In the summer heat, sometimes it’s better to go undercover. Unleash your inner Bat Man at some of the best of Sydney’s caves. The perfect place to (over)hang out!
Photography by Kate Miles
Best for… Escaping the Crowds
It’s a good sign when a cave doesn’t even have a name. The sandstone caves in the Royal National Park, which you get to by detouring off Lady Carrington Drive, are ignored by the majority of visitors – because they don’t know about them. There is a sign showing the track – about 1km down Lady Carrington drive if you start at the southern end. But, it’s easy to miss unless you know to look for it. At the end of an overgrown trail – which takes less than 20 minutes to hike – it opens up into a cave system, along with waterfall. Shhh, don’t tell everyone!
Best for… Going Deep
The most touristy caves on our lists, Jenolan Caves in the Blue Mountains are still worth putting on your bucket list. For a tour with a twist, sign up to their ‘Off the Track’ night tour – held between 8 and 10pm – where you’re taken around old caves that are no longer on the standard day tour (and get to wear a very macho helmet). Or tackler the Plughole Adventure Tour, a two-hour underground adventure that starts with a nine-metre abseil into a sinkhole and finishes with a scramble out of the ‘S-bend’. Another worthwhile trip is Wombeyan caves which has it’s own camp ground.
Best for… Biking to
I haven’t yet visited the Psyn Caves near Katoomba but, after reading other people’s reviews, I plan to get there, pronto. With different caves – some close to the road and some down trails – you can choose to drive, hike or mountain bike. This means it’s also a prime cave to camp because you have the option of driving your great in. If you’re an abseiler, tackle the infamous Malaita Wall whilst you’re in the area. – a 45-metre descent down a sandstone cliff into the Jamison Valley. For expert guidance, Eagle Rock Adventurers takes groups to this location.
Best for… Public Transport
We’ve found the location for your next birthday gathering! Pindar Caves, a huge sandstone overhang which is large enough to host 50 people, is best reached by catching the train to Wombayne. From there’s it’s a 14km return hike which climbs onto the plateau and continues along the ridgeline to Mount Pindar. There’s a swimming hole near to the caves, as long as it’s rained recently, and beneath the overhang is a wide, open space perfect for pitching so you can turn it into a multi-day adventure.
Best for… City Dwellers
The cave version of the tiny house trend, Little Cave in Nielsen Park is as the name suggestions… little. But, what it lacks it size it makes up for in location. Overlooking the harbour on the edge of Vaucluse, it’s proximity to the city means you don’t have to save this cave for special occasions – escape there after work, alone or with a friend you don’t’ mind getting cosy with. Because you have to climb over a rock face to get to it, it’s also just tricky enough to deter too many people.