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Poetry in Cathedral Cave, Mother's Day 2012

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by Linda Moon (subscribe)
... a dreamer, freelance writer, naturopath, mother & former social work student based in the Blue Mountains. Continue the journey with me- Soul Home:
Date: Sunday, 13th May 2012 [Mother's Day]
Time: 3.30pm
Location: Cathedral Chamber of Lucas Cave, Jenolan Caves

Cathedral Cave
Cathedral Cave - site of the poetry recitation

If you want something out of this world for mum and yourself this Mother's Day, one can't envision a more magical occasion than the Poetry recitation at Jenolan Caves. With all the right ingredients - culture, poetry and music, a magnificent setting and relaxed vibe - this combination of art and world class tourist destination is sure to please.

As part of the Blue Mountains Writer's Festival, the Varuna Writer's Centre has organised this Mother's Day treat to kickstart a week of programmed writer's events.

This first ever poetry recitation at Jenolan Caves is inspired by the legend of Orpheus's journey into the Underworld and the biennial poetry reading in the Great Cave of Skocjan in Slovenian Istria. The Great Cave is considered a sister cave to Jenolan.

The poetry recitation will be in Cathedral Chamber within the Lucas Cave, a site often used for classical music performances because of its excellent acoustics and space for seating.

The event officially starts at 3.30pm (although I have alternately seen it advertised at both 3pm and 4pm, so please double check) with poetry readings by top notch contemporary poets David Malouf, Judith Beveridge, David Brooks, Brenda Saunders and Mark Tredinnick. However, come early as there are many steps to make the descent into the cave.

Shakuhachi flautist, Bronwyn Kirkpatrick will perform as people enter and exit the 240 steps both in and out of the cave. Thus, your mum (and yourself) need to be mobile and reasonably fit for your descent into the underground.

The poetry reading will last for an hour and a half. There is opportunity afterwards for drinks and discussions at Caves House with the writers.

Cost for this event is $60 and tickets must be purchased online via Gleebooks. For details of how to book, go to the Varuna Writer's website. Online ticket sales will cease at 6pm on Thursday, 10th May, so check the Varuna website's bookings and tickets information on Saturday 12 May for seat availability if you plan coming after that day. It is highly recommended that you purchase your ticket online prior to the event to avoid possible disappointment.

David Malouf
Legendary Australian author and poet, David Malouf, picture taken by photographer Conrad del Villar, courtesy of Varuna Writer's Centre

Be sure to dress warmly as May can be quite chilly outdoors in the Mountains. However, the limestone caves maintain a natural consistent temperature between 15 to 16 degrees celsius, so there's no need to overdo it.

If you are coming to this event, why not make a day trip of it? Arrive early and have lunch first. Explore one of the caves and the beautiful blue lake that flows through the area.

Jenolan Caves is offering a variety of combo packages that include cave tours, lunch and the poetry recitation. For full details of what's on offer see the Mother's Day information on the Jenolan Caves website. There are also packages for Saturday the 11th that include guitar and violin music from the Paganini Duo. So, why not make an entire weekend of it?

Tours to the caves are at set times during the day and take different amounts of time to complete. Look up the Jenolan Caves website before you go.

Jenolan Caves
Check out the gems of the caves while you're there

In terms of food, there's also a cafeteria onsite and the more expensive but classy Chisolm's restaurant.

The unspoilt rather mystical natural features of this 2011 Tourism Australia Award winner make this place unique. The ancient limestone caves are awe-inspiring and the aqua waters of the Blue Lake from whence you can take the Jenolan River Walk, are magical.

Jenolan Caves
The Jenolan Caves area - mystical and atmospheric

The drive to the Caves, passing pine forest then along ascending cliff tops overlooking deep gorges and mountains on Jenolan Caves Road, is spectacular in itself. This winding, sometimes one-way road, will take you through elevations of up to 1300 metres above sea level and the highest points of the Blue Mountains.

The Blue Lake
Dusk and a pair of lovers at the magical Blue Lake

Directions to Jenolan Caves
Jenolan Caves is only accessible via car or coach tour. To get there follow the Great Western Highway along the Blue Mountains to Hartley. At Hartley watch for the sign to Jenolan Caves telling you to turn left. Follow the signs all the way.

Note: there are no petrol stations at Jenolan Caves and the road is unsuitable for caravans. It's a three hour car trip from Sydney (partly due to all the twists and turns on Jenolan Caves Road that slow the voyage). From Katoomba, the caves are approximately one hour away, so break up the trip with a short stop there if you like. There is also accommodation onsite at Caves House should you want to stay overnight.

Jenolan Caves
Jenolan Caves - world class tourist destination. In the background is Caves House, where attendees will have opportunity to have drinks with the writers.

Poetry at the Caves should prove a memorable and magical Mother's Day experience. At the very least, it will be a rewarding day trip.
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Why? Mum will love it.
When: Mother's Day, Sunday 13th May, 2012
Where: Cathedral Chamber, Lucas Cave, Jenolan Caves
Cost: $60
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