For some, the idea of exploring the depths of a cave is the stuff of nightmares. But for fans of speleology (or spelunking, as it is known in the United States), caves represent the final frontier.
The good news for Sydney speleologists is that NSW has the highest number of caving sites in Australia.
The Bungonia Caves lie just two-hours south-west of Sydney. There are various vertical caves in various locations around the Bungonia Gorge. There are no guided tours of the caves and so visitors to Bungonia must be confident in their caving skills before delving into the depths of the gorge. Visitors to this geological site should keep up-to-date with weather patterns and seasonal closures.
Located in the Kanangra-Boyd National Park, the Colong Caves are a spectacular, but surprisingly unfrequented cavern. A journey to the comparatively isolated site also involves a considerable bush walk, allowing a less subterranean opportunity to enjoy nature.
Probably the most famous system of caves in NSW can be found in the Blue Mountains. The Jenolan Caves are only a 2.5 hour drive from Sydney. With a series of tours available for $27 for adults and $18.50 for children, the Jenolan Caves are particularly tourist-friendly. In Nettle Cave, there is even a digital audio tour, allowing families and groups to give themselves self-guided tours.
While caving can be a thrilling activity, it is important to bear in mind the inherent dangers associated with the sport. It is advisable to go caving with an experienced group, so that you can enjoy the scenery while limiting the risks.