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Better Then the Beach in Summer!

In summer, while the rest of NSW swelters, the Blue Mountains are always several degrees cooler.  And due to the amazing insulating properties of limestone, at Jenolan Caves, no matter how hot it may be above ground, underground in the caves, it is always a cool 15 to 16 degrees Celsius.  That makes it perfect for walking and climbing stairs. So you can give the beach a miss this year!  Stay a couple of days at Jenolan instead.  Explore several caves. Above ground relax in the Caves Cafe and maybe even wade into the secret swimming hole below the waterfall in the Jenolan River.  

Getting to Jenolan - Defy Convention!

When something is really worthwhile, you need to make a little extra effort to get it.  It's so much more rewarding that way. That's what it's like with Jenolan Caves, which is not on the main tourist trail.  Most people drive themselves to Jenolan where there is plenty of parking.  The narrow, winding roads are all sealed and the views are stunning.  Watch out for wildlife, and make sure you fuel up at Mt Victoria or Oberon, as we do not sell fuel at Jenolan. 

But if you don't want to be conventional, there are a range of options, including top quality private coach companies such as AAT Kings and CDC Tours.  There are tour operators, that specialise in small private tours, such as Your Sydney Guide.  You can arrive at Jenolan by limousine or by 4WD

Speaking of 4WDs, if you have one, what about joining a fun tag-along tour with Simmo's Offroad Tours!  On January 19 and 20, even if you are a novice 4-wheel driver, Simmo can lead you on a great adventure that the whole family will enjoy -  'Katoomba to the Caves'.  Have 2 days of rugged 4WD touring, with lunches, 2-course dinner at Chisolm's Restaurant (upstairs in Jenolan Caves House), hot buffet breakfast, guided cave tours, sapphire fossicking and overnight stay at historic Caves House. Click here for more info.  

1860 Descent into the 'Blackest Midnight Darkness' 

Even today, with technological aids such as mapping and digital survey equipment, caving is an inexact science. Cave exploration is still a case of wriggling down a hole and hoping to find something! In 1860 it was far more dangerous! 

By 1860, at Jenolan Caves, the vast ‘Devils Coach House’ cave and ‘The Grand Arch’ had been discovered, but explorers suspected the existence of more caves.  According to an article in the Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal, 11 January 1860, “the opinion had often been expressed... that new caves surpassing any hitherto seen existed… but the towering precipices seemed inaccessible and to preclude the idea of human investigation”.

In January 1860, two locals, Nicholas Irwin and George Whiting, decided to measure the height of a “lofty pinnacle overhanging the creek”.  To do this dangerous job, they climbed to the top of ‘The Grand Arch’, a very precarious spot. Rocks and stones, loosened by their feet, crashed down into the creek below, and “one slip of the foot would probably have led to instant and frightful destruction...”

And then what happened?  Click here to find out.

Over 200 Species Recorded at Jenolan Bioblitz

At Jenolan, the main activity is exploring caves.  So as cave visitors are often in a hurry, the enormous array of wildlife in the area around the caves tends to be overlooked.  However recently, Jenolan hosted a BioBlitz (like a biological census), was organised by K2W Glideways, a local environmental organisation.  In the full weekend of exploration, over 100 nature enthusiasts managed to spot and record a whopping 200 and more species.  For the full article click here.

The Orient Cave - Legendary Beauty!

All of Jenolan's caves are spectacular. Some are huge, some feature water or unusual history, some take you very close to the crystal, some are full of variety.  But The Orient Cave is undeniably Jenolan's most beautiful. Jenolan was a protected reserve 38 years before the Orient Cave was discovered. So, its jaw-dropping natural beauty has been completely preserved.

Back in 1904, when the Orient Cave was discovered, when people spoke of the 'Orient' they meant the region that we now think of as the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East. The early cave explorers were so overwhelmed by the cave's beauty that with their limited knowledge of the world, they named this cave and its chambers after the most richly exotic and legendary places they could think of - Persia, Egypt and India, the gems of 'the Orient'.

The Orient is regarded as one of Jenolan's less strenuous caves, with only 358 stair steps. So your tour guide can take you into this cave at an easy pace.

You start at the 'Binoomea Cut', a man-made shortcut into the cave. Following this tunnel, you enter the Orient via a small but beautiful chamber known as 'Bat End'.

Next, you head upwards to the dramatic 'Persian Chamber'. Many consider this the most beautiful chamber at Jenolan. The walls and roof are completely festooned in long calcite crystal formations - stalagmites, stalactites, columns, shawls and straws - in breathtaking array. The height of the chamber is just over 30 metres. The tallest stalagmite at Jenolan is in this chamber.  You descend into 'The Well', to view the 'Persian Chamber' from a different perspective.

Then, you move into the 'Egyptian Chamber', home to the second largest shawl at Jenolan. As you descend from the Egyptian Chamber, you pass a small, but exquisite chamber known as 'The Jungle'.

Finally, you come to 'The Indian Chamber', which you view from two levels. From the top level you get a perfect view of one of our most famous formations, 'The Indian Canopy'. At the bottom of the chamber you view 'The Crystal Basin', a large, beautiful formation which sometimes fills with pure water.  

Tip: If you intend to view more than one cave at Jenolan, make sure you leave the Orient for last.
The Very Best Things to See and Do Near Jenolan Caves

'Creative Fire' at Talisman Gallery, Dec 27-29 only, 
at Hartley Historic Village

Unleash your inner creative fire, work off some energy and learn an ancient art under guidance from an experienced artisan.  Experience what it's like to hammer, twist and shape hot steel into something beautiful. Take home a work of art in metal, that you made yourself. Talisman Gallery only runs this truly unique activity a couple of times a year, so don't miss out.  Bookings are essential - phone Ron direct, on 0407 723 722.  For more information, click here.

See the spectacular Mayfield Garden  

 
Mayfield Garden is open year-round (only closed 25 & 26 December) and covers 16 hectares (40 acres):
  • Only 40 minutes drive from Jenolan Caves
  • Open daily 9 AM – 4:30 PM
  • Last garden entry at 3 PM
  • $20 Adult (18+)
  • $18 Concession/Senior Citizen
  • $10 Child (7-17 years)
  • $55 Family (2 adults, 2 children)
  • FREE Child (0-6 years)
More details HERE

Hartley Historic Village
 


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!

 

 

The Secret Town of Oberon

Too often, visitors come to Jenolan, and never know that only 30 minutes away, in the highest part of the Blue Mountains, sits the little town of Oberon, with a variety of dining venues and accommodation.
 
Visit
Oberon’s Military Museum and the Oberon Tarana Heritage Railway. Call into Casey’s Vineyard. Play golf or fish for trout in Lake Oberon. Head out on an adventurous quad bike or horse riding tour.

Fossicking for gemstones around Oberon’s pretty rivers and creeks is a fun activity for the whole family.  Hire fossicking kits from the Oberon Visitor Information Centre, then venture out and try your luck!
 
Over several days, take a pleasant drive through the
surrounding historic villages. Meander along picturesque country roads, or for the more adventurous, there are a variety of 4WD tracks through State Forest and National Parks to explore. Camping, fishing and bushwalking are just a few ideas to spend a rewarding time in Oberon - your new favourite country escape!
 
Copyright © 2018 Jenolan Caves, All rights reserved.


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