After a wonderful concert of Gypsy-inspired music in the Cathedral Cave and a hiking workout through the Lucas, Orient and Temple of Baal caves that no step machine could ever match, we stopped to reflect on the advances of 21st century technology. Remote-controlled LED lighting and refurbished walkways are enhancing one of Australia’s oldest tourist experiences while diminishing the impact we humans have on this area.

Of course, we are talking about Jenolan Caves.

Head guide Dan Comyns smiled in that ‘I have heard this one before’ way when both of us said we had last visited when we were 15 years old and were a little vague on the experience.

Along with his skilled and experienced team Dan pointed out that Jenolan offers not only easily accessible walking tours but some exciting adventure activities as well. The very name of the Plug Hole tour should give you some idea.

The genuine warmth and hospitality offered by the guides carries over to the Agatha Christie-esque Caves House. Comfortable beds and compact but functional bathrooms are the order of the day. As it’s a guesthouse the rooms are thankfully free of phones and televisions – a contrast to the benefits of 21st century advances in the caves. Add the Chisholm Dining Room, one of the few grand hotel dining rooms left in the country, and you have the perfect place to rest before or after your cave and walking experience.

The Chisholm offers a limited but thoughtfully prepared menu along with a short wine list offering many regional labels, most served by the glass. The Printhe Riesling from Orange was a highlight here. A comfortable bar and lounge are adjacent to the dining room.

The value option is to go for the dinner, bed and buffet breakfast packages. Great deals are available on cave tour packages as well. There are many well-marked bush trails and walks to enjoy. Cave concerts are held on the third and fourth Saturdays of the month.

Even in late February the mornings were quite crisp, so a variety of clothing is recommended. Get there by car via Katoomba and the Great Western Highway or be adventurous and take in some of the other local destinations such as Oberon on the way.

Besides Caves House, functional motel-type accommodation, self-contained cottages and a backpacker-style hostel are offered.

* Paul Smith and Gary Stocks stayed as guests of host Dennis Winchester and the Jenolan Caves Reserve Trust.

Reservations: 1300 763 311. See

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