We are excited about reopening Jenolan Caves this Saturday, February 1, after being closed for 5 weeks. We are open every day of the year, including Christmas Day, and we think that the recent bushire crisis was the first time that we have ever been closed. In 1957, a bushfire came to the rim of our valley, but history isn't clear about whether we actually closed. Due to fuel shortages during WW2, Jenolan considered closing. And during the flu pandemic after WW1, Caves House was turned into a hospital, but the caves stayed open. So this bushfire was a benchmark event for our weird and wonderful history.
We were very fortunate to survive the bushfire, which came right into our valley, across the Grand Arch, destroying our fire shed and 3 staff cottages. If not for thorough preparation and the efforts of volunteer firefighters, all would have been lost. Since then, everyone has worked very hard to restore services, access to Jenolan and lighting in the caves. Smoke made it's way into the caves, so as you can see from the image above, we've been hard at work cleaning to get them back to their best!
February is always a peaceful month in our mountain valley - so cool underground - a blissful escape from summer heat!
2 IMPORTANT THINGS
For the time being, the last few kilometres of Jenolan Caves Road are closed, so you must come and go via Edith Road only. It’s 20km longer, steeper, narrower and very winding, with several tight hairpin bends – OK for experienced drivers and good brakes. Go slow. Watch for wildlife.
The picturesque detour swings close to the little town of Oberon. Stop and explore. Also, the longer trip is your incentive to stay overnight at Jenolan - really slow down and step back in time.
Although bushwalks, Nettle and Devil’s Coach House caves are still closed, you can stroll along the impossibly Blue Lake and spot platypus. Water dragons too are out and about in February.
What Will Really Impress Your Valentine this Year?
Maybe it's the beauty of the caves, or their otherworldliness. Maybe it's their strange but powerful sensuality! Whatever it is, the ancient caves certainly inspire romance! They have been the scene of numerous marriage proposals and weddings over the years, and Caves House is a romantic setting for wedding receptions, anniversary dinners and intimate escapes! Historic Caves House offers that 'timeless' atmosphere, that makes couples think about growing old together and starting family traditions that grandchildren will remember - somehow it just does.
So, book a romantic escape in Caves House for you and your valentine this year. For an extra $60, your guestroom can include scattered rose petals, candles, chocolates and a bottle of wine!
Also, in our magnificent Chisolm's Restaurant, we have a fabulous wine list. Treat your special someone to a delicious regional wine, such as Casey’s Pinot Noir, crafted from grapes grown in the mountains nearby. If you really want to impress your Valentine, you can choose from Europe’s most famous wines, including Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial NV.
Spotlight on the Orient - One of the World's Most Stunning Caves
The Orient Cave at Jenolan is considered one of the most beautiful caves in the world. When it was discovered in 1904, explorers named its richly decorated chambers after the most exotic and wondrous places that they could imagine - Persia, India and Egypt - fabled for sensuality and enchantment.
Jenolan was declared a reserve in the 1860s. So by the time the Orient Cave was discovered, protection measures were being strictly applied. So, today the Orient Cave is completely upspoiled, and you can see it as it was when it was first discovered, with the added benefit of paths and subtle, eco-friendly lighting.
Guided tours of the Orient Cave run every day, with a maximum 24 people.
Surprises to Come!
We have been dreaming up some new experiences for you at Jenolan. But they are a big secret for now. As we organise ourselves, after our reopening, we intend to launch some fun packages that you can book for yourself or as a gift for someone special! So watch for developments in our next issue.
Over the past few weeks and months, bushfires have torn through our communities. But, through the worst, we have seen the best of Australians.
Generosity, resilience and a sense of responsibility for the wellbeing of each other that can only be described as mateship. And yet the challenge isn’t over.
As holidaymakers look elsewhere, the Australian communities who rely on tourism to thrive need our support.
Tour guides. Restaurateurs. Cabbies. Dive instructors. Baristas. Hoteliers. Retailers. Artists… the list is endless.
And most of them are good to go, ready for your visit.
That’s why we’re asking everyone to get out there to see our beautiful country. Book a week or weekend away. Revisit your favourite spot or discover somewhere new. There are beds aplenty at hotels, resorts and campsites. And locals just waiting to say ‘G’day’.
See Australia. Our home. And support all the incredible people who live here. Because now, more than any other time, Australia needs you to say, “I’m going to holiday here this year.”
What Makes a Water Dragon So Special?
In February, Water Dragons are very common around Caves House and the Blue Lake. The Water Dragon:
is the totem of the Burragorang, a clan group of the Gundungurra – the Indigenous people of Jenolan's immediate area,
is the largest of Australia’s ‘dragon lizards’, growing up to 90cm long,
is one of Australia’s oldest reptiles, unchanged in 20 million years,
can live up to 20 years in the wild,
feeds on just about everything, including invertebrates, small reptiles, frogs and plants,
can stay under water for an hour,
is a very graceful swimmer,
is protected, like all of the native wildlife at Jenolan, and
can bite – so beware!
Feel the Adrenalin, at the Oberon Rodeo - Feb 29
Have you ever experienced the adrenalin of a real country rodeo? Come to Oberon Showground, and see risk-defying competitors display their amazing skills at bull riding, bronk riding (saddle and bareback), steer wrestling, roping and more.
The Oberon Rodeo is an annual event, with around 200 men, women (and even children) competing for big money prizes. Come and join the crowd.
First held in 1900, the Oberon Show is the Central Tablelands unique agricultural & horticultural experience, attracting over 3,000 attendees on average.
The Oberon Show is an annual celebration of Regional Australian culture, from our rural & pioneering traditions to our modern day lifestyles, providing unique experiences for everyone. Every February, our local community & visitors from near & far join together at Oberon Show, Ross Street, Oberon for one day of agricultural & horticultural competitions, pavilion exhibitions, live entertainment, carnival fun, fireworks and much more.
March 7 & 8 - Spartan Oberon
the World's #1 Obstacle Course Race
The Spartan Race is coming to the little country town of Oberon, and Jenolan is a major sponsor!
Spartan Race is innovating obstacle racing on a global scale. With more than 130 races around the world annually – they offer three core races each escalating in distance, obstacle count and challenge level. The Spartan Sprint (5K/20 obstacles), the Spartan Super (10K/ 25 obstacles) and Spartan Beast (Half Marathon/ 30 obstacles). Courses are riddled with signature obstacles: mud, barbed wire, walls, rope and fire. Participants complete all three and become part of the TRIFECTA tribe. Spartan also offers a kids race (½ – 1 mile).
Come and tackle the World’s #1 Obstacle Course Race, where you’ll find yourself climbing, crawling, jumping, and swinging over, under, and through some of the best obstacles in the world! We’ll have our usual DJ & epic speaker setup on site in Oberon as well as a bunch of top-notch food trucks and other activation waiting for you in the festival area. Get your mates together, form your team, don your Spartan helmets, and have a go at Spartan!
On your way to or from Jenolan, stop in at Hartley Historic Village. The village’s many lovely sandstone buildings preserve an important piece of history. No longer a ghost town, you can easily spend a whole morning or afternoon here.
Do a self-guided tour of the 1837 Greek Revival courthouse.
Browse the Talisman Gallery, with its amazing metal art, or the Kew-Y-Ahn Aboriginal Art Gallery.
Relax in the sweet little cafe, which was once the village post office, or enjoy a picnic in the absolute serenity.
Note that the village open every day except Mondays. More details HERE
Kanangra Boyd National Park
From Jenolan Caves, take the 29 km drive to the World Heritage Kanangra Boyd National Park (unsealed 2WD). Enjoy spectacular views, with just a 10 min easy walk to the Lookout, approx. 20 mins walk down to Kalang Falls and then a further walk around to the Plateau.
You can easily spend a whole day out here, so don’t forget to take a picnic and your camera!