Jenolan Caves are one of our favourite attractions in the Blue Mountains. The caves you can visit are truly spectacular. Magical!
by Mireia Garriga Seguranyes and Seana Smith
Both of us have visited with our children of all ages and found that the trip works.
We start this article by looking at Jenolan Caves tours for families. These are long day trips from central Sydney which are ideally suited to visitors. Below the Jenolan Caves tours section we look at driving yourself for the day and add in advice for everyone to read.
Kid-friendly Jenolan Caves Tours
A Jenolan Caves tour is very special experience and a must-do on the itinerary of many visitors to Sydney. Beware that bad weather and rain can cause havoc with both the opening of Jenolan Caves and the roads that get to them. That’s one of the reasons a tour can be a great idea, let someone else worry about the logistics!
You can easily find a Sydney one-day tour to Jenolan Caves and the Blue Mountains. These are the best way for visitors to see these geographical wonders. A day tour from Sydney is still a HUGE day, especially for the children, so you’d probably want to plan less demanding days on each side of your trip.
Check out tours on offer by clicking the image below.
When you’re looking at the various Blue Mountains and Jenolan Caves tours from Sydney, one of the main questions to ask is: ‘Do we want to be in a small group or on a large coach tour?’ Both are available.
All tours will stop at lookouts for stunning views over the Blue Mountains, and most also stop at Scenic World which has some amazing cable car and funicular rides. (We love Scenic World EXCEPT when it is really busy, then the queues can be just too long.) Other stops might include: Featherdale Wildlife Park, Govetts Leap at Blackheath, beautiful Blue Lake, the Three Sisters Lookout at Katoomba.
- Things to check out when planning a Jenolan Caves tour.
- What time does the tour leave?
- Is there a pickup from my hotel?
- What other sights can we see on the tour?
- How long will we spend at Jenolan Caves altogether?
- Can we easily pick up food when we are on the tour?
- Can the tour cater to young children? Are there age limits?
- If we are a large group, would we be better with a private tour?
Check out Jenolan caves tours on get your Guide here.
Jenolan Caves Self-Drive
NB This section of the article is about driving yourself to Jenolan Caves from Sydney. If you are a visitor to Sydney, it is much better to be looked after on a day tour from Sydney.
Now, for those Sydneysiders planning a day trip, weekend away or a long stay at Jenolan Caves, the first thing you need to do is to make sure the caves are open. Bad weather can cause closure of the caves, or of the roads. So always check out the official website for Jenolan Caves here when you start planning your visit.
Jenolan Caves Facts
Did you know that Jenolan Caves are considered one of the most spectacular limestone cave systems in the world? Some interesting facts:
- The caves are 340 million years old!
- More than 400 caves have been discovered at Jenolan since 1930.
Getting To Jenolan Caves
Address: Jenolan Caves Road, Jenolan Caves, NSW Australia
Phone number: 02 6359 3911
If you are not good at directions, I strongly recommend that you check the section “Getting Here” section of the Jenolan Caves official website.
There are recommendations not only regarding the directions, but also “where to get petrol”, “where to park” and “times of the day that you might need to take an alternate route”.
The road is very narrow, so it is not suitable for caravans.
Finally, the “Getting Here” section allows you to click a button that takes you to a page with information of the road conditions. It is always worth to check it, as you can find some “surprises” like road works or snow in winter!
Jenolan Caves Map
What To See At Jenolan Caves
Ten spectacular show caves are open to the public. We chose the Imperial Tour, as it was the one recommended for young children. It is the easiest, it doesn’t have too many steps and it lasts around one hour.
Our tour guide was amazing, good sense of humour, good communicator and patient with children.
The cave formations are amazing. The spectacular lighting enhances the shapes and the colours of the limestone.
Some of the features are ‘Ridleys Shortcut’, the ‘Alabaster Column’, and the ‘Crystal Cities’.
However, my favourite spot was the underground river and the rock formation that looked liked a bacon rasher.
If you have the chance to read the description of each tour, you will notice that each cave is different. For example, the Lucas Cave has the Cathedral Chamber, one of the highest and widest at Jenolan.
The Orient cave has the most bright colourful rock formations. And, the River Cave requires a good level of fitness (it is not recommended for children under six).
Jenolan Caves also offers night tours, ghost tours and adventure caving. During school holidays, they offer special tours in the caves just for children.
Finally, there are two self-guided tours in several languages, the Nettle Cave and Devil’s Coach House Cave. Both caves are open caverns, not enclosed.
Where To Stay At Jenolan Caves
The Caves House at Jenolan Caves itself has a great variety of accommodation, from luxurious to backpacker.
Read more about Jenolan Caves House and check availability and pricing here.
A reader, Kirsten, recommends Glenroy Cottages and Camping at Hartley, beside the lovely Coxs River
Jenolan Caves – Planning With Kids
Tickets – Very important to book these in advance from the website here.
Children’s ages: If you have very young children, you might consider going there when they are at school age. My children were five, three and one. But they are used to walking and hiking. To clarify: we are not experienced hikers. We chose the easiest cave and we carried our little one most of the time .Jenolan Caves does not recommend backpack child carriers. There are sections that you have to duck down low.
What to wear: Inside the caves, there are some stairs and it can be slippery. Remember to wear comfy shoes with some grip. They don’t have to be hiking boots; a pair of sneakers is perfectly fine.
It was not cold inside the caves. According to the official website, it is always 15 degrees. Finally, I would recommend you check the forecast before you go, as it can be cooler than in Sydney.
Toilets/Baby change: There are no baby change facilities in the toilets of the Jenolan Caves precinct.
If you have little ones, be aware that there are not actually toilets inside the caves. The closest toilets to the entrance of the caves are the ones that are located next to the Ticket Office Building. Allow 15-20 minutes to go at least, before the tour starts.
Cafe + Food: Caves Cafe is usually open daily from 8am until mid afternoon. They sell drinks, snacks, wraps, light meals, sandwiches, etc.
Also, Chisolm’s Restaurant is open for breakfast and dinner. Bookings are essential for dinner. We did not eat in there, but apparently Chisolm’s Grand Dining Room at the Historic Caves House is like travelling back into the past.
If you prefer to bring your own food, there are also several picnic areas. In the ‘Cambridge’ and ‘Carlotta’ car parks, there are free gas barbeques.
Walks at Jenolan Caves: There are several walks that you can do to extent your day trip or your stay. We did the Blue Lake loop, which is very easy. It was perfect to kill time before the start of the tour of the Imperial Cave.
The blue lake was so blue that it even did not look real. So blue! that it could be part of a fairy garden or part of a Van Gogh painting.
We also did a section of the “Carlotta Arch Walk”, when we came down from the car park. This one has some stairs, so you might end up with muscle ache if you are not fit. The Carlotta Arch is stunning. It is so big, so imposing!
Other bush tracks are the “Jenolan River Walk”, the “McKeown’s Valley Track”, the “Devil Coach House Lookdown” and the “Six Foot Track”.
You might be visiting the caves whilst staying with kids in the Blue Mountains, read our articles with all the fun things to do with kids in the Blue Mountains here.
Spending a Few Days at Jenolan Caves
If you go to Jenolan to spend the weekend, there is a lot to discover nearby. Jenolan Caves, in partnership with tourism attractions of the area, have developed a couple of self-drive tours, indeed. On this link you will find the information and maps to download about:
“The Mountain Village Drive” (two days)
“The Silurian Way” (four days)
Besides the itineraries, there is a mobile application that you can download from the official web page of the Jenolan Caves.
NB: There is no wifi in Jenolan Caves. Therefore, I strongly recommend that you plan your trip in advance!!!
Jenolan Caves – In Conclusion
This is one of the trips that your children will remember forever. My husband went there when he was ten years old, and he stills has clear memories of the caves. Definitively, the long drive is worth it, if you decide to go there for the day.
Thank you so much Mireia, it’s a pleasure to read about your visit!
Check out tours on offer by clicking the image below.
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