Jenolan Caves, west of Sydney and southwest of the Blue Mountains town of Katoomba, is probably the best known limestone caves complex in Australia. It is part of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage site.
Not only are Jenolan Caves accessible from Sydney for daytrips — although you can opt to stay the night at Caves House or nearby hotels and motels — but a number of the caves are able to be lit and and have stairs and walkways to make visits convenient and relatively painless.
There are nine show caves, among the most popular of which are the Lucas, Imperial and Chifley Caves.
Times to complete the tour of particular caves are posted, as well as information on whether much climbing is involved.
Each of the show caves has its own special attractions and if you have limited time at Jenolan Caves, choose to explore the ones that interest you the most.
All the show caves have striking limestone formations, both stalactites and stalagmites, created from years of water dripping into the subterranean chambers.
The Orient Cave, for instance, features delicate crystalline decoration; the Lucas Cave has its most photographed formation, the Broken Column; and the Temple of Baal Cave has the Angel's Wing, the largest free-hanging shawl at Jenolan.
Detailed information is available onsite.
There is a schedule of charges for conducted cave tours of each particular cave or a combination of caves. Adult entry costs around $30, and from$15 to $20 for each child. Discounted family tickets are available.
Adventure Caving and Concerts in the Caves attract a different schedule of ticket prices.
Accommodation and dining
Caves House on the Jenolan Caves site is a century-old Victorian guesthouse providing a variety of accommodation choices. Caves House also features a lounge, library, games room, theatre, restaurants and bar.
Getting to Jenolan Caves
There being no public transport service to Jenolan Caves, visitors must either drive to the location or join a coach tour available from Sydney at Circular Quay or Katoomba in the Blue Mountains.
If driving from Sydney, take the M4 Motorway traveling northwest through the Blue Mountains, Katoomba and Mt Victoria on the Great Western Highway.
Shortly after Victoria Pass, the Jenolan Caves turnoff is found just past the village of Hartley. Turning left, this road passes through Hampton and finally Jenolan Caves.
Driving time and distance
The road from Katoomba heads roughly northwest, then veers south after the Jenolan Caves turnoff.
The caves are no more than 200 kilometres by road from Sydney but driving time on this route is usually lengthened by the numerous twists and turns on narrow roads. Allow at least three hours from Sydney.
Note that the last section of the road into Jenolan Caves is a one-way thoroughfare from 11.45am to 1.45pm. If leaving the site at this time, there's an alternative route through Oberon Rd.