When you’ve exhausted golden beaches and expansive canyons, it’s time to explore the world’s oldest open cave system right here in NSW. And it’s not nearly as out of reach as you might think. The Jenolan Caves are considered one of Australia’s largest and most spectacular with beautiful limestone formations, underground rivers and intricate show caves to explore. At less than a 3-hour drive, they are also within easy reach of Sydney making it an ideal weekend escape from the city. Scientists from the CSIRO believe that the cave system is 340 million years old, which would make these stunning caves the oldest in the world. This natural spectacle is nestled in the Blue Mountains in the heart of the Jenolan Karst Conservation Reserve and is rife with sprawling caverns, narrow passages, fossils, enormous chambers and a lot of ancient history for avid explorers.
There are plenty of guided tours you could take to get a real sense of the caves’ magical charms. Night tours, ghost tours, adventure tours and fossil tours are all part of the adventure. Although several caves have been discovered in Jenolan, only eleven illuminated show caves are open for visitors of all fitness levels and ages. These caves are open every day but it is recommended to pre-book a tour if you’re planning to visit.
What is the best cave at Jenolan Caves?
Wondering which cave out of the eleven is perfect for you? The most popular all-year-round cave is Lucas where visitors get to see the underground river, a number of impressive caverns and amazing limestone formations. It’s also surprisingly, a popular wedding venue. For a glimpse of crystal formations up close, you’ll want to check out the Orient and Temple of Baal caves with stunning crystals enveloping the caves from all corners. These are also considered the most photogenic of all the caves. If you’re keen to see the underground river from close quarters, check out the Imperial Cave which follows an ancient river passage and is subtly lit up to accentuate the waters. With only a few hundred steps, it’s also one of the easier caves to explore making it the perfect choice for kids.
Chiefly, Diamond and the Pool of Cerebus, which is one of the deeper caverns are also popular choices. There’s also a Fossil Hunters Tour which is perfect for kids aged 5-12. You can also book a unique ghost tour called Legends, Mysteries & Ghosts. Find the best available tours on the Jenolan Caves website. And if you’re planning to stay overnight, check out all the accommodation options here.
While there, be sure to check out some of the many natural offerings on the ground as well including enchanting cave accommodations, glowing waterfalls and dreamy infinity pools. The Blue Mountains is also home to the world’s steepest railway.
How to get to Jenolan Caves?
Driving is the best option to get to the caves with a total distance of 2 hours and 45 minutes from Sydney. You can also take a train to Bathurst, Lithgow or Katoomba and opt for taxis and car rentals from there. Read more about the iconic caves here. Parking is available and free. Get more details here.