Self Guided Nettle Cave Tour
Tour Length : 45 minutes approx.
Difficulty : Medium although since you are not with a tour group and hence can set your own pace it can actually be considered quite easy. Whilst there are several hundred steps, they are spaced well apart and so it is not very demanding
General Tips : All tickets sold at Jenolan include this tour as part of the package. If it is a busy day then you can do this tour whilst waiting for the other tour to commence. There is no rush and in fact this is a great place to be on a hot summer day
This cave constitutes an upper level of the Devils Coachhouse. As such it is largely open to the free movement of air and this has led to a cave with a very dry appearance. Don't let this give the impression though that this is a dull cave - in fact the opposite is true. By being exposed to daylight and air flow the cave decorations are quite different in appearance - both form and colour to those found in the other caves. Visitors on this tour are guided by devices with recorded interpretation. Tours commence whenever the visitor is ready
Points of Inspection
Grand Arch - This is the only tour that inspects the Grand Arch. This cave and the Devils Coachhouse were the first caves found by European settlers at Jenolan. The Grand Arch was formed by Camp Creek which may be seen entering the archway
Devils Coachhouse - This is one of the largest chambers at Jenolan both in terms of height as well as volume. During times of flood McKeowns Creek flows through this cave.
Sculptors Studio- This used to be the first chamber of the Nettle Cave that was inspected, as it is today except that early visitors would enter the cave by climbing the steep slope in front of the Grand Arch and enter by what is now the exit to the cave. The name is derived from the many stalagmites that are likened to sculptures that the artist has draped under canvases
The Tombstones - These are small stalagmites that have formed in an elongated fashion due to the presence of light interacting with algae growing on their surface. They are the first of what are generically referred to as phototrophic stalagmites that are seen in this cave. To the early explorers they appeared as small tombstones scattered about the floor.
Owl Roost- Sooty Owls have been inhabiting the Devils Coachhouse and the Nettle Cave for thousands of years. In this location visitors can seen where scientists have conducted digs to examine the droppings of the owls which gives insight into what animals the owls ate over the years. This is the first of the excellent high level vantage points to take in the Devils Coachhouse
Ballroom - This area is the largest open space in the Nettle and provides a view back to the exit and Sculptors Studio. It is located below the daylight hole referred to as the Teardrop and provides an excellent outlook through the Devils Coachhouse and up McKeowns Valley. From this area can also be seen a large collection of stromatolitic stalagmites.