A beautiful rock formation at Jenolan Caves called the Broken Column

JENOLAN CAVES TOUR + how to spot a platypus on a Sydney day trip!

Although often missed, my Jenolan Caves tour experience was my favourite activity while visiting the Blue Mountains! Made up of 11 illuminated caves open to visitors, Jenolan Caves is a maze of limestone rock formations, cathedral-like chasms and clear underground rivers. Oh, and they happen to be 340 million-years-old – about the oldest known cave system worldwide – originally formed from limestone, coral and shells back from when Australia was still beneath the sea.

I mean, who doesn’t find that fascinating?

GETTING TO JENOLAN CAVES

Jenolan Caves is just under three hours from Sydney but many of us will visit via the Blue Mountains – from where it is a 75-minute drive! The road approaching Jenolan Caves is a stunning – if a little terrifying – winding mountain pass. You’ll know when you’ve reached the caves as you drive through the breathtaking Grand Arch. This is also the meeting point for all the tours – thankfully you can’t miss it!

Unfortunately, Jenolan Caves is not accessible by public transport. Thankfully, it is possible to take a combined Blue Mountains & Jenolan Caves tour from Sydney, or by taking a coach tour from Katoomba Station.

JENOLAN CAVES TOURS

Jenolan Caves tours are varied with multilingual, night tours and ‘adventure tours’ available. The majority, including the famous Lucas Cave tour, is suitable for anyone with a normal fitness (though be prepared for lots of stairs) yet will still keep your adventurous side happy due to the amazing sites beneath the rock face.

There are so many Jenolan cave tours to choose from depending on your preference, so its definitely worth checking the website or chatting to tourist information.

Prices begin at $42 for adults and $28 for children with a family pass also available.

All the information you need: https://www.jenolancaves.org.au/

LUCAS CAVE TOUR

I went on the Lucas Cave tour which was 90 mins long. It was really fun! Our guide was super fun and down to earth, as well as being educational for kids (and adults). Definitely worth exploring for all ages! Lucas Cave is most well-known for its HUGE cavern including the ‘Cathedral’ and widely photographed ‘broken column’.

FREE ACTIVITIES AT JENOLAN CAVES…

THE BLUE LAKE

A minute’s walk from the Grand Arch is the blue lake (you can’t miss it) which is only where the COOLEST animal on the planet lives… the PLATYPUS!! The water is clear so although they only come up briefly to breathe, you may be lucky enough to see one! So sit super still and look for ripples in the water.
 
I was incredibly lucky as in the half-hour I was there, one surfaced about 10 times! Though of course there are no guarantees when it comes to nature, it’s worth a shot right?
 
So yes… if you want to spot a WILD platypus on a day trip from Sydney, this might be the place!!
 
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Mammals with a beak are the best kind of mammal.

THE RIVERWALK

Continue walking around the lake to enjoy a 2.1km walk spotting lizards, birds and waterfalls. It’s a loop walk and easy to do.

BLUE MOUNTAINS, AUSTRALIA! — Things to do, transport and day trip information guide

DEVIL’S COACH HOUSE

This epic cave is accessible without a guided tour. It’s a thirty-minute walk from carpark 2 (ask at the visitor centre if you’re not sure). You can see Nettle Cave (also free) at the same time or hike further along the valley if you have time to take in some none-underground views. Be sure to check you know what track to take before you go!

HIKE TO KATOOMBA

The famous Six Foot Track begins (or ends) at Jenolan Caves and goes all the way to Katoomba. It usually takes three days so not for the faint-hearted!

Animal spotting on the drive from Katoomba to Jenolan Caves

Heading to the Blue Mountains? Read my full guide here:

BLUE MOUNTAINS, AUSTRALIA! — Things to do, transport and day trip information

Further information on the Jenolan Caves!

Imagine visiting the caves before electricity…

To avoid damaging the rocks, there are clear pathways throughout the caves these days and guides only turn on the lights in areas where their visitors are walking. But historically, the original visitors had to enter the caves through small passageways and towering ladders – some of which are still viewable today to emphasise how terrifying it must have been, particularly with only a gas lamp strapped to your head and wearing a full-length skirt or suit!

 

Back then, they used to snap off stalactites as souvenirs and, because limestone is heavy, drop them on the path back to Katoomba! Of course, this sort of damage is not allowed to continue these days and conservation efforts are in place in the hope this will continue to be a fun day trip for years to come.

Exploring the caves on foot and taking a video driving into the vast Grand Arch!

For unique accommodation, try Jenolan Caves House

Built-in 1897, Jenolan Caves House is a unique building available for those in search of historical accommodation. Their aim is to give you a similar experience to what visitors had 115 years ago, with traditional romantic decor and great hospitality. Jenolan Caves House

 
WHAT TO WEAR ON A JENOLAN CAVES TOUR:
 
Jeans and a normal jacket are fine – the caves stay at around 15 degrees Celcius all year round. (I thought I’d mention it since it was what I was keen to find out before I went!)
 
Are you considering a day trip to Jenolan Caves?
 
 
And… would you still want to visit if the only access point was still these TERRIFYING LADDERS? Ooft, those black and white people were so brave.
 
 

 

 

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