Visit the Jenolan Caves from Katoomba

What’s so special about the Jenolan Caves?

These UNESCO World Heritage listed limestone caves form the oldest known open cave system in the world, estimated to be 340 million years old.

A trip to Jenolan Caves offers a mystical, all-encompassing experience, where you will see stalagmites, stalactites, underground rivers and crystals.

The area holds cultural and spiritual significance to the Gundungurra and Wiradjuri peoples, who used to bathe their sick in the subterranean waters within the cave system, which they believed to have healing powers.

There are four caves you can currently tour, and each tour takes an hour so it’s worth planning your day in advance, including breaks! Most of the cave tours involve walking uphill whilst holding onto railings, so wear comfortable shoes and clothing.

Which caves can I see at the moment?

The Temple of Baal Cave features two huge chambers with speleothems growing in various directions. It also houses one of the larger and more impressive rock formations, Angel's Wing shawl, which is the largest shawl at the Jenolan Caves.

The Orient Cave is a really beautiful cave filled with striking reddish rock formations of helictites, which are considered to be some of the grandest formations in the cave system.

Chifley Cave is filled with differently sized chambers, which feature high ceilings, intricate rock formations and plenty of spar crystal, all lit up with coloured lights. It’s actually said to have been the first cave in the world to have been lit with electric light in 1880, by Jeremiah Wilson, the ‘Keeper of the Caves’.

Imperial Cave is an intriguing cave with an area called ‘The Diamond Branch’ which features pink and white crystal formations and the stunning Gem of the West. This is a very large and unique crystal formation, and a must-see.

Do I need to book a Jenolan Caves Tour?

Yes, tours cost around $55 each per person and can be booked on the Jenolan Caves website

How does the Jenolan Caves Blue Lake get it’s colour?

Leave some time before or after you explore the caves to take a look at the Blue Lake. It is such a bright, vivid blue it has to be seen to be believed.

The Blue Lake is actually a dam and it was built in the early 1900s, as part of Jenolan’s hydroelectricity system. The water gets it’s colour from the limestone caves it flows through. Strolling around the Jenolan River walking track is a great way to take in the scenery. The 2.6km loop will take you around the lake, then downstream alongside the Jenolan River to a small waterfall and swimming hole where you can take a dip if you like.

Where to eat nearby?

Dining at Chisolm’s Restaurant at Cave’s House Hotel is part of the Jenolan Caves experience. The venue is heritage-listed in its own right, as it was designed in 1897 as a retreat for the wealthy landowners of NSW. The enormous grand dining room, which is now Chisholm's Restaurant, is one of Australia's two remaining 'grand dining rooms' from that opulent era. The restaurant serves breakfast, delicious 2 or 3 course lunches and dinners where you can enjoy a hearty roast dinner, crispy skin salmon, and more, as well as high tea including dainty sandwiches, scones and champagne.

The venue is named after Miss Chisolm who worked in Caves House Hotel until 1958 and who is now rumoured to be one of Jenolan's ghosts. 

You can also have lunch at the more casual Caves Café, which serves sandwiches, salads, burgers and hot chips.

At the end of a long day of exploring you can relax at Jeremiah’s bar, named after Jeremiah Wilson, the ‘Keeper of the Caves’, with a cosy wine or whisky.

How do I get to the Jenolan Caves from Katoomba?

Getting to the Jenolan Caves from Careel Cottages takes around 1 hr 30 min by car, and parking at the upper carpark is free.

It’s a beautiful and winding drive from Katoomba to the Jenolan Caves. Scenic and lofty, you’ll drive around mountain tops and overlook valleys. Drive slowly to avoid the wildlife, and if you’re lucky you’ll likely spot a kangaroo or two.

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What other interesting day trips can I take in the Blue Mountains?

You can also check out the Glow Worm Tunnel Walking Track, Megalong Valley and Mayfield Garden to name a few. There are also some beautiful hikes and vistas to see, as listed in our Best Blue Mountains Walks guide. 


Blue Mountains FAQs

For more useful information that will help you plan your stay, we invite you to take a look at our Visiting the Blue Mountains FAQ guide, which will help you plan when to come, what to wear, where to stay and more.