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Blue Mountains Tourist : Spring 2010
The second most popular artificial language in the world, after Esperanto, is said to be Klingon. The Klingons -- a fictional warrior race -- appeared in the original Star Trek television series and a number of spin-offs, including a couple of movies, for which the language was developed. The Bible and some of Shakespeare's works have been translated into Klingon. Now, it's one of 11 languages available on audio guide for The Nettle Cave at Jenolan. In the Star Trek universe, Jenolan Caves was first immortalised in the Next Generation series with a starship named the USS Jenolan. Earlier this year two Klingon scholars, Michael Roney (aka naHQun) and Tracey Canfield, flew into Australia to finalise the translation and record the commentary. Although they are the world's oldest caves, Jenolan is constantly looking at ways of refreshing and expanding its visitor experience. Jenolan offers family tickets for most of its guided show caves. Now, a range of interactive kids' tours is available every weekend. Adults can tour a cave or sip hot chocolate in the café while their children (aged 6 to 12) experience the underworld in a new and exciting way, with helmets and torches. Stones & Bones , on Saturdays and Sundays, is an imaginative hunt for fossils and bones hidden deep in those mysterious places that abound at Jenolan. Saturday's Bats, Bugs & Beasties teaches about life forms above and below ground. Any day of the week, families can do the self-guided tour of the huge 'twilight' caves, the Nettle and the Devil s Coach House. Along with adults, older kids (from age 10) can enjoy the physical, mental and psychological challenge of adventure caving. During NSW school holidays, Jenolan runs special adventure tours for teenagers, to promote self-confidence, fitness, fun and teamwork. And, irresistible to adults and older kids, Jenolan now offers cave tours every night except Sundays -- tours that are not usually available during the day, including the spinechilling Legends, Mysteries and Ghosts tour (Wednesday and Saturday nights). Visit www.jenolancaves.org.au or call 1300 76 33 11. Searching for an award winning Caravan Park? by Melissa Humphrey When asked what brought them to the Blue Mountains region to manage the Jenolan Caravan Park, Aiden and Benita Clark admit it was the result of a Google search for 'Caravan Parks for Sale in the Mountains'. Good things come from search engines then, for the couple have made marked improvements to the facility and won numerous awards including a 'Blue Mountains Lithgow and Oberon Tourism Awards of Excellence 2009 for Tourist and Caravan Parks'. Benita and Aiden have held the leasehold of the park for almost six years. Prior to this they were part- owners of a large van resort in the Bright-Porepunkah alpine region in Victoria that was recognised by 'Caravan World' magazine as one of the Top 10 parks in Australia. When the Google search displayed Jenolan Caravan Park, it met their required criteria. They love mountain regions and were looking for a small park that as Benita says needed some TLC. The two had no idea of the potential of the park, and ironically didn't know where Oberon was. After further research they were amazed at the number of high quality activities and attractions in the region and when they moved in, were delighted with the friendliness of the locals. Sometimes though, there have been concerns over the presumed friendliness of the locals and the results of online searches. When the couple first took over the business, a marketing website had the property listed as nudist- friendly accommodation. One lady wanted to book her family in, but was extremely reluctant when she read this, as she thought the atmosphere at the park may be just too friendly. After the lady's concerns were addressed, a booking was made and the comment, needless to say, was removed from the website. Since taking over Jenolan Caravan Park, Benita and Aiden have built a new amenities block complete with BBQ and camp kitchen area, reticulated natural gas throughout the park and upgraded their eight cabins. The vision continues with plans to upgrade the furniture in the smaller cabins, to pour concrete slabs on several of the powered sites to better cater for caravan and motor home customers, to re-seal all roads and replace the road guttering. There are also plans to purchase more cabins within the next 12-18 months and to build a more "user friendly" check-in car parking area. If it seems that friendliness is important to Aiden and Benita -- it is. They pride themselves on their warm and friendly hospitality. In fact it has even led to extended stays. One customer happened upon the park reluctantly and under adversity as his car had broken down not far from Oberon. He arrived at the park disgruntled and believing he was stuck in some out of the way place with not much to do. Aiden and Benita took no offence and showed him where he would be staying. The next day the guest came into reception and commended them on the park and its maintenance and cleanliness. He was then provided with information on some of the activities he might like to do whilst he was 'stuck' in the region. A day or so later, when the man's vehicle was back on the road and he had the ability to drive away, he chose to stay on for some additional days to explore the area. He's even referred other visitors to Jenolan Caravan Park. With caravan and camping holidays marked as the fastest growing domestic tourism sector in Australia, it is an asset to the Blue Mountains Lithgow and Oberon region to have such a facility like Jenolan Caravan Park and such savvy, motivated operators. www.bluemountainstouristnewspaper.com.au spring 2010 24 Aiden and Benita Clark Klingons at Jenolan Caves