The 5 Best Places To Go Caving In Australia
You’ve probably heard of the Jenolan Caves in the Blue Mountains. The caves are a national treasure, with dazzling crystals and aqua-tinged lakes impressing thousands of visitors each year.
But while these stunning caves are well-worth the visit, they’re definitely not the endgame for caving Down Under. Australia is a nation blanketed by national parks, with practically a dozen or more caves to explore in every state.
It’s time you ditched the crowded caves and explored somewhere new. Here are our top picks for caving in Oz.
#1 Newnes, NSW
Home to a glow worm tunnel and plenty of caving opps, Newnes bats Jenolan Caves right out of the park. And better yet, it’s only a three-and-a-half drive south of Sydney.
Walking through the glow worm tunnel, it’s as if its ceiling has been lined with tiny fairy lights – a spectacular and whimsical sight.
Newnes is close to Lithgow, making it a doable weekend trip for Sydneysiders who can explore the valley as well as the nearby town.
Armed with a campsite and jaw dropping valley, Newnes is the perfect excuse to escape the city hustle. It’s even got ruins and tunnels covered in moss just asking for an Insta upload.
#2 Minnow Falls, Tasmania
Cradle Mountain is a renowned Tassie gem, but Minnow Falls can hold its own when it comes to caving.
If you like wandering off the beaten track, this one’s a winner. Experienced cavers, in particular, will appreciate the seriously underestimated destination.
Minnow Falls is home to a three-tiered waterfall and some amazing bushland, but caving there takes some skill. Starting at the base of Mt Roland cliff face, you’ll have to climb up to the middle tier.
This one requires some preparation. To be safe be sure to bring rope and a headlamp, and study the route before you go.
#3 Augusta, WA
Western Australia’s biggest show caves, the Augusta caves offer dazzling views of stalagmites and stalactites. Seriously, they’re to die for.
Located in the Margaret River, Augusta has three massive chambers to explore. These include the Mammoth Cave, Jewel Cave and Lake Cave. And trust us, those cave names herald an accurate description of the impressive exhibition on show.
Caving rookies will be happy to know that you won’t need any Bear Grylls-type experience to venture around the caves. It doesn’t matter if you’re a caving novice because Augusta is lit up, with guided tours ensuring you won’t get lost and spend eternity underground.
A total bonus about caving in Western Australia is that there’s loads of activities to get amongst after exploring the Augusta caves. After a day of caving you can unwind at Margaret River by watching whales at Flinders Bay, walking to the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse or birdwatching on the Blackwood River.
#4 Chillagoe, QLD
Like any cave, Chillagoe has its fair share of bats hanging from the roof. The cute little guys will come up when you Google image search the caves, along with images of spectacular and cavernous chambers.
The caves are situated in northern Queensland in the Chillagoe-Mungana National Park, close to Cairns. The arid region boasts an impressive maze of caves with five access points.
The caves give visitors a warm welcome to the outback, the area providing a haven for wildlife. You’ll be sure to spot tons of kangaroos and native birds around the area.
Geologist Professor Ian Plimer reckons that the region has the most diverse geology in the world. With the nearby balancing rock formation, a fascinating limestone archway and Aboriginal carvings, the area just embodies #Straya.
#5 Royal National Park, NSW
Famous for wedding cake rock and the figure eight rock pools, the Royal National Park is an exuberant place, fit for those seeking adventure.
It’s a shame that most people zip right past the hidden sandstone caves because they’re overwhelmed by the labyrinth of bushwalks on offer.
Next time you decide to tackle the splendours of the Royal National Park, channel Indiana Jones and try to discover the secret spot. The trick is to detour off Lady Carrington Drive where about 1km down the road from the southern end, you’ll find a sign showing the track. Look out for it, as it’s easy to miss.
At the end of the 20-minute track is the Palona Cave system beside a waterfall. What you’ll see is a magnificent but humble cave. (But keep it on the down-low – we wouldn’t want to ruin the secret!)
Up for the adventure? Check out flights to in and around Australia here.
(Lead image: Glow Worm Tunnel in Lithgow via Blue Mountains Glow Worm Tours)