The Wellington Caves are approximately 8 km south of Wellington on the Mitchell Highway heading towards Molong. (The turn-off into Caves Road is at 'The Gateway to Wellington' where there is a visitor information bay and a contemporary Sculpture.)
The caves comprise at least five natural caves which have been expanded and much disturbed in historic times by phosphate mining and fossil collection.
These caves were the first known source of marsupial fossils in Australia and have proved to be one of the most prolific.
The explorer Hamilton Hume gave the first written description of the caves in 1828. He commented that "The inside of the cave is beautifully formed, some parts of it are supported by pillars 50 feet high and beautifully carved by nature".
After being vandalised, the caves became a reserve area in 1884, with James Sibbald appointed as the first caretaker. Cathedral Cave has been open to the public since 1870 and Gaden Cave was opened to the public in 1908.
It is said that by the year 1888 over 1500 people were visiting the caves each year. Since then visitors from all over Australia and overseas have marveled at nature's handiwork.
There are regular daily Guided tours of the two open show caves and the Phosphate Mine - with the exception of Christmas day. Additional tours are added for School Holiday periods.
Experienced guides take you through the caves and explain all the interesting phenomenon.
Cathedral Cave contains one of the largest stalagmites in the world - formed over millions of years. A limestone structure that rises from the floor 15 metres high and measures thirty two metres around its base.
Early photographs called it both - "The Altar" and "The Monolith"
In a large open room, the Cathedral, made of calcite crystal, is the centrepiece of the Caves.
Tourists enter the area in darkness, standing on a floor that is between 700,000 and 900,000 years old and are astounded as the lights gradually come on and highlight this magnificent stalagmite..
Gaden Cave, the smaller cave, was discovered in 1902 by James Sibbald (the first caretaker of the caves, since 1884).
This cave is noted for its cave 'coral' - clusters of unusual and beautiful calcite nodules growing like short stalks out of the cave walls.
Gaden Cave has been stunningly lit to show of these dazzling coral structures and formations of stalagmites and stalactites.
Water Cave - River Cave (LimeKiln (McCavity) Cave:
The Wellington Caves complex is only 4hrs west of Sydney on the Mitchell Highway. Caves road is a sealed road, only one kilometre off the Mitchell Highway..
In recent times members of the Sydney University Speleology Club discovered other caverns in the area. The most important discoveries have been the River Cave and Water Cave which contain valuable fossils (both are submerged).
Wellington Caves is now one of the most significant sites in NSW for the specialist sport of 'cave diving'. The waters are crystal clear and there are some beautiful formations that haven't been touched by man.
Divers exploring the caves have made important contributions to the knowledge about the caves and their aquatic inhabitants. The subterranean waters of the caves are the home of a highly significant invertebrate community, consisting of a large population of syncarid crustacean which are considered to be "living fossils".
These caves are open only to the most experienced cave diving enthusiasts.
The Wellington Caves Complex also includes -
Osawano Japanese Gardens - adjacent to the Wellington Caves complex - Relax and enjoy the tranquillity of these beautiful Gardens
The Eastern Bent-wing Bat has chocolate to reddish-brown fur on its back and slightly lighter coloured fur on its belly. It has a short snout and a high 'domed' head with short round ears. The wing membranes attach to the ankle, not to the base of the toe. The last bone of the third finger is much longer than the other finger-bones giving the "bent wing" appearance. It weighs up to 20 grams, has a head and body length of about 6 cm and a wingspan of 30 - 35 cm.
The Wellington Visitors' Centre can provide further information and brochures.
Located in Cameron Park, Wellington ph: 1 800 621 614
Wellington NSWone of 18 regions in the HIGHWAY WEST family of Town sites.
Our Thanks....... please mention the Wellington-nsw.com website when you contact any business/organisations below.