What is the history of the Jenolan Caves?

Among the dense bushland and sprawling hills of the Blue Mountains lies the enchanting Jenolan Caves. Step inside the cool mysterious caves and marvel at this ancient natural wonder.

The Formation of the Caves

These limestone caves are estimated to be around 340 million years old, listed as one some the oldest caves around. The Jenolan caves are a type of Karst landform, which involves rock dissolving in the water from continuous weathering and erosion slowly cutting through the rock’s joints. Spending millions of years slowly moulding into the deep gaps that eventually became so large they formed caves. The Jenolan caves became so advanced that they formed underground rivers and stunning natural archways from one cave section to the next.

The Historic connection with Humans

Their relationship with humans is historic, first being discovered by the local Aboriginal people, the Gundungurra, thousands of years ago. With the first European person to discover the cave was an ex-convict that used it as a hideout in 1838. Next to find the caves was by brothers James and Charles Whalan, who discovered several openings including the Elder cave in 1848. In 1860, the largest cave on display today was discovered, and named Lucas cave, by Nicholas Irwin and George Whiting. The caves were originally known as ‘Binoomea’, which translates to dark places until it was changed 1884 to the Jenolan caves in 1884, which is an aboriginal word for high mountain. Protection by government officials was not set until 1866 and became one of the top tourist attractions in the area. However, due to limited human ability to reach all places in the caves, there are still many sections that have yet to be been discovered and will remain untouched by humans for some time.

The methods of seeing the caves

Walking Tours

The easiest and most popular type of viewing these natural wonders is by simply walking through them. Learn about each section’s history and geology as you stroll down the man-made walking tracks. Giving you a safe and convenient route as you follow your guide around in the dimly lit caves.

Rock Climbing

Need a little more excitement? Try out one of the many rock-climbing routes scattered within the caves. Each route ranges in effort, from beginners to an expert course, so make sure you book the right one for you. Get an adrenaline rush while you discover the incredible sights that can only be seen on this type of adventure.

Check our Blue Mountains Adventure with Jenolan Caves Tour for your next trip to Sydney!

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