared and plan well ahead!

How to get there

Best and only way to get to Loften islands is to take a ferry. I have taken the Moskenes ferry from Bodo. Lofoten ferries are operated by Torghatten Nord. Timetable varies between summer and winter, and by each day. It is highly recommended you check the ferry times before taking the plunge.

Ferry times are certainly odd and none that can be taken to suit a day tripper easily. My ferry departed at 0015 hours and arrived at 0330 hours at Moskenes. 

Accommodation

If you arrive in the wee hours of the morning just like me, I highly recommend you book a place for to crash for a couple of hours. I didn’t take the trip seriously and had nothing booked which meant I was outdoors in the freezing cold arctic temperatures from 0330 in the morning. My fingers were frozen and I realise I had done a big mistake. I could have been dead by the time anything opened!

Having learnt my lesson, I would definitely book something well ahead even if its a day just so you don’t have to freeze outside. 

Googling places to stay in town doesn’t come up with much but there are certainly a number of places available certainly around Å town. There were at least 5 places and if you look in Google maps, you can see most of these places. So please do take in some time and book a place to get some much needed rest before you explore.

What to see

Landscape in Lofoten islands are dramatic. They rise high above the seas and is always snow covered giving them them a majestic look. Just look at them…

Picture perfect

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There are a number of small villages, rather towns, scattered along the pointy edge of the archipelago Å being the final village at the pointy edge. Å generally has more accommodation than other areas from what I have seen but I could be wrong :). 

There are 2 museums in the village. As a result of my early arrival in the town and being exhausted, I skipped them in search of more memorable landscapes. Past the car park area, there is a small trail to the right to go up a mountain and I would definitely recommend this hike to anyone. This is an easy hike for everyone and provides great views of the town. Further up, you can get close to the water with even more beautiful views.

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Sørvågen has more options around shops (for quick stop grocery shops) and a restaurant Maren Anna which I had the opportunity to have lunch. If you have the time I highly recommend going there for a meal as I had the best soup in my life! 

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There is always interesting architecture around. I especially like the houses both small and big and always had something interesting about them.

Further up, Moskenes area doesn’t really have much to offer but you can admire the port and the small lighthouses. It is always beautiful coming down from Sørvågen area. Coming down the mountain, you can also see where the seagulls nest which I think everyone misses as they drive.

On the other side of Moskenes is the gorgeous town of Reine which I found impressive against the sleepy snow capped giants. I envy those live around here for having such natural in their back garden! Walk up to Reine passes 2 vehicle tunnels where the pedestrians have a separate path, a scenic path outside of the tunnel with amazing expansive views. 

As I was hiking most of the day, Reine had been the last town I visited and I am glad that was the last as I now carry great moments thanks for Reine and its sleepy giants. 

Planning

If anyone is plan on visiting, I strongly advise that you plan ahead whether its a day trip or couple of days. It also depends on whether you want to get close to nature with hiking or just walk around. 

Most important thing is to check the ferry times. This is not meant to help tourists, especially day trippers as they have weird arrival and departure times. As mentioned earlier. times vary by day and getting there at 0330 hours does not help anyone, so book some accommodation and get some much needed sleep before anything.

Plan where you want to start your trip and whether you want to walk everywhere or get in by car. Hiring a car would be the most practical approach and easy to get around. I don’t recommend walking but of course you can just like I did 🙂

Happy travels!

 

Glow Worm Tunnel, Newnes, Wollemi National Park

Glow Worm Tunnel located in Wollemi National Park, NSW is a disused railway tunnel used in early 1900’s. Since abandoning, it has been taken over by tiny worms which produces a bio-luminescent light.

Following is a short article on how best to get there and what to expect.

Location

Located in Newnes within Wollemi national park its located in the middle of nowhere!

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How to get there

There are a number of ways you can get to the tunnel. From my experience, the best way to get there is from Lithgow, driving to the starting point of tunnel with 1 km hike from the start.

Road from Clarence to the tunnel is long and rugged. If you don’t have a 4 wheel drive, trip can feel long and hard with a lot of pot holes on the way. It took 1.5 hours for us to drive from the main turn off point in Clarence to the tunnel entrance driving through the unsealed road.

Road to Glow Worm Tunnel from Clarence
Road to Glow Worm Tunnel from Clarence

Although rugged, its very scenic!

Road to Glow Worm Tunnel from Clarence
Road to Glow Worm Tunnel from Clarence

Best way to approach the glow worm tunnel

Best route to take to the tunnel (if you’re driving) is to take the road from Lithgow.

Why? This road has the least amount of unsealed road. Therefore, the drive up to the tunnel will be a much comfortable drive if you’ve got kids. Will be better for adults too!

From Lithgow, its a 1 hr drive (one way) compared to the longer drive from Clarence (because the road is bad).

Starting point
Starting point

How much time do you need

This place needs more of your attention. Walk up to the cave is beautiful and you will pass a water pool (not sure how to actually get there), a small bridge and stairs. Return trip to the tunnel and back will take about 1.5 hours return (taking it slow and absorbing the whole experience).

Bridge crossing on the way to the tunnel
Bridge crossing on the way to the tunnel
Stairs
Stairs
Water pool
Water pool

What’s there?

Well, what else are you here for? You have reached your destination, the glow worm tunnel!

South entrance to the tunnel
South entrance to the tunnel

(Photo below is from the north entrance)

North entrance to the tunnel
North entrance to the tunnel

When you are there, please take extra time to let your eyes adjust to the minimal light conditions. Doing so will ensure you get to see the amazing experience you are here for, the glow worms!

You will not see them immediately. But having your eyes adjust to the lighting, you will start to see more and more of them with increasing frequency. From my experience, you see more on the way back to the start of the south entrance of the cave than walking to the north entrance.

When you are there…

Please take extra precautions if you have kids. Always carry a torch (per person) as there are no lights within the tunnel. Don’t scream or should which increases the experience for you and for others around you. Hiking boots are recommended if you have them as the road to and inside the tunnel can be slippery.

Other resources: http://www.infobluemountains.net.au/rail/upper/glow_worm.htm