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Beyond Wombeyan

Wombeyan Caves, Blue Mountains National Park, 65kms west of Mittagong NSW

AT reader Beth Micklethwaite from Canberra reveals the home away from home that’s closest to her heart.

My favourite secret holiday spot is camping at Wombeyan Caves in NSW. It provides the natural feel and cheap price of camping in a National Park with the amenities of a proper campsite (well-equipped camp kitchen, ice-cream shop, showers, etc). It’s only a couple of hours from where I live in Canberra, but it feels a world away as it’s a secluded little valley in the middle of limestone cliffs. If you sit leisurely by your tent you’ll see an endless array of wildlife, from huge monitor lizards to roos, possums and unusual birds. If you feel more active, there are numerous caves to explore, some alone and some with a guide who can reveal some fascinating history. Best of all is the gorge walk, though.

We were there after heavy rain, so the gorge was at its best. It begins about a 30min walk away from the camp as a paddle through some shallow pools and a scramble over rocks. Then the pools get deeper and deeper until you’re swimming for 100m at a stretch, with tall cliffs on either side and no sounds except the water rippling around you. If you feel peckish, there are abundant blackberries to nibble on as you climb out of one pool and head for the next. The pace of life slows down completely as your body is soothed by the cool water and your spirit is refreshed by the beauty all around you.

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