I spent a good year and a half living in New South Wales, Australia and loved it. Almost the entire time I wasn’t travelling I was based in a flat share in the Westmead part of Parramatta, working locally in the excellent PJ Gallagher’s Irish Pub (now simply PJs). I did a lot of trips on my days off work, including two trips to the Blue Mountains. It was the second trip to the Blue Mountains where the idea of visiting Jenolan Caves came up. These are a series of ancient caves in the valleys well beyond Katoomba. They were recommended to me by an Australian guy I met in Katoomba in 2009, it wasn’t until April 2011 that I went.
How to get to Jenolan Caves, New South Wales, Australia:
The Jenolan Caves are situated “way out west” of Sydney and are in deep foresty inland wilderness, officially they lie 175 kilometres from Sydney. The official Jenolan Caves website has been updated a lot since I last checked it and contains a great page on how to get there: Getting to Jenolan Caves.
I’ll tell you how I did it – we were staying in Katoomba and used the Blue Mountains bus company. The buses normally leave at 9.45 am daily, and it is of course busier at weekends: Blue Mountains Bus Company
The best and cheapest way (except for hitch hiking or walking!) is to drive there, so having your own car is a big advantage. The roads are narrow and winding, but you’ll save money. The Blue Mountains bus costs $53 Australian Dollars (you can pay extra to includes the entry to the caves).
How long should you spend at Jenolan Caves:
The day tour is easily enough time to do it, but there is accomodation there if you fancy staying the night, at Jenolan Caves House.
What is Jenolan Caves? What are Jenolan Caves?
They are an enormous cave network, spanning over a wide area. The caves have all been given names and are split into different sections, with some walking required. They are a National Park in themselves and they are lit up inside for easy viewing by visitors.
Apparently the Jenolan Caves are the OLDEST discovered caves in the world, which you are reminded of in guide books and leaflets in the area.
How much does it cost to visit Jenolan Caves?
If you have arrived at the Caves of your own accord, and without having booked any tickets in advance, these are the current ticket prices, thanks again to the update from the Jenolan Caves website:
Show Cave Tours
|Lucas Cave OR Chifley Cave OR Imperial Cave||$30*||$21**||$72***|
|Orient Cave OR Diamond Cave OR Temple of Baal Cave||$36*||$26**||$82***|
|River Cave OR Jubilee Cave OR Ribbon Cave OR Pool of Cerberus Cave OR ‘Legends, Mysteries & Ghosts’ Tour OR Extended Orient tour OR Extended Temple of Baal tour||$40 per person|
What Caves are the best?
This is up to your personal choice, but we liked the Lucas Cave and Nettles Caves. The Lucas Cave is one of the most popular. You can get a guided tour if you want, but we just walked around at leisure most of the time. There is a guide in front who explains various shapes and types of limestone formations on the cave walls. As a budget backpacker we opted for the Lucas Caves tour simply because it was cheaper.
What else is there to do at Jenolan Caves?
Basically it’s just the caves, so once you’re done, get back on your travels – we headed back to Katoomba in the Blue Mountains where I did lots of hiking back in 2009. There are some “adventure caving” experiences as well though, so if you’re into that here are the tours and prices:
|Plughole Adventure tour||$80|
|Aladdin Adventure tour||$85|
|Mammoth Adventure tour||$180|
|Central River Adventure tour||$200|
I mentioned that I was there in April 2011 and the prices quoted on here are from March 2013 and from the JC official website. All prices are in Australian Dollars.
I had a smile on my face typing this up as I haven’t written about my travels in Australia for a long time, I love Australia. I thoroughly recommend getting a Working Holiday Visa and heading to the land down under.
Here are my videos from Visiting Jenolan Caves:
Bus from Katoomba to Jenolan Caves:
At the Lucas Cave when visiting Jenolan Caves:
At the Nettles Cave: