12:27pm Monday, 21 January BlueMountainsAustralia.com
Blue Mountains News
Jenolan Caves Easiest Tour: Imperial Cave
In 1879, not long after Queen Victoria had adopted the title of 'Empress of India', Jeremiah Wilson, Jenolan’s first cave guide, discovered a wondrous cave at Jenolan, one thought fit for an Empress - the Imperial Cave.
For the first tour of the Imperial Cave, the participants climbed over an Elderberry tree branch spanning a large hole at the top of the mountain, shinnied down its trunk, slowly negotiated the Elder Cave, and eventually descended to the base of the Imperial Cave, all by candlelight!
Now, the Imperial Cave features safe paths and subtle lighting that shows off each crystal formation to best advantage.
Cave features include 'The Sinkhole', 'Ridleys Shortcut' (with a story on how it got its name), 'Lot's Wife', the 'Alabaster Column' and the dramatic 'Crystal Cities' which looks like an ancient fortress, and as its name suggests, the 'Shawl Cave' is filled with delightful cave shawls.
When the floor of the Imperial Cave was excavated in 1975, bones were discovered. The bones of a Tasmanian Devil (long extinct on the mainland) and a Wallaby are on display. As you walk through the cave, you can also see marine fossils embedded in the limestone roof and walls.
This 1-hour tour includes an visit to the northern 'Jenolan Underground River', via a 66 step spiral staircase. This part of the tour is optional for less mobile visitors.
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