3 reasons why your kids will love this NSW bushwalk!

We‘ve just found what would have to be one of the best bushwalks in NSW – if not Australia!
Here are 3 very good reasons why your whole family is going to love this bushwalk….

3 reasons why your kids are going to love this NSW bushwalk!

Go to our 5 essentials for a family bushwalk infograph...

Go to 5 essentials for a family bushwalk…

The girls and I have been on a lot of bushwalks together – it’s a great way to escape the everyday, relax and have fun together in the great outdoors.

You don’t need any special equipment, fitness or know-how to go for a family bushwalk – just pack the essentials (which you probably already have – see our 5 essentials for a fun family bushwalk infographic here), grab the kids and go!

That’s just what I did when we were lucky enough to be invited to spend some time at Wombeyan Caves recently – and experienced an extra-special bushwalk which we want to share with you!

Read all about how to get there, where to stay and what to do in our Wombeyan Caves feature article here

Our chosen hike, the Mares Forest Creek Track, is one of the best bushwalks we’ve ever done. It has everything a great bushwalk should – plus three special reasons that set this bushwalk apart from all the others.  So without further ado, here are our top three reasons why you need to take your kids on the Wombeyan Caves Mares Forest Creek bushwalk!

1 – Native animals are everywhere at Wombeyan

Kangaroos and wallabies and lyrebirds….oh my! You are going to see so much native wildlife in and around Wombeyan you simply won’t believe it – and most of them are really quiet!

Kangaroos line the way up the main trail at Wombeyan Caves

Kangaroos line the way up the main trail at Wombeyan Caves

We started out on our hike fairly early in the morning – be sure to grab a free map of the walk from the Wombeyan Caves information centre before you go. The complete bushwalk is 3.2kms long, and  takes around one and a half hours return, which is the perfect amount of time for the whole family to enjoy themselves and not get too tired or worn-out.

Kangaroos on the footbridge near the Wombeyan Caves Visitors Information Centre

Kangaroos on the footbridge near the Wombeyan Caves Visitors Information Centre

Leaving from the Wombeyan Caves Visitors Information Centre, by now you will have already seen a lot of kangaroos – they are all around the camping and cabin areas, near the visitors centre…even as you cross the footbridge and head up the wide hillside path (which also leads to all of the Wombeyan Caves entrances – buy a ticket before you leave to see these magnificent caves).

There are gorgeous views back over the valley as you start out

There are gorgeous views back over the valley as you start out

As well as kangaroos and wallabies, there are some really wonderful views back over the valley from this hill path, and a lookout with seats part of the way up.

From the top of the hill, follow the sign to the Mares bushwalk. The track is easy to follow, clear and good underfoot. There are some ups and downs, but mostly the path is undulating with beautiful sweeping valley views.

As you approach the end of the track, the going ranges from easy to moderately steep, but with a helping hand and close supervision, school age kids can manage perfectly well.

2 – The Tinted Cave

 

 

The entrance to the Tinted Cave - the button for the timed lights is there on the right

The entrance to the Tinted Cave – the button for the timed lights is there on the right

The Tinted Cave is a beautiful family-friendly cave close to the end of the Mares Forest Creek bushwalk track. This lovely little cave is open to the public and requires no admission ticket or token to enter.

 

The kids are going to get dirty - but that's all part of the fun!

The kids are going to get dirty – but that’s all part of the fun!

The cave has push-button timed lighting installed, hand rails or cables, and is easy to navigate. It can be handy to have your smart phone along to use as a torch for the darkest sections, but it’s really not essential.

The Tinted Cave has some gorgeous lit features within

The Tinted Cave has some gorgeous lit features within

Straight out of an adventure book - kids love exploring the Tinted Cave!

Straight out of an adventure book – kids love exploring the Tinted Cave!

An important note – if you see any “wild”, or unlit, caves in the Wombeyan Caves Karst Reserve area they are not open to the public – for your own safety and the cave’s preservation, please keep out!

There are some lovely, illuminated stalactite and stalagmite formations in the Tinted Cave, but perhaps it’s biggest feature is that when you emerge from the other end, it opens out onto a natural rock balcony which overlooks the Limestone Gorge (otherwise known as the Marble Canyon).

Once you catch sight of the Marble Canyon, you’re probably going to want to get down there as quickly as possible – because it is just spectacular! You’ll need to retrace your steps back through the Tinted Cave to continue on down to what has to be one of the most beautiful natural swimming spots in New South Wales.

The natural balcony overlooking the Marble Canyon

The natural balcony overlooking the Marble Canyon

A tempting peek of the Marble Canyon from the Tinted Cave

A tempting peek of the Marble Canyon from the Tinted Cave

3 – A stunning natural swimming spot

When you have finished exploring the Tinted Cave (it’s so much fun, we went back into the cave on the way back up, too!), continue on down the path to access the river and the Marble Canyon.

Easy does it! Take care navigating the path down to the river

Easy does it! Take care navigating the path down to the river

The trail down involves a steep-ish descent. Take care with your younger children here, as there are no hand-rails. There is a flight of concrete stairs situated at the bottom section of the trail to help you negotiate your way down and back up more easily.

The amazing Limestone Gorge

The amazing Limestone Gorge

Once you reach the bottom, there is a raised metal walk way running alongside the river for a short distance.

There is a short metal walkway alongside the river

There is a short metal walkway alongside the river

The Marble Canyon is such a beautiful place – a tumbling, bubbling river strewn with large boulders – very wide and shallow in some parts, narrow and rocky in others with crystal-clear, clean water. Soaring rock walls on either side make this a particularly spectacular bushland swimming spot – don’t forget your lilo in summer!

The kids can climb and explore to their hearts content at the Marble Canyon

The kids can climb and explore to their hearts content at the Marble Canyon

The return bushwalk

Back up the path we go - steady does it!

Back up the path we go – steady does it!

When it’s time to set off back, you can either return back along the same bushwalk trail, or add a bit of variety and turn right at the sign post to hike across the valley and join up with the Junction Cave Track which runs along the other side of the valley. This effectively turns your bushwalk into a loop.

Turn right here to make your bushwalk a loop back

Turn right here to make your bushwalk a loop back

Returning via this linking trail is very scenic and doesn’t add much distance on at all, however it does involve another short but steep-ish descent/ascent through a dry river bed. Therefore, parents carrying or assisting very young children at this point may perhaps prefer to return using the same bush track they came along, as it is easier going.

The dry river bed crossing

The dry river bed crossing

 

I'm coming kids! I brought up the rear on the short climb up the loop track

I’m coming kids! I brought up the rear on the short climb up the loop track

Water break! Don't forget to bring a water bottle along!

Water break! Don’t forget to bring a water bottle along!

Oh, and one extra reason that mum and dad are going to love – this bushwalk doesn’t cost a cent. It’s absolutely free!

The Mares Forest Creek Track is a really enjoyable bushwalk with the reward of a fun cave to explore at the end and a fantastic swimming canyon river – your family is going to love it!

A beautiful NSW bushwalkWombeyan Caves is located in rural NSW, Australia – a 3.5 hour drive from Sydney or 2.5 hour drive from Canberra. You can do this one-and-a-half hour bushwalk easily during a day trip, but I recommend you consider making a weekend of it – not just so that you can take it easy, but also because there’s so much to see and do at Wombeyan – 3 big caves to tour, 3 separate bushwalks and beautiful camping grounds or cabins to stay in (You can read more about Wombeyan Caves accommodation and activities in our feature here).

Wombeyan Caves Tinted Cave

Do you like to go bushwalking with the kids? Tell us your best spots in the comments below…



About LetsGoMum

Hi, I'm Barbara, mum of the Let's Go Mum blog. We'd love to hear from you! You can contact me anytime with ideas on where you think we should go or what you think we should try...just drop me a line at barbara@letsgomum.com.au!
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