Since reopening after the floods, Jenolan Caves requires pre-booking in order to reduce stress on the roads. More information here.

Jenolan Caves, set deep in Blue Mountains National Park, is the world’s oldest open cave system. As you walk among cathedral-sized chasms, past underground rivers and shimmy through tight limestone nooks, you can’t deny the ancient natural beauty on show. The site even has “show caves”, with evil-sounding names such as “The Temple of Baal”, conjuring fantastical imagery among the shadows and stalactites.

Guided tours through the caves are immensely popular. Difficulty levels range from “very easy” to “occasionally claustrophobic”. The latter sees you don a jumpsuit and head lamp for a cave-diving experience which takes you through deeper, more harrowing sections of the caves. It’s completely safe, and the natural rewards are entirely worth it.

In the surrounding bushland, there’s more to see. The Jenolan River walking track is a two-hour bushwalk through the national park, which ends at the Jenolan Blue Lake – a man-made dam flanked by exotic palms, brimming with azure-blue water. The lake’s vivid colour is created by light hitting deposits of limestone at its base. And, while elusive at the best of times, platypuses frequent the stunning waters here.

After along day caving and hiking, debrief at The Jenolan Caves House. Built in 1897 as a wilderness retreat, this historic Tudor-style lodge has cold beer and an excellent restaurant called Chisholm’s. They say the hotel and surrounding caves have entertained some paranormal activity over the years. Stay the night and join one of the lantern-lit ghost tours after sunset, if you dare.

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Updated: December 15th, 2022

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