I am always looking out for new experiences, wherever I may find myself.
Published September 25th 2013
If you live in Sydney, you've probably heard of, or visited, the Jenolan Caves. But there are a lot of other caves in New South Wales that are worth a visit too. In fact, there's a total of nineteen choose from, which means you'll probably need some help deciding which ones to try.
I've been to three sets of caves in New South Wales, with all of them located close enough to Sydney that they can be reached on a weekend trip away. I've listed each of the caves below, as well as a few notes about the experiences they offer, but I'm curious what others everyone else may have visited.
Which ones do you think are the best caves in the state?
It's no surprise that one of the three sets of caves I've been to is Jenolan Caves, as this place is hard to go past as a destination for any Sydneysider. The caves are located just outside the city, in the Blue Mountains, and are an award-winning attraction; they were crowned Australia's Best Tourist Attraction in the 2011 Australian Tourism Awards, and won three Silver awards at last year's event. They also earned three Gold awards in the New South Wales division.
There are some pretty grand formations at Jenolan Caves. This one can be found in Orient Cave
One big reason to visit these caves is the amazing formations. Stalagmites, stalactites, columns, shawls and straws, Jenolan Caves has everything and it's all on a pretty impressive scale. The caves may also be the oldest open caves in the world. You won't get sick of them either: there are ten show caves, as well as three 'adventure' caves, and a tour of some kind is taking place at all times. Then there's the bushwalks and all the events that are held here, like Carols in the Caves.
Jenolan Caves is actually a place I haven't been in a while, but I think it's about time I returned.
You'll need your camera out for the Broken Column in Lucas Cave
Wellington Caves Further west, there's another set of limestone caves that you may want to explore yourself: Wellington Caves. These are located just outside Wellington, near Dubbo, and there are two caves accessible to the public here.
Gaden Cave is the smaller cave, but it has the best rock formations, which are found pretty much everywhere you look. They include the same variety that can be found at Jenolan Caves, but are much daintier. The other option here, the Cathedral Cave, is a lot bigger, with three distinct levels, and while it doesn't have as many formations to look at, the ones it does have are pretty grand, like the Cathedral Rock.
I enjoyed the Wellington Caves immensely, but if you want to visit them you'll probably have to stay overnight in the area. The Wellington Caves Caravan Park is a good choice because the caves are right on site and it offers a few other things to do while you're here, such as the Phosphate Mine (a restored mine where the walls are full of bone fragments and you even get to handle real bones) and the Wellington Osawano Japanese Gardens.
Yarrangobilly Caves The Yarrangobilly Caves are another set of caves located near Sydney--to the south this time--and can be found in the northern section of Kosciuszko National Park. They're limestone caves, just like the Jenolan and Wellington Caves, but the landscape in this area is completely different, so the experience is vastly removed from the other two.
You can enjoy some beautiful scenery while you're at the Yarrangobilly Caves
There are a few different caves to choose from here. On my visit, I did a self-guided tour of South Glory Cave. It's definitely not the most spectacular cave, but the rocks seemed so different to those I've seen elsewhere and often looked like liquid (a full outline of my experience at South Gory Cave can be found here).
Other caves at Yarrangobilly include the Jersey Cave and Jillabenan Cave, which can be visited on guided tours. At the former you can see rare grey and black flowstones and also Cleopatra's Needle, a stalagmite that has reached four metres tall, while the latter cave is much older (though smaller) and has all sorts of rock formations. North Glory Cave is also located here, but can only be visited by groups who book in advance, while the Yarrangobilly Thermal Pool can be found nearby.
These three sets of caves are some of the easiest to reach in the state, but there are many others to e explored. Have you ever visited any New South Wales' caves that are worth travelling that extra distance to? Which ones do you recommend?