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Jenolan Caves

Australia's Blue Mountains (October 1997)

Also be sure to see the Travel/Geography Blog

In Jenolan Caves

Spelunking in the Cave Complex

Jenolan Caves Location

We pushed further into the Blue Mountains to the Jenolan Caves complex. The park offered several cavern options and we chose an "adventure" tour. I was a little skeptical. I figured it couldn't really be all that adventurous. I was wrong. We both considered this one of the highlights of our vacation.

We donned overalls, mining caps, lights and battery packs. The guides directed us through steep climbs and descents, narrow passages, and a variety of crevices and fissures. Some of the passages were so small that we had to readjust battery packs to fit through. The only lights were those attached to our heads. Some of the rooms contained graffiti from people who explored the caves more than a hundred years earlier. One passage featured a blind downward "S" curve that required us to use our hands and arms to pull ourselves out. In the photograph above I emerge from the "S" curve.

Even though it was tough work, the features of the caverns provided their own rewards. We also had the satisfaction that comes with visiting a place few others would see. Actually it was a lot safer than one might expect. The guides did a great job telling us how to get past each obstacle, and we quickly learned to rely on the person immediately in front of and behind us.

As we rode back to Sydney that afternoon we saw our first "wildlife" in the form of several gray kangaroos. I should say our first living wildlife. We saw lots of kangaroo roadkill on the sides of several different roads earlier in the day.