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 (An ex show cave, permit only, but spectacular)
9) Moon’s Cave (Gated on Parks Vic Reserve – hard to get permits due to platypus)
8) NG1 – New Guinea Ridge Cave (Public access but difficult to physically get to)
7) Dukes Cave (Also gated on Parks Vic reserve – Can’t ever be done in tourist season)
6) Shades of Death (Private property, first 100m is ex-tourist cave owned by Rimstone)
5) Trog Dip (if you get past the sump)
4) Exponential Pot (On the Potholes reserve but gated)
3) Elk River via Baby Berger (No permit needed but a guide suggested)
2) Scrubby Creek (also if you get past the sump – Owned by Rimstone)
1) Dalley’s Sinkhole (forget access to this one any time soon)
Further access information on these caves
Of those caves the only one with no access conditions whatsoever and you can just walk in is Elk River. And as stated, you can get down to the Elk stream via Baby Berger, as long as you have good directions or a guide. As for the others:
– Trog Dip requires permission to drive over a paddock. You can get there by walking through a reserve and then up a river, but it is a slog.
– Dalley’s is owned by the quarry and is strictly no access and no discussion either, as far as I know.
– Exponential Pot is accessible for work trips only, to resurvey the cave and train new leaders.
– Scrubby Creek is owned by Rimstone but still has a strict leader system, and there are not many leaders.
– Shades of Death is also owned by Rimstone and trips are fairly frequent at the moment
– 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. There is a third cave NG2 which is strictly no access due to Aboriginal relics and history.
– Moons Cave is gated and on the Parks Vic 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.
– Lilly Pilly is in parts like ‘mini-Tasmania’ quality decoration. Really spectacular. It is a show cave which is used every now and again, so permits aren’t as hard to get. Very pretty.
So these, IMHO, are the best 10 Caves in the Buchan and surrounds. But don’t worry there are hundreds more that all have their individual charm.
If you have any access queries, please direct them to Parks Victoria. Also see the Interim Access Guide File in the ‘Access’ menu on this site. Access guidelines are very important.