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Wellington Caves & Phosphate Mine

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by Vanessa M (subscribe)
I am always looking out for new experiences, wherever I may find myself.
Published April 7th 2012
Wellington Caves

Thinking of visiting some caves in New South Wales? Jenolan Caves aren't your only option. A few hours further west, you'll find the Wellington Caves, a series of limestone caves full of amazing rock formations. These caves, along with a restored WWI underground mine, are part of the Wellington Caves Caravan Park and are found just outside Wellington.

There are three guided tours you can chose from, exploring Gaden Cave, Cathedral Cave and the Phosphate Mine. The Wellington Caves also include the Water Cave and River Caves, but these are not open to public. All tours take around 45 minutes to an hour.

Gaden Cave

Gaden Cave is by far the smallest of the Wellington Caves, but don't think it's poor value for money. This cave system definitely has the most spectacular rock formations of the three tours. Stalactites, stalagmites, shawls and straws, you'll find everything here.

Rock formations in Gaden Cave

Cathedral Cave

The Cathedral Cave is the largest and most popular of the Wellington Caves, a priority for tourists because of the Altar Rock, a large stalagmite. This cave has three levels, with the first being used by guides to provide history and tour information. It is the second level that hosts the Altar Rock within a large chamber that used to be used for religious services. It is still used today for carols and weddings.

The Altar Rock

The last and lowest level of Cathedral Cave has the most variety and includes fossils, a well and more interesting rock formations.

Rock formations on the third level

The Phosphate Mine

The Phosphate Mine tour is the most educational and history-focused experience at Wellington Caves. Walking through the restored underground mine you will learn about past mining techniques, along with the history of the area. In some sections there are walls full of yet-to-be-excavated bone fragments from 300,000 years ago. Towards the end of the tour you actually get to handle some bones that have been found on the site!

Relics from the mine

Handling a bone

The Wellington Caves Caravan Park and its Other Attractions

Most people visiting Wellington Caves will be making an overnight trip and I think staying onsite is ideal. Apart from all the other attractions, you have the benefit of being able to roll out of bed and walk over to the caves. Because we stayed onsite, a friend and I got a private tour of Gaden Cave first thing in the morning because no one else showed up for such an early time slot.

But whether you stay here or not, you should spend some time taking advantage of the other attractions on this site. Behind the Park kiosk is an aviary, which includes one very friendly bird that followed me wherever I walked, continuously saying 'Hello', while immediately adjacent to the site is a golf course, a Bottle House and the Osawano Japanese Gardens.

The Bottle House

Osawano Japanese Gardens
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Why? Wellington's underground world
When: Open Every Day
Where: On the Mitchell Highway, a few kilometres south of Wellington
Cost: Gaden Cave Tour: $17.00 / Cathedral or Mine Tour $19.00 (Adult Prices).
Combo tickets are also available.
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