For travellers staying more than a few days in the Blue Mountains, Jenolan Caves makes for an excellent day trip.
As the world’s oldest known open caves, Jenolan Caves in the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area are truly fascinating. The cave system itself is huge, with over 300 entrances, but only 11 caves are open for tours.
In their ancient chambers you’ll see spectacular stalactites, dramatic curtains of limestone, intricate corals and crystal-clear pools. But getting the most out of your trip to Jenolan Caves requires a bit of planning. Here are my tips for making sure you have a great time.
When should I go?
The weather is usually a deciding factor when travelling anywhere, but the thing about Jenolan Caves is: it’s the same climate inside the caves all year round. That means it’s a cool 15 degrees Celsius inside the caves in summer, and a balmy 15 degrees Celsius in winter. You can also visit the caves when it’s raining in the Blue Mountains, since the caves are – obviously – under cover.
The thing about Jenolan Caves is: it’s the same climate inside the caves all year round…
Jenolan Caves are busy during NSW school holidays, which simply means you need to book tours in advance and visitor numbers will likely be at their maximum. Does the busy-ness affect the experience? Not really. This adventurer visited during school holidays and while the cave tour was full, we still had a great time.
What caves should I do?
Since everyone has different needs and wants, this one is tricky to answer. Got kids? You might like a short and sweet cave like Chifley. Only time for one cave? You might go for Lucas Cave, which features the most photographed limestone formation, “broken column”. Not feeling nimble? You might like Imperial Cave, which has the least amount of stairs. Want to be utterly enchanted for two hours straight (or should that be two hours of twists and turns…)? Then River Cave is for you. Or after some adventure? You might want to try the Plughole Adventure Tour – a physically challenging abseiling and caving experience.
Call the Jenolan Caves tour consultants to discuss which caves will suit your requirements (contact details at the bottom of this post).
What should I wear?
As mentioned above, the caves stay the same temperature throughout the year – 15 degrees Celsius – so wearing jeans, a long-sleeved top and a jumper/sweater and a pair of comfortable shoes will be just fine. On our visit – in the dead of winter – we got too hot in our jackets.
Outside the caves is a different story, and you’re better off dressing for the seasons. In summer the average maximum temperature is mid-20s; in winter it hovers around 10°C. If rain is forecast, take a rain jacket for those in-between walks from car to café to cave. Check out the weather forecast for Jenolan Caves here.
How do I get there?
Jenolan Caves are located about an hour and 15 minutes’ drive from Katoomba. Note that there are no petrol stations at Jenolan Caves so you need to fill the car at one of the closest service stations at Mount Victoria, Lithgow or Oberon. Parking is ample and free at the caves, with three disabled parking spaces.
If it is snowing or snow is forecast, check for road closures and conditions here.
Most people drive to Jenolan Caves, but there’s a number of private coach tours from Sydney as well as Blue Mountains Bus Company buses travelling from Katoomba. For more information on public transport and travelling to Jenolan, click here.
Where should I stay?
Since Jenolan Caves are only a bit over an hour’s drive from Katoomba, most visitors stay in the Blue Mountains and do a day trip to Jenolan from there.
As an Airbnb host in the Blue Mountains (promo alert!) I would shamelessly suggest staying at Luxury Bush Escape in Bullaburra, which is about an hour-and-a-half from Jenolan Caves. But there are some other closer accommodation options.
Jenolan Caves has cottages and lodges on site, or you might find a nice farm stay on Airbnb or Stayz.
More questions? Check out the FAQs page on the Jenolan Caves website.
Check out my other suggested experiences in the Blue Mountains.
- Address: 4655 Jenolan Caves Road, Jenolan NSW 2790
- Phone: 1300 76 33 11
- Web: jenolancaves.org.au
- Opening hours: 7 days, 9am–5pm
- Bookings: Phone 1300 76 33 11
- Wheelchair access: Click here for information on wheelchair access.