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marie’s Travel Diary

Wednesday, 06 May 2009

Location: Katoomba in the Blue Mountains, Australia

Map6/5/09 - Wednesday

We caught the early train this morning and we arrived in Katoomba by lunch time. When we arrived we got straight into booking our trips to do for the next two days. Tomorrow we are going to the Jenolan Caves, and then on Friday we are going to take the hop-on hop-off "Explorer bus" around the Blue Mountains.

After doing this we settled into our accommodation; "No. 14". We would seriously recommend this to anyone whose thinking of going to the Blue Mountains one day.

7/5/09 - Thursday - Jenolan Caves

Our day started at 11:15 this morning, our journey to the cave would take about an hour and 40 minutes, which wasn't all that bad, in fact, the journey actually made up a decent part of the day.

It was a very scenic drive, the bus took us through parts of the Blue Mountains and through old style towns. The most scenic and interesting, well, I say interesting, part of the journey occurred in the last 8km. Now 8km is not a huge distance, maybe 5 miles or so, but when you couple it with travelling down an edge of a mountain along windey roads that are only just about wide enough to fit a bus, the 8km quickly become the longest 8km that you have ever travelled! Good times!

We arrived at the caves, in one piece, at lunch time and as our tour of the caves wasn't until 2pm we had time to have a walk round and, most importantly, have something to eat.

There are a number of different cave systems that make up the Jenolan Caves and Re and I were booked on the tour of the Lucas cave system. The tour would last an hour and a half and consist of climbing up and down a total of 910 steps, thankfully not all at once!

Our tour guide was very knowledgeable (as you would hope for I guess) and explained that the cave was recorded as being first discovered in 1938, by which time it was over 340 million years old! He also pointed out some stalactite (the ones that come from the top) and stalagmite (the one that come from the bottom) formations that resemble different things, such statues, there was a Statue of Liberty; people, there was a Bishop and Cinderella and her two ugly step sisters; and animals like Rhino's and Emu's. He also showed us the "Broken Column".

The "Broken Column" is the Lucas caves main attraction, so to speak. We did put a picture of it on our photo pages and although it may not look like much, to see it within its immediate surroundings is really impressive. It forms the central focus of a larger part of the cave where other stalactite/stalagmite formations have crystalised sparkling around it. The Broken Column itself a so named because it was once a complete column and then due to the ever shifting plate tectonics it fractured. The gap is still increasing today.

Another main feature of the Lucas Cave was an area called the Chapel. Concerts are held here on a regular basis because the acoustics are amazing. We were treated to a taste of the acoustics when our tour guide put some classical music on along with a light show, which was really good, very chilled out! The reason for its name being the Chapel is because weddings are also held there!

The whole day exploring the caves was really really good, I would recommend it to anyone, especially those who are trying to think of quirky places to get married!