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Posted at: Oct 20, 2019, 12:36 AM; last updated: Oct 20, 2019, 12:36 AM (IST)

The hidden gem of New South Wales

At Australia’s Yarrangobilly Caves, one gets a chance to explore coral caves and formations which date back to two million years
The hidden gem of New South Wales
Photo by the writer

Khursheed Dinshaw

The Yarrangobilly Caves in the Riverina Murray region of New South Wales are part of the Kosciuszko National Park. The caves are a 5 ½  hour scenic drive from Sydney. These comprise four prominent caves — Jillabenan, South Glory, North Glory and Jersey. Each of these caves has its own unique appeal. 

Jillabenan Cave

Even though this is a small cave, it is the most popular and also the easiest to explore. It dates back to two million years and is one of the only four caves, which are wheelchair accessible in Australia. The entire length of its walls and ceiling has straws, cave coral and stalactites. The floor is interspersed with stalagmites. 

Guided tours of this cave are an hour long and the discovery guide in an interactive way explains how Jillabenan was formed.

As visitors walk along the 73m long path, they get to see cave coral that resembles a popcorn in appearance, stalactites that have broken from the ceiling and fallen on the ground, a variety of crystal and lakes.    

South Glory Cave

This is one of the first self-guided caves of Australia and features chambers, rock piles and cave coral. About 45 minutes are required to navigate through the wonders of this cave.  South Glory is a big hit with families as they can navigate the cave at their own pace and kids love exploring the natural wonders along its 185 m pathway. In summer, the cave is home to nests of swallows that lay their eggs and fly out before winter only to return the next summer.

North Glory Cave

Apart from its guided tours, North Glory Cave is a favourite wedding venue that gets a vibrant festive make over when it is decorated with buntings. Numerous wedding albums have memorable photos of the bride emerging from this cave and smiling at wedding guests before taking her place at the altar. Bigger than Jillabenan, North Glory has stalactite formations. 

Jersey Cave

This cave has rare black and grey flowstones along with cave decorations. The one-and-half-hour-long tour covers almost 217 stairs but visitors hardly realise it since they are so enthralled by the cave decorations. 

At Yarrangobilly Caves, each season holds something different for the visitors. In summer, sunrises and sunsets are beautiful while in spring, white and purple flowers bloom near the caves. Kangaroos jumping around with joeys in their pouches are a common sight. In winter, it is time for the area to be covered with a white blanket of snow. Skiing and snow-boarding in the vicinity of the caves attract adrenaline and adventure lovers.

Throughout the year, the thermal pool at Yarrangobilly creates a splash as water at 27º C rises from the earth and fills the pool with warm water. Since it is located at the foothills of Snowy Mountains, swimming in this water is special as the temperature outside is cold but you are warm inside the pool. This geo thermal pool is also a popular picnic spot.

Apart from exploring the four caves, there are other activities which can be done at Yarrangobilly. These include bush walks, walking along the Yarrangobilly River, taking a geology tour or going for nature walks to learn about the flora and fauna of the region. Visitors are often greeted by kangaroos hopping along the side of the road leading to the caves. Wombats are the other resident species at Yarrangobilly Caves. 

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