Veiled by eucalypts, on the western edge of the Blue Mountains, 1 hour from Lithgow, Jenolan boasts Australia’s most spectacular cave system. A great day visit or holiday getaway, with above and below ground activities, historic hotel, restaurant, bar, shop and café – Jenolan is a mini-destination.
In 2006, CSIRO scientists established that Jenolan is one of the oldest (arguably the oldest) cave systems in the world – 340 million years old. Undoubtedly, Jenolan ranks among the world’s most outstanding cave systems, and is a ‘must see’ on any visit to our rugged region.
All ages can explore the magical limestone caves, richly draped in crystal formations. There are pure underground rivers, fascinating cave tours, helpful tour guides, challenging ‘adventure caving’ and scenic bush walks in the pristine mountain valley. In snow or heat-wave, the caves are always a cool 15 or 16 degrees Celsius.
Jenolan sits in the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, teeming with native fauna. Visitors may glimpse lyrebirds, platypus and rare Brush-Tailed Rock Wallabies even in winter. Summer coaxes the Eastern Water Dragons out, to soak up the sun, on the shores of the impossibly Blue Lake.
For millennia, the local indigenous people met at Jenolan, and bathed their sick in the mineral-rich waters. In 1836, while tracking a bushranger to his lair, European settlers discovered the caves. Since then, hundreds of caves have been found at Jenolan, the largest cave system in Australia that is open to the public – so large, that its furthest reaches have not yet been discovered.
In 1872, to protect the caves for future generations, Jenolan became one of Australia’s first ‘reserves’. Back then, formally dressed gentlemen and ladies viewed the vast caverns by candlelight or magnesium lamp. But today’s visitors enjoy safe paths and subtle, eco-friendly, LED lighting which highlights all the most treasured features of the awe-inspiring caves.
Jenolan’s heritage listed hotel, Jenolan Caves House, was built between 1897 and 1926, alongside the caves. Caves House is an aging beauty that exudes a comfortable, vintage atmosphere. Evening guests relax upstairs in the historic Chisolm’s Restaurant, ‘grand dining room’ of the Edwardian era, famous for stately Art Deco features and great food.
Book online, and always check the RMS website to check road conditions before coming. See our website to check if tours are running and if bushwalks and facilities are open.