The Subterranean World of the Jenolan Caves

The Subterranean World of the Jenolan Caves

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 05/19/2016

Reading time: 3 mins

See the underground wonderland of the Jenolan Cave system hidden within the Blue Mountains!

Set in the heart of the Jenolan Karst Conservation Reserve, the Jenolan Caves take visitors back thousands of years. The surrounding Central Tablelands region, which sits adjacent to the stunning Blue Mountains, is imbued with a magnificent history and culture that spreads through this fascinating cave system.

The caves themselves span out across 40km of multi-level passageways, each one leading to a new story or on a new journey. With an astounding 300 entrances that are dotted around the subterranean section of the mighty Jenolan River, the caves form a popular tourist attraction in the area. There are a number of chambers open to the public, who can wander through the underground system on a trail of well-lit show caves learning about the historic charm of this subterranean world.

The Indigenous Culture of the Jenolan Caves

The Jenolan region has long been an important part of indigenous culture, holding great significance for the local Gundungurra and Wiradjuri peoples. Through this thread of history, it is thought the countryside came alive after a struggle between two ancestral spirits – Gurangatch, a supersized eel creature, and Mirrigan, a huge native cat.

During the first part of the 20th century, the Gundungurra peoples explored the caves until they reached subterranean water. They carried their sick to be bathed in it, as it was believed to have healing powers.

Visit the Jenolan Caves

Today, the caves are a wildly popular tourist attraction and an award-winning landmark in Australia. As one of the world’s oldest and most mesmerising cave systems, they proffer the chance to get up close and personal with ancient narratives and geology that spans back millions of years.

Visitors can explore the ten show caves, each one offering its own unique layout and lighting system, and there are tours to different segments of the caves depending on age and fitness level.

For the more adventurous traveller, there is the chance to go adventure caving, where you can crawl through the lesser-developed caves with just a headlamp to guide you. Alternatively, you can opt to visit in the evening, when there is a legends, mysteries, and ghost tour that unravels some of the more eerie stories behind the cave system.

The Jenolan Caves are a fascinating addition to the beautiful Jenolan region, where you can really get a feel for the age of the area and its cultural significance on both the indigenous population and Australia as a whole. Stroll through these mesmerizing formations and be in awe of nature’s incredible work!

Related article: Things You Didn’t Know About Lucas Cave in the Blue Mountains

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.

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