Stalagmites. Stalactites. Having gone through so many caves in recent past, you would have thought I’m done with them. But this is the WORLD’s OLDEST DISCOVERED OPEN CAVES and we simply cannot miss this. Besides, Nature plays out differently in every setting, perhaps depending on its “moods”. Counting 370 million years, these creations even pre-date the dinosaurs! For sure, they were certainly in no rush….. no, they took their own sweet time to make certain Nature did not “repeat” itself in design.
It was a long 175 kilometer drive from Sydney on a lone, winding road deep within the Blue Mountains. All of 3 hours. No public transportation is available but one can join coach tours from the city or Katoomba. Driving dead straight, we reached our destination….. curious what Nature has in store for us. There was a sizable crowd when we reached the place, more by the time we were ready to leave. We’re only too glad we came early.
It was a no-brainer deciding which of the oldest show caves we’d “explore”. That with the least difficulty but still packed with adventure — nothing extreme — was what we were prepared to do on this gloomy day. Other adventure seekers may choose the more challenging self-guided tours. Or the night and ghost tours. Methinks I’d be feeling more secure with a guide leading us in, and then leading us OUT of the cave complex.
Yet the Imperial Cave didn’t disappoint. The guide kept reminding us NOT to get too excited, citing how the place looks pretty much the same judging from photographs taken 80 years ago. 🙂 This cave has the least number of stairs and steps, so we thought the next hour and a half should be easy to navigate.
“Jenolan” is rooted from the local tribe Gundungurra’s word, “Genowlan”, which means a “high place shaped like a foot”. Story goes that men from the tribe used to carry people into the cave complex to be bathed in the pools which are believed to have healing powers. We can only imagine how the local tribes must have found the place sacred, in much the same way we found the natural formations magical.
For sure, Nature got busy here. The many caverns and tunnels attest to that. I wouldn’t be surprised if the present “cavekeepers” discover more caves in this limestone rock complex. Nor that many fossil discoveries of extinct animals are found here.
Claustrophobics we are not, but the idea of breathing the same area with a dozen others so many meters underground can be a bit unsettling. It should be interesting to also visit other caves which can take in more visitors in one group. And that “underground concert cave” with natural acoustics! The latter must have claimed quite a sizable space underground looking more like an atrium.
Thank you, Rahns and Shelly, for bringing Mamu here 🙂 Hope you enjoyed the adventure as much as I did. And that’s coming from someone who didn’t really dig caves before. I do now. Got to give a lot of respect for Mother Nature. After all, where the HELL did they say they found those Tasmanian Devils here again? 😉