Sounds terrible but one of the best forms of fungus is the beautiful, flowery, magical mushroom. I love mushrooms. All the varieties with their colours, forms, coral like shapes and smells. The best place for these little wonders to grow is in a damp, cool climate. Enter the disused train tunnel of Mittagong in Sydney's Southern Highlands.
I joined a one hour tour group for a fascinating exploration of this tunnel which only opens to the public three times a year. I have been on the wait list for 8 months and needless to say as we waited for the big Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory like gates to open I felt as excited as Charlie Bucket.
Heading into the tunnel on a cold Sunday morning with 40 like minded mushroom enthusiasts I was amazed at the length of the tunnel, the black bags of compost hanging on the damp tunnel walls harvesting the varieties of mushrooms and the musty smell of mushroom spores germinating all around us. Listening to the highly educated, no fuss owner and operator of the tunnel, Dr Noel Arnold I learnt how the humble mushroom is grown, how this tunnel exists and how wonderful the world of mushrooms is.
As I gratefully clutched my complimentary tray of exotic mushrooms as tightly as an Everlasting Gobstopper, I left the tunnel feeling I had just experienced something quite magical in this world of mushrooms. At just $35 per person for this amazing experience, it is well worth the drive down to our gorgeous Southern Highlands to appreciate something so unique.