Jenolan Caves

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Caves House

Our accommodation for two nights.

Well the day has arrived and we’re here! We started the day with a walk around the Blue Lake which was formed when they dammed the Jenolan River with a weir to develop Australia’s very first hydroelectric station. This short, pretty walk starts at the Great Arch and takes you along the river to the Blue Lake, the water of which appears to be blue due to the refraction of light on the limestone deposits and bedrock of the lake, past the weir, a waterfall and back over a suspension bridge. It’s well-shaded and cool, regardless of the weather.

There are numerous tours through different parts of the Caves. We chose two – the Orient Cave and the River Cave. I won’t write much about them except to say that I was completely in awe, amazed, impressed and so very pleased we’d finally visited one of Australia’s must-see places. Please take a few minutes to look at the photos from these tours, and if you haven’t already been yourself, put it on your bucket list. View Orient Caves photos. View River Cave photos.

And so the evening of the The Opera arrived. It didn’t disappoint. The walk through the Caves to cave in which it was held was a treat in itself, followed by the closeness of our seating to the singers and the wonderful acoustics. Once more they sang popular songs from various operas which we thoroughly enjoyed. Unfortunately we were asked not to take any photos during the performance. To see the photos from the Opera click HERE.
Thanks Nick and Kim – it was a pretty cool gift.

Can you see Steve?

Can you see Steve?

Bulahdelah to Jenolan Caves

Early start this morning. Headed south on the highway looking for a nice spot to stop for breakfast. Port Stephens seemed promising and a place we wanted to see anyway, so the little township of Karuah in the bay provided us with the perfect location. Karuah is noted to be a quiet place to get away from it all, with fishing and oyster farming being the major industries. We cooked our bacon and eggs on the barbeque at the foreshore watching the pelicans following the oyster farmers in to their sheds with great anticipation, and a retired couple catching bream from the jetty.

The harbour.

The harbour.

I felt we should support the local industry so a dozen of the most delicious, plump oysters found their way into our fridge – pity Steve doesn’t eat oysters (wink!). Karuah is a delightful little place.
Click here to see some more photos of Karuah.

You may recall that our tickets to the Opera in the Caves were a gift from Nick and Kim who read in an earlier ‘chronicle’ how much we had previously enjoyed the opera in the caves. Well … Nick and Kim take note of what I’m going to write about now just in case you’re looking for your next gift for us – we’d be happy to combine Mothers Day and Fathers Day gifts for this one (maybe even birthdays and Christmas too)!

Seeing as how we had to skirt around Sydney to get to the Blue Mountains we decided to pop into Trakka to take a look at their motorhomes. We’re keen to purchase a motorhome to continue our cruisin’ in and have narrowed it down to either the Trakka or the Horizon. Martin Poate the General Manager at Trakka showed us the Jabiru 4×4 – I’m definitely in love! Anyway no decisions yet until we see the Horizon. (Stay tuned Nick and Kim!)

So, onward and upward, and upward, and upward as we climbed the Blue Mountains. Our plan is to return to Katoomba to camp this weekend and do some of the Blue Mountains walks – but the weather isn’t looking promising. I was surprised how brown everywhere was – they sure need rain up here. When you reach Katoomba you feel like you should be at the Caves, but it’s still another hour’s drive, and the road is very windy, tight hairpin bends and narrow in places. They close the road for a couple of hours from around 11am for the coaches exclusive use. Good idea – I wouldn’t like to meet one of those big buses on that road.

Caves House, our accommodation for the next two nights is delightful. Oldy worldy – but more about that tomorrow. It was a long day today and we were both grateful to arrive and get settled into our room before adjourning to the lounge bar for a gin and tonic.

Woody Heads to Bulahdelah

Good, long day driving today. We don’t usually drive more than about 150K a day, so its been rather a shock to us these last two days. We’re sticking to the Pacific Highway due to expedience. Major roadworks happening in some areas, but no big hold-ups for us. Some parts of the highway are fantastic, other parts reminded us of the D’Aguilar (ie left a lot to be desired!).

We were trying to get to a campsite on the shores of the Myall Lakes, but we needed to catch the ferry and according to our TomTom directions we were going to miss it by a few minutes. Never mind – a free camp at Bulahdelah was recommended on Wikicamps which didn’t take us far off the highway and there was no rush to get there. As it turned out it was a lovely spot, right beside the Myall River. There were already a few motorhomes and caravans set up, but plenty of room for all. We selected our spot near the bridge (recommend a bit further away next time – from the noise of the occasional vehicle and the lights on the bridge), set up and went for a walk into the little village.

Free camp at Buladelah.

Free camp at Bulahdelah.

The highway bypassed Bulahdelah about 6 months ago, and from all the signs in the shops (eg We’ll keep trading after the bypass. Please come back and support us.) it appears it was a major concern for the community. Anyway, it is a lovely little town, and we wouldn’t have stopped here if the highway traffic had been going over that bridge just above our heads all night … so they lost some customers, but gained others.

Click here to see a few pictures of our Bulahdelah stay.

Off to the Opera

And so another adventure begins.

At Christmas Nick and Kim gave us tickets to the Underground Opera Company’s Opera in the Caves for the Jenolan Caves. I think they must have been reading Cruisin Chronicles from when we were at the Capricorn Caves. Anyway we are delighted about the gift, because firstly we loved the Opera in the Capricorn Caves and we really want to see the Jenolan Caves. I’ve never been there and Steve was just a little boy when he last came.
We’re planning to take about 10 – 12 days to do the trip, bringing our kayak and walking shoes with us, and staying in Arty (our roof top tent).

So, Day 1: A late departure from Brisbane as I had a Lactation Consultant’s luncheon to attend. We got away about 2pm and headed south on the Pacific Highway. Nothing much really to report on the way down. We got into the National Parks campgrounds at Woody Head a hour or so before dark, were set up in a few minutes and went for a walk around the headland. Lovely spot – small beach but beautiful views around the bay and up to Evans Head. After dinner we went for another walk on the headland – magnificent evening, 2/3 moon, lots of stars and the ocean sparkling.

The camping area was very large, lots of caravans – now the school holidays are over looks like the retirees have taken over. Facilities, etc were all very good and well-maintained, $27 for the night, plus 20c for a 2 minute shower, and “Don’t” notices everywhere – too caravan-parkish for us!

Woody Heads

Woody Heads