If you are travelling through the Snowy Mountains region of NSW a must-see spot is the Yarrangobilly Caves.
The Yarrangobilly Caves are situated within the Kosciuszko National Park. A drive of about 77 kilometres from Tumut or if travelling from Cooma it is about 109 kilometres. These caves were formed approximately 440 million years ago in a belt of limestone and are pretty spectacular.
There are three caves that are open to the public on a daily basis. The Jersey and Jillabenan Caves have set tour times. Other caves are open during peak times by appointment only.
As Yarrangobilly is situated within the Kosciuszko National Park you do need to pay for entrance into the caves. This can be done at the Parks Office in the Visitors Centre. You will also find the staff there very knowledgeable about the area.
The first cave that we explored was the Jillabenan Cave which has fantastic displays of straw stalactites (the deposits that form on the roof of a cave), shawls, cave corals and helictites (multi directional deposits) The tour lasted about an hour and our guide was extremely informative whilst also allowing us plenty of time to view each section of the cave and take photo’s.
Coming back out of the cave was a shock to the system as I was starting to feel a little cool, but that changed quickly when we stepped back out into the heat. It felt like it was about 35`!
THE THERMAL POOL
One of the best features at Yarrangobilly Caves is the thermal swimming pool. The pool is naturally heated by a thermal spring to 27` year round and was a beautiful spot for a swim. There are picnic areas, toilets and change rooms adjacent to the pool. The pool can only be accessed on foot and it is a short but steep walk down from the main car park.
SOUTH GLORY CAVE
After having a swim and some morning tea we set off along the 2.5 kilometre river walk track which winds its way along the banks of the Yarrongobilly River. A steep climb leads up to the entrance of the South Glory Cave.
If you are planning to walk back to the South Glory Cave this way I would suggest taking some water with you. I would also advise wearing decent shoes to walk in as the track was rough and uneven in places. If visiting in summer be vigilant for snakes.
The South Glory Cave is a self-guided cave so you are able to spend as much time making your way through it as you wish. In the scheme of things, South Glory Cave is a mere baby at only 100,000 years old. It was first explored in 1834 and has huge caverns that tower above you.
You will need to allow around 45 minutes to properly explore this cave and need a moderate level of fitness. The path through the cave is 470 metres long and includes 200 plus stairs that lead back up to the exit. The path through the cave is one way and you end up back out in the Glory Hole Carpark.
You can easily make a full day of your visit to Yarrangobilly as there is so much to see. There are plenty of picnic spots with green grass and shady trees. If you want the whole experience you can stay in Caves House Heritage Accommodation.
Built in 1901 as a resort, the building has been carefully restored. Able to accommodate 9 people in the East Wing and 7 in the West Wing, it is a reasonably priced spot to stay as you pay for the wing not per person. Camping isavailable in the nearby Yarrangobilly Village or Three Mile Village.
After leaving Yarrongobilly Caves we stopped off for a quick look at Blowering Dam. Completed in 1968, Blowering Dam underwent a major upgrade in 2010. It is mainly used for hydro electricity, irrigation and town water. With a catchment area of over 1600 square kilometres and a storage capacity of 1,628,000 megalitres it is a very large area of water. Famous Australian motorboat racer, Ken Warby set his water speed record of 317.60mph (511.13kph) on Blowering Dam in 1978. To this day, that record has never been broken.
Blowering Dam is a popular spot for water skiing and fishing. There are lots of camp spots along the edges of the Dam, suitable for most set-ups.