Posted by Juliane Samara, 15 July 2017
A day in the countryside with good friends – priceless
We’ve decided to start traveling closer to home a bit more regularly. This has several benefits – a) we get to explore some of the small country towns that we haven’t been to before, and b) a day away from Canberra means no housework, garden maintenance, shopping or other mundane activities that can eat up the weekend before you can even say TGIF.
It helps to have a good group of friends to organise the trips with. On our last trip to Tumut, we agreed that we would aim for one trip per month, and take it in turns to decide the destination and route. This time it was Michael’s turn, and he decided to take us to Wombeyan Caves.
I haven’t been here since a school excursion which was so long ago that I can’t remember the year – possibly 40 years ago. We’ve visited some other caves in the past few years so I was keen to see what was on offer here. Getting out of bed on a cold Canberra winter morning is difficult at the best of times, but we agreed to meet at 0745 for an early departure so that we could get to the caves in time for the 10.30am guided tour. We made good time and decided to stop at Taralga for morning tea where we found The Tangled Vine. While waiting for our coffee we checked out the antique biscuit tins, icecream tins and other interesting display items, enjoyed a chat with one or two locals and decided that we should probably come back to this cafe for a meal some time.
On to the caves via the Wombeyan Caves Road which passes through a historical single lane tunnel carved through the sandstone ridge. This part of the trip feels like it goes on forever and has you wondering whether you’ve missed a sign or turn-off somewhere along the way.
We made it in time for the tour, paid our money and started the hike up the hill to the meeting point. Some of the group members were a bit nervous about the advertised 520 steps each way through the caves (including some ladders) but actually the climb at the beginning was the worst part of the entire tour. We had seriously over-dressed and I had a few too many layers on. By the time we gathered at the entrance to the caves we were very warm.
Entering Fig Tree cave was a short climb down a ladder to find that it was actually quite warm in the cave itself. Our guide pointed out some of the features including stalactmites, stalactites, helictites and columns while some of us watched an adventurous and weird looking spider check out the group of about 30 people. Then we wound our way through the various tunnels, caverns, up and down ladders and admiring the marble and wonders of nature.
After the cave tour, we worked our way along a dirt road that really gave the Skoda a hard time with some of the pot-holes that seemed to appear from nowhere. We ended up in Berrima where we enjoyed a nice long lunch at Feast at Berrima. More dirt roads took us to Bungendore where we had planned to have a coffee at the Woodworks cafe, only to find that they had decided to close early. We settled instead for a custard tart and coffee at a bakery/lolly shop, admired all the old-fashioned lollies but resisted the urge to buy them.
All in all it was a great day with good company. We’re not sure who is planning the next trip or where it will take us as several of the group have holidays planned in the next few months, but rumours of a long weekend cruise are in the wind.