If you are looking for an gorgeous place to explore caves and camp under the stars all the while being surrounded by everything the Australian bush has to offer, then Wombeyan Karst Reserve is just for you!
I had been planning this camping trip for weeks, no probably months with my sister, but as the chosen weekend approached there was a glitch…. the Wombeyan Karst Reserve had been hit by a massive storm just days before and they had lost all power to the caves. Damn. and they weren’t sure if it was going to be fixed in time for our visit. Double Damn.
The night before we were to leave, it was descision time… do we find somewhere else to camp or do we continue with our plans regardless and head the three hours from Sydney to Wombeyan Caves? Needless to say we stuck with our plans to explore Wombeyan and I’m so glad that we did!
Travelling down the windy dirt road from Goulburn to be honest was not my idea of fun…. but my Sister navigated the road well and got us safely down into the camp area. After checking in to the office we found ourselves a spot that was just perfect for us. The wide, green and flat camp spot, close to the dry creek bed and near a huge hill for the kids to explore was topped of with a fire pit, ready for us to have our evening campfire and glass of wine!
We were so happy we had come to Wombeyan Karst Reserve because….. the power to the caves had just been put on that morning!!!! The kids, and us, were eager to explore a cave so we started off with the Fig Tree Cave, a self guided cave and a great introduction to our weekend cave explorations. It was an interesting, self paced cave with plenty of information along the way and light to highlight its features.
To be honest though I thought the best cave was the Wollondilly guided cave. With our amazing guide Gabby, we witnessed some stunning formations and learnt so much about cave geology. The cave begins with a steep ladder, descending into the cave before moving along some boardwalks. It was a bit challenging for some people, with over 500 steps and some low areas meaning we had to duck and watch our heads. It was all worth it to see amazing examples of stalagmites, stalactites, straws, columns and veils as well a chance to explore the place where the water ran through thousands of years ago forming formations which to me represented something like a Star Wars like landscape.
At Wombeyan there is other caves to explore such as the Junction and Kooringa Cave and another self guide cave called the tinted cave, but caves isn’t all the area has to offer. Marked bush walks take you to some stunning areas, my favourite being the Mares Forrest Canyon walk. This walk took us from the caves meeting point down to a Canyon with tall cliff faces surrounding a large body of water. Some parts were quiet shallow while other parts deep. We had been warned by some passerbys that it was cold but nothing could prepare us for how freezing it was! My feet become so numb! Some very brave people were game enough to dive in and swim the deep part towards a large rock, but we were happy to watch and cheer them on! Definitely worth the half hour walk in, if just for the beautiful landscape and rock formations.
We had an awesome time camping a Wombeyan Caves. They do have other accommodation options including cabins, dormatories and a chance to stay at the heritage Post Office Cottage but one thing all the accomadation’s have in common is that they are all surrounded by the beautiful Australia bush and mobs of Kangaroos. The local kangaroos surround the area, during the day they grazed around keeping a wary distance from us but of a night we could hear them bounding past our tent and checking out our campsite.
What: Wombeyan Karst Conservation Area ( Wombeyan Caves)
Where: There are two ways to get to Wombeyan Caves: from Sydney, via Goulburn and Taralga, or via Mittagong. We travelled to the caves from Goulburn because we had been warned (more then once!) that the Mittagong road is a narrow and windy and that without a 4 Wheel drive it would be difficult. The road from Goulburn that we took was windy and narrow enough for me!
How Much: Camping:
- Powered site: $35 per night for 2 people. $46 per family per night (2 adults and children up to age 16).
- Unpowered site: $15 per person per night. $39 per family per night (2 adults and children up to age 16).
- Cave tours vary in price and can be combined in packages to save money check online or call for more info!
Need to know: The campground has a camp kitchen and communal area with fireplace, fire pits are present around the campground but you have to bring your own firewood, the National park office is open from 9am to 4pm to book cave tours, give the Kangaroos some space especially the big bucks!, the walk up to the meeting area is quiet step, wear sturdy shoes into the caves and take a jumper because it can get a little cool, I’m thinking it gets a bit busy in holiday time and on weeknds… when we arrived Saturday arvo there was quiet a few campers but come Monday the place was empty!
Have you been camping at Wombeyan? or do you have another favourite Cave area?
Like what you see?