Sunday, July 15, 2012

Jenolan Caves and a Rare Sighting

We all woke up on our second Blue Mountain with caves on the brain.  Jenolan Caves are known as Australia's finest, and we loved our visit to Yarrangobilly Caves during our first road trip in January.  Simply driving up to the entrance of the carpark is dramatic in itself, and looks like something you'd see at Disney World.

While our friends Kylie and Josh braved 1300 steps on the River cave tour, the four older kids joined a Junior Explorers class and Sam and I hung out with Kenyon on a self-guided tour.

Sam and I are both pretty sweet on Kenyon, and with three kids it's always a treat to spend some good, quality time with just one--especially since when he's not throwing a royal fit about some perceived injustice (which happens quite a bit), he's a ton of fun to be around.

Sam and I didn't listen to all that much of the audio tour, but Kenyon relished punching the correct number into the device and reciting bits and pieces back to us.  This resulted in our tour consisting of Kenyon's cartoon voice saying, "Limestone formations...water absorbs carbons dioxide...stalagmites".  I don't know if his voice will ever stop being that of a 2-year old, but at least he'll have a profitable future in voice-over work.

We went on a bushwalk afterwards, and walked beside a pond that gets its brilliant shade of blue from light being refracted through dissolved limestone particles.

Just then, I saw something in the water and told Sam that I had just seen a turtle...

...but then realized that it was an elusive creature that we had really been wanting to see in the wild--a platypus!

After platypus-watching, Kylie and Josh were crazy gracious enough to take all the kids back to the house so Sam and I could do one of Jenolan Cave's adventure tours--the Plughole.  We abseiled down a short 8 meters into the hole to start the tour, and then squeezed our way down and through the cave.   While the cave formations weren't spectacular, it was a ton of fun.
in our attractive caving jumpsuits after the abseil
Some spots were small enough that we had to lay on our side with our arm above our head and inch our way through--definitely not for anyone that borders on claustrophobic!

Thanks to Kylie and Josh for good company and planning the trip--we're hoping to get back to the Blue Mountains once springtime hits for some more camping and bushwalking.


  1. You two are seriously the cutest couple! That photo is so sweet :)

    I love Jenolan, my Dad was a guide there for years (before I came along) and used to take me to all the secret spots when we visited. But I think my favourite part is actually the Caves House. When you come through the arch, it's always such a surprise to see it, even after all these years!

    1. Ah, having the inside scoop must have been awesome. The Caves House is lovely and does look stunning against the natural backdrop. I saw someone relaxing in their room by the window and thought it would be a wonderful place to stay overnight.

  2. What a treat to look at the caves with you and have another look at the park again. A small thing I have an issue with - surely Disney aims to look like the natural world, rather than the other way around?

    1. Oh, agreed. Disney pales in comparison to anything nature comes up with; I clearly used a bad analogy. :)

  3. I love how fearless Kenyon is. And, seeing you squeeze through that cave suddenly makes me claustrophobic!!!

  4. Cool pictures Anners! But, like your mom, I, too, just became claustrophobic! And a platypus? Cool! I nearly ran over a prairie dog the other day so that's about the extent of my wildlife sightings! Looks like a fun vac-a.

  5. Wow! a genuine Platypus, What a delight to see one vicariously! I can't believe how the boys have grown, you will never be able to drag them home after this! have you explored any of the Opal mining fields? Naturally that interests me. Good luck on your adventures. Love Aunt Julie