Sunday, November 21, 2010

Jenolan Caves - plus a mob of wallabies

We went to the Jenolan Caves this past weekend. These are remarkable caves in the Blue Mountains about 3 hours west of Sydney.

We got a late start heading towards the caves on Friday night. Katherine had a piece of art that was being displayed in a gallery. We went to the opening and had apple juice and cookies.

The weather turned cooler and the winding road leading to Jenolan was treacherous with fog. We arrived safe and sound to the lodge. This tiny ‘town’ at the caves looks like some sort of Bavarian village. Joe and I got up early the next morning for a run. Everything here is vertical. We headed up a steep stair case jogging. We took several trails out from the village and ended up in the middle of a valley. The trail was narrow and there were stinging nettles everywhere. Our legs were itching. We did happen to see a ton of wallabies. There were mobs everywhere. It was funny, we would run up on these wallabies and they would hop 20 yards away and look back at us. We would continue running and they would repeat the hop away and stair. We came into this large valley and I bet there were 50 wallabies. We started this mob and they took off straight up the cliff side. There were tons of baby wallabies.

Someone had changed the 'No Stopping' signs

Alpine retreat?



Later in the morning, after breakie, we went to the caves. We first did the self guided tour. This consisted of little toy phones that you put up to your ear. The device told you all about how the caves were formed and the history of the caves. Geek worthy trivia is that you can select from a number of languages for the tour – including Klingon - read more / USS Jenolan (star trek).

Just finished abseiling

Climbing through a window

We next did another cave that went much deeper into the earth. This tour was presented by a guide. We learned a lot more about the caves and their history. However, after we had lunch was the fun stuff. Joe, Isabelle and I signed up for the ‘adventure caving’. We put on blue coveralls, headlights and helmets. We met up with our guides Cory and Gordon. We did not know that we would have to do any abseiling (repelling) but it was fun. The ‘plug hole’ cave was very interesting. It is amazing that the early explorers did their spelunking with just candles. Without the bright light of our headlamps it was pitch black in the caves. We had to pull ourselves though tiny windows and crawl and snake our way through very small passages. It was very challenging and a lot of fun.

Next stop Katoomba and the Ruined Castle.


Jennifer said...

You are soooo lucky! I love spelunking!

Barbie said...

How totally cool. You are experiencing so much on your holiday.

Matty O said...

Awesome journey man! We wanted to go spelunking at Mammoth Cave in Kentucky but did not plan it and missed the group :(

Sounds like your trip out there has been nothing but amazing so far. Enjoy yourself, you have earned it!