Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Jenolan Caves

This is Part II of a three part post about our trip to the Blue Mountains.

On Day 2 of our Blue Mountains trip, we headed down to Jenolan Caves. A guy at the caravan park recommended that we stay overnight, and there was so much to see we certainly could have, if it hadn’t been for the dog.

A kangaroo (wallaby?) along the way

Jenolan Caves is in a really steep valley, and looks like a small Alpine Village. It is really beautiful and remote, although I would not want to be there during a heavy rain event! We signed up for a tour as soon as we rocked up, but since we had to wait, we decided we would take a short hike as well.

Not Germany -- Jenolan Caves

The hike was not strenuous and was well worth it. We went past Carlotta Arch

Carlotta Arch with the Blue Lake below

and then through a cave called the Devil’s Coach House.

Ethan is dwarfed by the Devil's Coach House

We also had a free tour through Nettle Cave, although we didn’t realize it at the time. After wandering through this hike, we took another short hike around the manmade lake and stream that comes out of the caves.

The blue lake, complete with tree ferns

It was really pretty back in here, and the further we went, the more isolated it got.

Viewing the weir through the trees
We had heard from our caravan park compatriot that platypuses like to swim in the lake at the end of the hike, but unfortunately we had to turn around before we got to the end, because of time constraints.

Then it was on to our tour. Jenolan Caves doesn’t necessarily have anything that other caves don’t, but there were a lot of really neat formations and some really large rooms with massive structures.

Rock jellyfish

Lights in the "Cathedral" hall

Stone curtain

Further along in Lucas Cave

After that, we went back to Oberon to relax. We were kind of tired and cold (hey, it’s pretty chilly underground) so we wanted to be in the sun again. We decided to take a short walk around the dam, which was really pretty too. This was more what I envisioned when I came to Australia – a lot of eucalyptus and sheep farmland.

Lake Woebegon -- I mean, Oberon

We finished off the night with some camp food and a couple of beers at The Royal Hotel in Oberon. The Royal Hotel was kind of a dive, which meant Ethan and I felt right at home. We fell asleep under a multitude of stars, only to be awakened by our friend the kookaburra at 6 a.m.

Next: the third and final part of our adventure, in which we do an awesome hike.

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