Jenolan Caves

Behind the Scenes - Caring for the Caves

September 29, 2021

water cleaning at Jenolan Caves

Jenolan is nature's masterpiece. By the time that people found the caves, thousands of years ago, they were perfect, spectacular and magical.  So you would think that maintenance would be unnecessary, because nature simply looks after them with no help from us.  But making caves safe for people of all ages to explore and appreciate, takes a surprising amount of work, especially in a huge cave system like Jenolan.

Temple of Baal Cave at JenolanWe are now working hard to get ready for cave tours again.  The Orient Cave, the Temple of Baal Cave, the Chifley Cave and the Imperial Cave, including the Diamond Branch are getting some love. You might be interested to hear about the sorts of things we do behind the scenes to make these caves clean and safe. 

We water-wash the paths, handrails and crystal formations inside each cave.  It may seem strange to do this, but every time a tour group walks through, they leave some of their hair and skin cells behind. (The human body sheds 50 to 100 hairs (from their head) per day [1] and from 30,000 to 40,000 skin cells per HOUR. [2]) Their clothing sheds lint and dust and dirt falls from their shoes. You would have to see to believe how much accumulates. The finer pollutants don’t just land on the paths – draughts carry them high up, to thickly cover formations. 

Absolutely anything that humans bring into our caves is foreign to the delicate cave environment and has to be removed. Unlike many cave systems in Australia, Jenolan is very fortunate to have a water supply from deep underground. Although we chlorinate the drinking water, we wash the caves with water that is completely free from chemicals.

Carlotta Arch at Jenolan CavesAnother big job is to make sure that lights are working.  When you join a cave tour at Jenolan, you will notice subtle path lighting, for safety, and back-lighting for all the loveliest and most spectacular formations.  To achieve this haunting atmosphere, literally hundreds of lights have been carefully deployed. Each cave uses roughly 400 lights, which means that for all our illuminated caves, it's no exaggeration to say we maintain around 4000 lights.  They are all eco-friendly LEDs, which use little energy and produce very little heat – perfect for such a sensitive environment.  They last a long time, but light replacement is an ongoing cycle. 

Each cave also has emergency phones, which need to be checked and changed frequently, as they deteriorate quickly in the damp environment.

Above ground, we have been tidying the precinct, blowing away leaves and dirt from the road, gutters and picnic tables.  We have even hosed out the Grand Arch. On our walking tracks, we have whipper-snipped, picked up fallen branches and cleaned handrails. When we reopen, you will be able to stroll along the McKeown’s Valley Track, keeping an eye out for lyrebirds and brush-tailed rock wallabies.  After parking your car, you can walk down to the caves and hotel via the Carlotta Arch Track, and explore the spectacular Carlotta Arch on your way. Or you can ride down on one of our complimentary minibuses, which we also keep clean.

While all the above has been going on, our hospitality staff have been readying our historic Caves House hotel, the Caves Café, Jeremiah’s Bar and Chisolm’s restaurant,to receive guests, and we will reveal those preparations next week!


1.How Much Hair Loss Is Normal: Everyone Sheds (healthline.com)

2.How many skin cells do you shed every day? | HowStuffWorks

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4655 Jenolan Caves Road, Jenolan Caves, Blue Mountains NSW. Ph: 1300 76 33 11 or +61 2 6359 3911

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