Why Chris wanted us to go up to the Blue Mountains in the coldest season of the year was a bit of a mystery to me, and I was quite dismissive when he told me we should go to the Jenolan Caves for our mid-year winter break. Assuming that he was going to come to his senses in the next few weeks, I was pretty shocked when he sent me an email saying “Booked!”. Now, at the end of the trip, I can totally understand why a trip to the mountains was a good idea and hopefully by the end of this post, you will too.
As the nature of Chris’ work revolves around the working week, and mine is mostly on weekends, we found a small, three day window of opportunity to spend some well-deserved time together. The hour and a half trip from Hills District was filled with some beautiful scenery which makes you go WOW for about half an hour before getting bored because let’s be real, we’re in Australia and it takes about a few hours before you see something new on the roads.
To get to the Jenolan Caves, you drive for about an hour on the side of the mountains on the adequately named Jenolan Caves Rd. The views are STUNNING, as the elevation varies giving you different views of the valleys of the Blue Mountains. Photos do not do justice to the views you get but hopefully here are a few to get you inspired.
We were lucky enough to scoop a Groupon deal that gave us one night’s accommodation at the iconic Jenolan Caves House, breakfast at Chisholm’s restaurant and a cave tour. The Jenolan Caves House is not quite like your average hotel, it takes the beautiful charm of the Victorian era and transports you back into what feels like a different time. There are a few different room options to choose from the “Traditional” room, where Chris and I stayed, or the “Grand Classic” where I assume which includes a King Sized Bed and ensuite. Our room was very homey and had your standard double bed and a single bed, with a small radiator, and a set of table and chairs set by the window looking out to the greenery outside. I’ll let these pictures do the talking.
Photos are taken with the fish-eye lens as mentioned in my haul post.
The caves themselves are quite the experience. It’s one of the oldest conservation projects in the WORLD and there are many tours to choose from ranging from different durations and difficulties. Chris and I arrived at the caves at about 1 pm leaving us limited options to which tour we could do however, we decided to go on the Imperial Cave which is the easiest walk, suitable for ages. Our tour guide Lisa really knew what she was talking about and kept the walk humourous-but-also-educational.
But the thing about the Jenolan Caves is, it really is in the middle of no where. There is just one really long road that comes from the already quiet greater mountains region and so the options of food there aren’t great. There is no TV or wifi (what?!) which was initially a curse, later discovered to be a blessing in disguise. The fine dining restaurant Chisolm’s restaurant is not the best but it seems to be the only eating option within an eight kilometre radius. What can I say, there’s something nice about eating by a fake candle with 2 different kinds of forks and knives.
But lets talk about the most important part of the trip – the gift of having time dedicated to me. I’m sure I’m not the only one that thinks a world without reception and wifi is a little scary but I found that the experience was not only refreshing but gave me the most amazing sense of relief. For the past few months I had been on Facebook pretty much every day, just scrolling through useless stories and memes and not having the self control to sign out and do something productive. I had been tossing up between deactivating but couldn’t justify giving up my responsibilities as a program manager and society executive, which all used Facebook as their main point of contact.
But for someone who is spread pretty thin for a large part of my life, this trip was the best thing I could’ve done for myself
And THAT my friends, is why you go to the Jenolan Caves in the middle of winter.