Sunday, July 5, 2015

2015 June: Australia: Blue Mountains: Jenolan Caves

It's a decision between to do or not to do it because of the price and the schedule.  A week before our flight we have decided to do it since there is nothing much to do in the city.

An addition to my cave adventure (after Sumaguing in Sagada, Callao in Cagayan, Sung Sot Cave (Cave of Surprises) in Halong Bay, Manjanggul Cave (lava tunnel) in Jeju) glad we made it!

Realizations for our decisions:
  • The Trolley Tours works with Jenolan Office to reserve the tickets and guided tour for the cave.  We got a 2.00 aud discount booked from Metropole Hotel and they were able to reserved us in both Trolley return ride and Cave tour.
  • The Chifley Cave is a good choice and gives you enough time (to do the cave, quick lunch, self-guided tour in Nettle Cave, visit at blue lake, quick visit in souvenir shop and a 30 minute rest before the bus leaves at 3:30pm). Personal choice of good cave is the Diamond Cave but can be visited if you stay there overnight in Jenolan Hotel or if you have private car to be there by 9:00am.
  • If you don't mind being the reason for the delay of the bus departure in the afternoon, you may take both Chifley and Lucas. There is also Oriental Cave (check the schedule).  Be mindful of the negative reviews about of Trolley Tours (read more in Trip Advisor).

We left Trolley Shoppe/bus from Carlton Stop at 10:30am.  It is a long almost 1-1.5 hours bus ride heading to the caves.

Going there stay on the left side of the bus to experience the cliff adventure.

Chifley Cave guided tour started at exactly 12:30nn.

Thanks to John our guide for all the information shared about Chifley Cave. He initially warned us with the rules:
1. No smoking, no food and no drinking
2. No touching on the walls or stones

Chifley Cave
Stair steps: 421
Length: 690 metres
Fitness level: average

The Chifley cave is a treasure trove of amazing sights and surprises, featuring large chambers, many richly draped in colourful limestone crystal.  

The Chifley displays all the stunning limestone formations for which Jenolan is famous, including delicate straws. One of Jenolan's best examples of exquisite 'spar' crystal can be seen in the Chifley.

The Chifley has a fascinating history, and was the first cave in the world to be lit with electric light - as early as 1880. In fact it was one the earliest places in the world to use light bulbs - remarkable at the time.


Nettle Cave

What is different about this tour?
This 'twilight' cave tour is a different experience from all our 'dark' caves.  It features huge open caverns, appealing even to those who normally avoid enclosed spaces. Another great advantage of the self-guided tour is that you can do it whenever you like - before, after or between your guided tours.

The Nettle Cave features enormous formations and is home to wildlife including Sooty Owls.  Also, the cave is one of a few sites in the world where stromatolites ('craybacks') grow. These enormous 'craybacks' are formations that contain colonies of live cyano bacteria (blue-green algae), interacting with the crystal. There is some evidence that our craybacks may be between 20,000 and 100,000 years old!

(*Apologies for the caption below on next 3 photos, but these are actually Nettle Cave)

Checkout the blue liquid remains from the mountain top to the rocks:

The Blue Lake
On text: In 1908, the beautiful Blue Lake was crated by damming the rivers to provide a head for hydro-electric power generation.

The amazing blue color is caused by light being refracted by the dissolved particles of limestone in the water.