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Enjoy Life's Detours!

A wise person once said, "Enjoy life's detours. They often provide some of life's greatest memories."

In February, we had an unbelievable flood, which swept tonnes of rocks and dirt into our Blue Lake, almost filling it! If you have seen the Blue Lake previously, you would know that represents a LOT of rocks!  We have started work to dredge and restore the lake to its former pristine condition. While the work is being done, Jenolan Caves Road will close from time to time. (Check for periodic closures.)

But that should not pose a problem for bushwalkers and overnight guests, because you can use Edith Road instead.  The detour takes longer, but it's a very pretty drive through the highest parts of the Blue Mountains.

Restoring the Blue Lake has many benefits, most importantly to protect and improve the habitat for our local population of platypus, as well as to enable the construction of the Blue Lake Boardwalk, planned for early to mid-2021.

Romance and Fresh Mountain Air!

Caves House hotel and Chisolm’s Restaurant are open, for pre-booked guests. With fewer people travelling, Jenolan is quiet, and it's a lovely time for a very relaxing visit.

Our cave tours are not yet running, due to the COVID-19 restrictions. But if you come for an overnight stay, you can purchase a cave tour gift voucher for a future visit, for half price. We are calling this our 'Jenolan Handshake'.  This deal will be available to guests who stay overnight before 26 September.

Also, we are offering a couple of great accommodation deals - our More the Merrier deal and our No Tab No Wallet deal.  Elegant Chisolm's Restaurant is open for dinner every evening, plus a-la-carte lunch on weekends and decadent high tea every day. Jeremiah's Bar is open, offering a mind-boggling range of wine, beer, spirits and cocktails. And, as usual, our Caves Cafe is open for light lunch, drinks and snacks. 

Due to our Blue Lake restoration work, our Blue Lake walk, River walk and Grand Arch are temporarily off limits.  However, you can still walk up to the dramatic Carlotta Arch lookout, and you can wander even further uphill to the Devils Coach House lookdown. You can even explore part of the historic Six Food Track and our McKeown's Valley track where you may spot wallabies and lyrebirds.

And you can use Jenolan as a base from which to visit the Talisman Gallery at nearby Hartley Historic Village, the small town of Oberon, astonishing Mayfield Garden (10 minutes north of Oberon) and even the many museums of Bathurst. So, book an overnight stay with us, and remember to come via Edith Road.

1824 - The Pest of Bathurst

Bathurst in 1824
Jenolan is known for Australia’s most spectacular caves.  But our pristine mountain bushwalks are less well known.  One of our best tracks takes you along the McKeown’s Valley. The path is mostly level and gives you the best chance of spotting native wildlife, especially rare brush-tailed Rock Wallabies and lyre birds.  But why was that beautiful, wild mountain valley named McKeown’s Valley? 

It was named after a scoundrel, 180 years ago regarded as 'the pest of Bathurst'. Scanty facts about him have lead to fanciful stories of his crimes and capture in the valley that now bears his name.  Penal system records provide superficial facts only, but we do know that he grew up near Belfast in the early 1800s. Bad life choices saw him ripped away from family and everything he knew and landed him in NSW, in the earliest days of Bathurst, where war between settlers and Aboriginals had only recently abated. He interacted with the pioneering families. McKeown saw the founding of Brisbane, experienced life in early Sydney cove, was in the midst of the convict colonies on Norfolk Island, Port Arthur and inland Tasmania. And if not for James McKeown, Jenolan Caves might not have been discovered until years later.

READ MORE OF THIS FASCINATING STORY HERE

1895 - The Ashes of Disaster...

Confucious said, "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."  Jenolan has a history of rising back up after overcoming disasters.

This story focuses on the 1895 hotel fire that destroyed Jenolan's original accommodation house, and is based on a 2015 article by David Hay, Cave Guide. Who started that fire? Why, in 1897, did the New South Wales Government replace it with a grand hotel, seemingly in the middle of nowhere?

Jenolan Caves had become quite famous by 1895. But, on March 14, barely three weeks after a Royal visit by Prince Joseph of Battenburg, a disastrous fire began somewhere in the extensive accommodation complex.

FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENED HERE
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