28 April 2017

Road Trip: Jenolan Caves

| Heather Lansdowne
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Fancy an adventurous road trip complete with stunning scenery and subterranean exploration? Look no further than Jenolan Caves.

Getting there

Jenolan is just a three-hour drive from Canberra, via Goulburn.

Where to stay

Jenolan Caves House is the main hotel, with a gorgeous exterior reminiscent of a European ski lodge, and a charming, if somewhat rundown interior. A slightly less expensive option is the Mountain Lodge.

Be warned that Caves House does not have wifi, and only Telstra reception is available in the area, so you’d be well advised to bring a book or pack of cards for entertainment during your down time.

Where to eat

Jenolan offers just a few options for dining; there is a cafeteria, bar menu with basic options and restaurant. The food in the restaurant is hearty and reasonably priced, though I would recommend booking as we were only just able to get a table for dinner due to short staffing (surprising given that there are so few options for hotel guests to have dinner!). Otherwise, I would recommend bringing packed lunches and snacks to keep you going throughout the day, as there are no supermarkets in Jenolan. Alternatively, you can drive to Oberon about 30 minutes away for a range of cafes.

What to do

Of course, the main thing to do in Jenolan is exploring the caves! There are a number of options available, from walking tours (I recommend the River Tour, though it does still have a lot of stairs and a few scary ladders) through to adventure caving tours where you will be kitted out in jumpsuits and headlamps.

I thoroughly enjoyed our tour, both for the spectacular views of the mineral cave formations and underground river system as well as the interesting information our tour guide shared with us. We learnt about the history of the caves and the guides who first explored their depths, as well as the science behind the stalactites, stalagmites and various other cave formations.

Aside from the caves, there are also plenty of hiking tracks to explore, taking in the green ferny valleys and the stunning blue of the river system, caused by the limestone particles built up inside the cave.

An easy weekend trip from Canberra, Jenolan caves is sure to bring out your inner Indiana Jones!

Have you been to Jenolan Caves? Would you recommend it?

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Yes, everyone should visit Jenolan Caves at least once. My advice for a weekend away would be to also include the amazing Mayfield Garden at Oberon (http://www.mayfieldgarden.com.au), Old Hartley Village and to stay at Blackheath (I like the cheap and cheerful Blackheath Motor Inn) to take advantage of a wider range of eating places. Taralga now has a couple of decent cafes for a morning or afternoon tea on the way there or back.

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