Chapter Four: The Caves of Wombeyan Caves


So this is where I should probably declare my love of rocks. I studied geology for the HSC and it was my favourite subject. By.far.

I wanted to be a geologist/journalist who wrote for National Geographic* but discovered that at uni, to study geology, I would have to study physics and chemistry.

Which scared me a lot.

So now I just subscribe and wonder what could/would have been.

But rocks still have a place in my heart.

There’s over 500 caves at Wombeyan but only five are open to the general public. We managed to get through three of them this trip and they were just spectacular. This is on the track to one of the caves, looking across a valley to another cave. I find it deeply compelling – what’s in that cave, is it just a narrow opening? Does it run deep into the hillside? What was this like 100s, 1000s of years ago.

I get carried away in all that fresh air.

This was walking up to where you meet the park ranger to go on a guided cave tour, looking back on Wombeyan valley. I can’t tell you how restorative I found the whole location:

From the same spot, this is looking across to Victoria Arch – a massive opening and quite the landmark of the caves
This is in the Arch looking up
To enter the caves you have to go through quite ominous looking doorways:

I was a bit worried I might freak out with the whole confined spaces issue but it was cool. Literally and figuratively. Besides I had things to take my mind off cave-ins, crawling through spaces my body didn’t fit and so on and so forth.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, here’s just a few samples of what is inside the caves


Just lovely.

However.

On our first cave tour, just after we’d negotiated the vertical staircases (also known as ladders. Shut Up.)

carrying a small child and guiding a special needs child Grover says, ‘bot bot?’

Oh crap.
It dawns on me that it’s 10.30am and he normally has a day sleep around 11am. Considering the interesting definitions of sleep he’d been trialling I realise we’ve just embarked on a 45 minute tour through.a.cave. with a baby who wants a bottle and to go nigh-nigh. Oh crap.

The whinging started.
Then the crying.
Then the hitting.
And some more crying.
Then the screaming.
And some more hitting.
And I started to totally lose my shit.

I swear to God we put the breeding program of the three young couples also doing the tour back by a good decade.

He was not coping.
I was not coping.

The big boys were having an absolute blast.

The next guided tour we took was a lot more successful as was the self-guided one. Thank God.

We’ve saved two of the caves to explore on our return at Christmas.

Back fat, flat arse, exhausted child.

* I also wanted to be a policewoman, politician, speech writer, actress, business mogul.