For my birthday this year, my partner and I took a trip out to the Blue Mountains, with a little side trip down to Jenolan Caves. I had purchased a Groupon on a whim a few months prior that entitled us to a one night stay at Jenolan Caves House, a cave tour and buffet breakfasts. It was a bargain but I’ll be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to the cave tour. I had been to Jenolan Caves before, when I was a teenager and I was of the opinion that stalactites and stalagmites don’t warrant a second visit.
Fortunately for the adrenaline junkie in me, we had signed up for a caving adventure tour, The Plughole Adventure Tour to be exact. Surprise! Lucky I went into the office prior to the tour to find out if I could take my camera with me because I also found out that I was wearing the wrong footwear. My knee high leather boots were no good here, as the very helpful administrator pointed out…
“Nope, don’t wear those, they’ll get trashed. My wife has those, I know how much they cost.”
“But this is all I have with me!”
“You can do a regular tour if you like.”
“What? No! Please no.”
“Or you can see if they have any shoes you can borrow. I know they have a few pairs down there, lots of people come unprepared.”
Success was mine in the shoe lottery. I managed to borrow a very nice pair of hiking boots that were more than adequate for a couple of hours kicking around in an old cave. Now it was time to ditch our coats, head up the hill to the cave entrance and get suited up.
I know! Sexy, right. Obviously the jumpsuit was to protect our clothes from when we were crawling around in the dirt but we also had to abseil down to the cave entrance and we needed to wear a strap around our waists in case we lost our footing and someone had to grab us quickly.
The abseil was short and sweet and once we were in the cave we were told to turn our lights on. There was nothing terribly strenuous about the tour, it was all downhill, but it did present a few little challenges along the way. Now, when I say little, I’m referring exclusively to the holes in the wall that we were expected to get through. When we stopped at the first set of holes in the wall, our lovely tour guide, Geoff pointed out that we would be going through one of them and I thought he was kidding. I was waiting for him to start laughing and show us another cheeky way around the corner. Instead, Geoff started going through this tiny little hole in the wall and I gasped. Yep, pretty sure there was an audible gasp as Geoff wriggled though a teeny tiny hole in the wall.
I stood back and watched a couple of other people tackle it before I took my turn. Let me tell you, it wasn’t easy and my elation at making it through is clearly evident in the photographs snapped by Ian, cave photographer extraordinaire.
From there we went on to a few more precarious descents before negotiating another particularly heinous obstacle known as the s-bend, sorry no photographic evidence of that one. We also spent a few minutes with our lights off, in complete blackness and listened to stories of the pioneers coming into these caves with only candles to light their way.
It was a fantastic tour, I had been meaning to write about it for a while, I spent the following few weeks raving about it to family, friends and basically anyone who’d listen.
Between the tour and the lovely, relaxing stay at Jenolan Caves House, I just had no choice but to feel energised and rejuvenated. A little shot of adrenaline goes a long way.
Big thank you to the daily post for prompting me to start blogging again.