Danny Yee >> Bushwalking & Travel >> Touring Central NSW

Wellington Caves & Phosphate Mine

Heading out of Dubbo in the afternoon, we weren't entirely sure where we were going to stay that night, but a stop in the tourist information centre in Wellington decided us on Wellington Caves. We rocked up to the caravan park there, found a cabin - it wasn't at all crowded - and cooked ourselves dinner.

In the morning we ate breakfast while watching King Parrots in the grass and being investigated by a juvenile magpie. We then looked at the Japanese garden -- which was pretty uninspiring after Cowra's! -- and an exhibition about the caves. The cave we toured is mostly filled in, with a flat sandy floor at the bottom, and its formations are not nearly as nice as those we'd seen at Wombeyan.

Unlike Jenolan or Wombeyan, you wouldn't want to drive from Sydney just to see Wellington Caves. On the other hand, they're much easier to get to if you're in the area, being just off the main Sydney-Dubbo highway.

The phosphate mine was more fun. The guide explained how it was basically a scam, designed to lure investors and to give several hundred "essential workers" a way of avoiding conscription (the operating years of the mine pretty much matched the First World War). There are also some areas with masses of bones, which have attracted palaeontologists.

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We stopped to look at the strange wind-chime at the Caves turnoff on the main highway, with mosaic-metal flowers. I found it intriguing, but Camilla thought it was just creepy.

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