So, you want to cut to the chase and find out which are the best in the Buchan (and surrounding limestone areas in East Gippsland). Well here it goes, but remember it is my opinion only. I have not included the show cave system which would probably be first, but that is strictly no access. Number one is the best, in descending order.
10) Lilly Pilly Cave – Lilly Pilly is in parts like ‘mini-Tasmania’ quality decoration and large passage and chambers. Really spectacular. It is a show cave which is used every now and again, so permits aren’t as hard to get, if staying to the path. Very pretty.
9) Moon’s Cave – Moons Cave is gated and on the Caves Reserve, and permits are given mainly to cavers with a good purpose for access. A platypus lives in the cave which they don’t like to bother so this sometimes stops trips. The system has an inflow and stream.
8) NG1 – New Guinea Ridge Cave – An excellent long and deep horizontal cave. NG1 is totally closed (the road is closed off) in the cooler months due to the extreme nature of the road down to the area. When it becomes wet the greasy limestone just doesn’t grip even on the most hardy of 4wd’s, even with chains on, and countless cavers have gotten stuck down there. Summer months only, in a proper 4WD. Another nearby cave NG5 almost made the list, doing both is an awesome duo. Often cavers bush camp down there.
7) Duke’s Cave – The cave on the Caves Reserve that feeds the swimming pool. This is a long active stream cave, and you are in the water a lot of the time. Cold and wet. Some terrific decoration and excellent character to the place. Permits can be hard to get as the cave is on the reserve and very visible.
6) Shades of Death – Owned by the Rimstone Cooperative. First couple of hundred metres is show cave, then to a long well decorated horizontal system. One of the longest caves in Buchan. Trips are only for surveying and science at the moment, with VSA. Some water in wet weather.
5) Trog Dip – Another long stream cave, which gets wetter as you go further. The best part of the cave is protected by a sump that is closed quite often. Past the sump some unbelievable decoration and stomping passage. The cave is on a river reserve, so public access, but to get to it most people choose to cross private property with permission of the landowner. It is possible to get there by walking through a forest and then up the river, but it takes hours.
4) Exponential Pot – On the potholes reserve, but gated. Thought of as the best decorated cave in Buchan. A 25m entrance pitch down to a very complex and beautiful horizontal system. Only trips are for surveying and science. An experienced leader is needed as a condition of permit.
3) Elk River via Baby Berger – Also on the potholes, and public access, although route finding to get all the way to the stream at the bottom can be slightly tricky, so a guide is recommended although not essential. Only a short part of the stream can be visited without SCUBA gear, in cramped sumps, but still a great trip.
2) Scrubby Creek – In Murrindal, also owned by Rimstone. An excellent long active stream cave with big chamber and good decoration. Protected by a roof sniff that can sometimes be very difficult, and a leader system is in place. The roof sniff was recently lowered which has made access a bit easier. Regular trips take place with VSA.
1) Dalley’s Sinkhole – On the property owned by the local Quarry, and no access currently. A terrific cave more at home in England or Tasmania than Buchan.
So these, in my opinion only, are the best 10 Caves in the Buchan and surrounds. There is more information on all of these caves in the ‘Caves in Victoria’ section of this website.
If you have any access queries in regards to the caves with gates on them, please direct them to Parks Victoria. Also see the Interim Access Guide File in the ‘Access’ menu on this site. If you want more general information on access to these caves, you can email me at email@example.com.