While Sydney is amazing and I love it, it's nice to get out of the city on weekends. I mentioned that we had plans to go to the Jenolan Caves and a few weekends ago we finally managed to get ourselves over there.
To describe it in 3 words.
It was amazing.
I had been to caves before in the US...or so I thought I had. Unbeknownst to me, the lava tubes I've been to in Oregon and Hawaii are NOT the same as these caves. These caves were not created by lava but by limestone and water and a whole hell of a lot of time.
And they win hands down on the awesome meter.
But before I show you the pictures, let me tell you a little story about the trip up there (or over, down? I'm geographically challenged, to be honest I don't know what direction we drove...though I'm fairly confident it wasn't south, so not down).
So, there are about 10 different caves at the Jenolan Caves, ranging from easy to hard, as well as adventure spelunking tours and children's tours. After doing a bit of research we decided the River tour sounded the best and that we would strive to make it for the 2:15pm River tour and we would figure out the other caves we wanted to do once there, because honestly we had no idea how strenuous a "difficult" tour would be and thus we had no idea how many tours we would be up for.
Off we went, leaving gorgeous sunny Sydney behind heading for our favorite little Blue Mountains town of Katoomba (caves are close to Blue Mountains so we decided to kill 2 birds with one stone because we wanted to stay in the Blue Mountains overnight at least once while in Oz) You may remember the last time we were in the Blue Mountains it rained on us and we rushed through all the sites. Since the weather was getting nicer here in Sydney we assumed the same would be true for the Blue Mountains.
We were wrong.
Unfortunately we didn't know we were wrong until the last 20km of the drive or so. The whole drive the weather was fantastic, beautiful bright sunny skies and then suddenly we round a hill into the mountains and we're stuck in a drizzly foggy mess of disgusting weather.
Because of the nice weather on the way up we had altered our plan of 2:15 River cave tour and had big plans to revisit all the sites from our last Blue Mountains trip and do the caves on Sunday. Thus we failed to stay on schedule and were a bit behind for 2:15 River cave tour. But the rain drove us onward and we hit Katoomba at 1:00 and it takes just over an hour to get to the caves from Katoomba.
Quick pause in my story.
Katoomba is my favorite Blue Mountains town because of Mr. Pickwicks. Mr. Pickwicks is an awesome antique book store that I could literally spend hours upon hours in just looking at all the old books. We discovered it on our last trip to the Blue Mountains and were specifically staying in Katoomba just so we could go there again. Last year on our Honeymoon I discovered a book on the Left Bank from 1709, it's in French so I have no idea what it's about, but my old book collection began in that moment and I have strived to find books from the 1700-1800's from all the countries I visit. So far I have French, German, English and Australian books. I have big plans to have a whole bookshelf of old books one day to go in our fancy new library/study that is part of the San Fran remodel.
Also, how awesome are some of the Australian names for shit? They're from Aboriginal languages and seem to have to have an affinity for double letters. Here are a few of my favorites: Katoomba, Woolloomooloo, Bullaburra, Warimoo, Kurri Kurri, Turramurra.
Back to the drive. So, weather in Katoomba is crappy and even if we wanted to we wouldn't be able to see the sights through the fog, so we decide to book it to the caves and see if we could make the 2:15 River tour.
To say the trip was treacherous is an understatement. The last 30 km or so are a crazy winding skinny road in which one side is a cliff...literally on the precipice of a cliff. It's nervewracking under the best of circumstances, in the fog in a rush, SCARY SHIT!
Anyway, we made it.
Only to discover upon our arrival that FOR ABSOLUTELY NO REASON they were not doing the River tour that lovely Saturday afternoon.
So, after all of that we didn't even get to do the River tour...at least not on Saturday. Ultimately we did some other tour that I can't remember the name of and then managed to squeeze in the River tour on Sunday, because Katoomba was STILL raining and foggy come Sunday morning and we had no other option, it was either do the caves some more or go home. So we went to the caves again.
I'm ashamed to say I was in charge of the camera for all of 20 minutes, in which time I managed to somehow turn the AF (that's automatic focus) to MF (that's MANUAL focus) on the lens and took an embarrassing amount of pictures in the dark out of focus. Usually we alternate who's the photographer, but I got banned from the camera after my blurry picture debacle in the caves. Anyone reading this from my youth knows I was a bit of photographer back in the day, so I'm hanging my head in shame as I tell you this, and even worse as I display some of my crap photos.
Broken column, proof of the cave still moves and changes, this used to be a solid column.
Looks like curtains, no? Up close and personal it actually looks like fabric.
The old staircase that was used to get out of this cave back in the 1800's.
There's a Part 2 to my story. This was just the first cave that we went into.
To be continued...