Jenolan Caves

Stones & Bones Treasure Hunt

September 18, 2015

Bones & Stones is a greats children's activity in the NSW school holidays.

During the NSW school holidays, Jenolan Cave’s popular kids-only tour, Bones & Stones is running every day at 2pm.  We have interviewed one of our long term cave guides, to get the answers to frequently asked questions.

Inside the caves, using an easy treasure map, children, age 7 to 11, explore places with mysterious names, such as the Forbidden Junction, Abandoned Stairs and more.  On this one and a half hour adventure, they will even enter some areas that are no longer on the tourist trail.  

Wearing a genuine caving helmet with its own light, and accompanied by a highly trained cave guide, children handle cave rocks, crystal and bones. They see fossils close up and learn about caves, in a lighthearted way that they can understand.  

Restricted to small groups, this specially developed tour uses fun to teach kids about how caves form and the creatures and plants that lived in them many years ago.

We have interviewed Dr Anne Musser.  Although only one of many Jenolan Caves tour guides who run the Bones & Stones tour, Anne was happy to answer the following questions:

What is the best thing about the Bones and Stones tour?

Anne said, “Kids get to see bones and crystal in the caves, and it’s always great to see the surprise on their faces.  They haven’t thought about bones being in caves.  They haven’t thought about the fact that places like caves have a history.  They go in with hard hats and you can tell that they know they look really cool. It’s a treasure hunt, and you have to get excited about that.”

Do the younger kids get as much out of the experience as the older ones?

Anne said, “By the age of 7 they can absorb more info.  They are able to read the treasure map.  They get a thrill out of finding the ‘treasure’ chest full of wonderful things (bones and rocks).  Ages 7 to 11 work well together and the info is geared to those ages. It's a really good age mix."

What about kids that go on the tour without a friend or sibling?

Anne said, “Sometimes, the kids on the tour are in that situation.  As a leader you try to make sure that all the kids have a good time and feel included.  The kids are encouraged to work together, like a children’s team work exercise.  It’s totally not competitive.  It’s a small group, so you can watch each child carefully, and you see those eyes light up.”

What sort of questions do the kids ask?

Anne said, “Kids ask really intelligent questions.  At that age they are pretty logical, and this sort of tour helps to develop their logic.”

What’s your fondest memory of these tours?

Anne said, “As they bring their kids over to do this tour, it’s amazing the number of nature-loving parents that have said things like, ‘We named her Crystal, because I thought she would love rocks, and look, she does!’  It’s amazing – like a self-fulfilling prophesy!”

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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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