There are many great reasons to visit Jenolan Caves. The cottage, the nearby tourist caves and range of activities available mean that it is a great place for beginners. Also, it’s relatively close to Sydney. SUSS visits Jenolan at least once a month. It’s almost a second home to many of us, and is the location of most of our projects. There is a great range of trips possible; some are quite challenging while others are quite easy, so it is a great destination for beginners and repeat trips!
How to get there
Jenolan caves are about 2½-3½ hours west of Sydney in the Blue Mountains, near Oberon.
From Sydney, go west on the M4 Motorway, which becomes the Great Western Highway. Drive past Katoomba. Turn left at the Jenolan Caves turnoff and continue along this road.
The Grand Arch (aptly named) is the marker that you’ve reached the Caves. Drive through the Arch, through the tourist area, and at the top of the small rise at the car park turn right.
Drive up this road for a few bends, and there will be a road coming off it going uphill and to the right. It has a discreet road sign that says ‘Fire Brigade’. It should take you past a few cottages.
The Caver’s Hut is clearly indicated up another incline to your left. This is quite a steep, rough dirt track, so if you have a car with low clearance, you might like to park on the side of the road at the bottom of the drive way.
Parking at the top of the hill at the cottage is very limited, so if you do make it to the top, make sure you try to park in a way that leaves as much space as possible for other cars.
Cavers cottage is, next to the Jenolan show caves.
Jenolan tends to be one of the colder (12-16 degrees) and often wetter caving areas. You will need thermals as well as shoes that can handle the slippery and muddy conditions. Many members prefer gumboots to Dunlop Volleys or sandshoes for their trips here. Many of the caves at Jenolan are quite wet and muddy, particularly where we go!
We are blessed to have a dedicated Caver’s Cottage at Jenolan with 240V power, stove, fridge, toaster, kettle, microwave, hot shower, flush toilet, running water, bunk beds with some mattresses and plenty of cooking utensils, plates and cutlery. There is a hose and bench just outside the cottage that you can use to clean your caving gear as well – very handy for week-long trips!
The nearest supermarket is the Coles in Katoomba which is open until midnight on Friday nights. If you are being driven up by someone else check with them as to whether they plan on shopping on the way (ideally before the day you drive up). There is some food available at Caves House in the tourist area, but this is expensive and can be inconvenient to access.
Hut fees ~$8 per person / weekend, $4 per person / weekday regardless of whether you sleep in the cottage, garage or your car.
Petrol money ~$15-20 return.
What to bring
All of your Caving Gear PLUS a towel for the shower. You should bring warm gear for outside the caves as it can get quite cool late in the day, even during summer. A roll mat can be a good idea on busier trips if all the mattresses are being used.