#NSWfires, Jenolan Caves: Reopening following bushfire emergency | Photos, pictures

TOURIST READY: Cleaning work is underway at Jenolan Caves in preparation for the site's re-opening on Saturday. Photo: JENOLAN CAVES TRUST
TOURIST READY: Cleaning work is underway at Jenolan Caves in preparation for the site's re-opening on Saturday. Photo: JENOLAN CAVES TRUST

JENOLAN Caves will begin reopening this week following a massive bushfire that forced the closure of the historic tourist site a month ago.

In late December hot, windy weather fanned the massive 278,722 hectare Green Wattle Creek bushfire and it came dangerously close to the precinct.

On December 30 all tours, accommodations and eateries were suspended as firefighters from across NSW rushed to defend the site from the flames.

Four buildings were destroyed in the bushfire, including the Jenolan Caves RFS fire station, but the precinct will reopen this Saturday.

"Jenolan Caves House survived its worst bushfire threat since the 1960s," a Department of Planning, Industry and Environment spokesman said.

Once the bushfire was contained, works began on restoring, power, water, sewerage, internet and phone coverage, and also managing the risk of tree and rock fall.

"The site is now being prepared for visitors, with staff even taking the opportunity to clean the caves," the spokesman said.

From February 1, Caves Cafe, Chisolm's Restaurant and Jeremiah's Bar will reopen, so too will most of the guest accommodation including the heritage-listed Caves House.

Some cave tours will be available from Saturday, they include: Imperial, Chifley, Orient, Temple of Baal, Imperial-Diamond and the Plughole Adventure.

All bushwalks remain off limits due to bushfire damage, along with the Nettle Cave and Devil's Coach House Cave.

The longer walking tracks will be offline for some time.

Jenolan Caves Road, the main approach to the precinct, is yet to be declared safe.

TOURIST READY: Bushfire damage can be seen right behind Caves House. Photo: JENOLAN CAVES TRUST

TOURIST READY: Bushfire damage can be seen right behind Caves House. Photo: JENOLAN CAVES TRUST

Visitors must use Edith Road, but are warned that the final 3.2 kilometres of this road are steep, very narrow and winding, with several tight hairpin bends and it is not suitable for coaches or caravans.

"Edith Road is sealed, and OK for experienced drivers in average-sized cars, campervans or small minibuses," the Jenolan Caves website states.

"You will need to take it slow, and watch for wildlife crossing the road. Larger vehicles will be turned back."

This alternate route will add around 20km (40 minutes) to the trip and takes motorists via Oberon.

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This story Jenolan Caves begins reopening to tourists after bushfire emergency first appeared on Lithgow Mercury.