Wilson’s Cave (EB-4) is the one cave in Buchan that truly deserves its own full dedicated page. It is the classic beginners cave in Buchan. It is where almost all beginner’s trips start. It is the first ‘wild’ limestone cave I ever did. Wilson’s is ideal in that it is a large, walk through cave with no real obstacles that nned to be passed. However, there are numerous squeezes, climbs, chimneys and other ‘challenges’ that are purely voluntary but are all safe enough and easy enough for any beginner with a bit of adventure in their veins.
The cave has been used over the years for town meetings, movies, parties, raves, new years eve celebrations and the odd caving trip. The cave is actually marked on topographic maps, and google maps, and as such is public knowledge. For this reason, it is the one and only cave I will publish the survey of. I cannot publish the location, but the cave is easily found if you go for a bit of a drive.
If you find it, please read and observe the following:
Wilson’s is as easy as caves get, but please remember these basic rules:
- Tell someone where you are going and what time you’ll be out
- Bring the right gear, especially backup lights and helmets
- Be conservative and don’t take any risks
- When you park, leave room for others, as it is a popular place
Basic directions (This is the only cave on this site with directions!)
From where you park, walk to the right of the trees and rocks, down a moderate slope that has lots of rocks and grass. Once you are down to the paddock level, walk to your left along the fenceline until you come to this entrance:
Initially you can head straight into the cave but this is a dead end after about 30 metres (at the dead end is a small chamber with a squeezy tube on the right hand side – we call this the wormhole and it’s the first thing we make people do). Do that and go back, and head to the right. Throughout most of the cave if you follow the dry stream bed (indicated by the little round pebbles that are obviously a stream in wet conditions) then you are heading in the right direction. But don’t do that.
The rest is up to you. Explore! Climb! Squeeze! Be bold and adventurous. I will tell you, as the survey indicates, there are exits at the other end which are easy to find, so don’t worry too much if you get a little bit lost in the final parts of the cave. Beyond the main chamber the cave closes in a little and becomes more confusing. If you get lost try and re-trace your steps. A good rule of thumb in caving is to look behind you as you go through, as caves always look different on the way back out. In very wet weather Wilson’s becomes an active stream passage which is absolutely amazing. The character of the cave totally changes. I once found a turtle in the stream on a wet day. Only happens once or twice a year though – I’ve been lucky enough to see it in flow three times.
You can easily spend 2 to 3 hours in Wilson’s Cave if you really look around and push every lead. Don’t let the survey fool you, there is lots more to it. There are even some exposed and fairly challenging climbs if you are feeling brave. As described in other parts of this site, if you plan to go in Wilson’s cave, please also leave your intentions on the ‘intentions board’ which is at the Homeleigh Guest House. Just put your details (car rego, expected return, who is in group, date, which cave). Don’t forget to rub it off when you finish for the day. And don’t rely on the ranger or locals to notice you’ve missed your callout – use a friend. Buchan gets 4G reception on Telstra if you need to make a mobile phone call. Otherwise there is a phone booth in town near the general store. Tell your callout to simply phone 000 if you don’t make it out. The police will handle the rest. There is a cave rescue squad in Victoria, but please don’t give them a reason to be called.
It is without doubt my sentimental favourite and in many ways a good cave. A lot of people dismiss it as being too easy, but as I stated there are challenges if you seek them out, and the sheer number of leads to explore makes for hours of fun. There is no live decoration at all, but as a first cave for beginners, it is absolutely perfect.
Wilson’s Cliff – The traditional Buchan SRT training spot
If you go to the left of the Wilson’s sign at the car park you will come to a large daylight hole and open-faced cliff. This is ‘Wilson’s Cliff’ and this is where we teach SRT and laddering techniques. It is bolted for rigging rebelays, and other technical SRT manoeuvres, and there are bolts at the top for anchors also, plus a well-placed tree. It can also be climbed from the bottom by rock climbers. There is a good photo of the cliff in the ‘commercial providers’ section of this site.
I couldn’t count the number of times I’ve used it to train people or see people being trained. It is ideal as you can sit on the opposite side facing the cliff and see exactly what the punters are doing (or not doing) and coach them through the steps of whatever they are trying to do. Plus, it is about 15m to the bottom which is just enough height to get a little adrenaline going. And there is room to have 3 ropes going at once, too. And the tree provides shade at the top on a hot day. Perfect 🙂
Wilson’s is also good as it has 7 (or more?) entrances/exits that are easy to find. 2 of the exits, in particular, which are at the end of the most obvious route through the cave are quite challenging and good fun to put people through. To see absolutely everything in the cave takes as long as 3 or 4 hours, even though you can walk from one end to the other in 10 minutes. Remember to close the gate when you exit if you go under the road.
You’re going caving!! So i’ll say it one more time:
- Do not touch any decoration. The acid from your skin, and the mud on your skin and clothes destroys decoration. You should really only ever be touching cave to be steady or when climbing.
- Use the intentions board at Homeleigh, or always have a ‘callout’ friend who will raise the alarm if you don’t call by a certain time. When you estimate your exit time, add an hour…. something always takes longer than expected.
- Be appropriately dressed and prepared for the cave environment, including helmets
- Join a caving club if you enjoy it
and……. have fun 🙂