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4 Places to Visit Caves in Victoria

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by Gayle Beveridge (subscribe)
Gayle is an accountant. Shh – don’t tell. She thinks she’s a writer.
Published September 2nd 2016
Caves Have a Mystique But They Don't Have To Be A Mystery
4 Places to Visit Caves in Victoria
Caves have a certain mystique about them. In myth and legend they are the home of fairies and the hiding place for pirates' treasure. Today it is the natural wonder of them that beckons. Stalactites and stalagmites, and shawls and curtains adorn limestone caves like jewels adorn a crown. The twisted and wrinkled surfaces and vents and craters of lava caves attest to a time when mother earth was restless and violent.

In Victoria we have some outstanding caves which are accessible to the public. All are set in scenic surrounds and each and every one is a wonder to behold.

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Calcite rimmed pools in Royal Cave at Buchan Caves (Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge)


Princess Margaret Rose Cave

The Princess Margaret Rose Cave in the Lower Glenelg National Park is a limestone cave jam packed with natural features.

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Inside Princess Margaret Rose Cave (Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge.)

The cave has stalactites which hang from the roof, stalagmites which grow from the floor and pillars which are the result of a joining of the stalactites and stalagmites. Smooth surfaces on the wall are flow stone formations. Shawls, blankets and bacons hanging from the roofline are narrow coloured formations. Then there are the helictites, the long thin formations growing in all directions.

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Inside Princess Margaret Rose Cave (Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge.)

As if all this is not enough the Princess Margaret Rose Cave is home to the rare formations, cave coral, rimstone pools and sawtoothed shawls.

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Inside Princess Margaret Rose Cave (Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge.)

Tours of the caves are run daily and last for around 45 minutes. Displays at the information centre show how the cave was formed and tell the tale of its discovery. There is an onsite kiosk which sells drinks, snacks and souvenirs.

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Inside Princess Margaret Rose Cave (Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge.)

The Glenelg River is only 300metres from the caves and there are scenic walking trails of 20minutes to 2 hours duration from the information centre.

There are limited camping facilities at the cave, including three non-ensuite cabins.

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The Glenelg River (Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge)

When: Tours daily (September to May) 10.00am, 11.00am, 12 noon, 1.30pm, 2.30pm, 3.30pm and 4.30pm and (June to August) 11.00am, 12 noon, 1.00pm 2.00pm and 3.00pm except Christmas Day and Good Friday.

Where: In the Lower Glenelg National Park, around 16kms from Nelson Victoria 3292 via Donovans.

Telephone: (08) 8738 4171

Website: www.princessmargaretrosecave.com/

Costs: (Sept. 2016) Adult $20.00, Concession $17.00, Child (5-16 years) $13.00, Children (Under 5) Free, Family (2 Adults and up to 3 children) $44.00.

Buchan Caves

Undoubtedly the most well-known of the Victoria Caves are Buchan Caves. There are hundreds of caves in the region of which the finest and most accessible are Fairy Cave and Royal Cave. The caves are thought to date back 300 to 400 million years and have been a tourist attraction since the 1920's.

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Inside Fairy Cave (Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge)

Guided tours are run in Fairy Cave where an abundance of beautiful the stalactites and stalagmites can be viewed and in Royal Cave where visitors will marvel at the calcite rimmed pools.

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Part of the wall of Royal Cave (Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge)

Royal Cave is the easy of the two at 500 metres and includes the spectacular Font of the Gods and Princess Royal Chambers. Fairy Cave has a spiral staircase entrance and is also 500 metres. It includes the Ivory Palace, Kings Chamber and Blackwood Chamber. These caves border on the magical, they are indeed a fairyland.

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Fairy Cave (Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge)

A variety of walking tracks within the reserve offer views of waterfalls, ferns, rocks and majestic trees. Lyrebirds might be spotted here along with kookaburras, king parrots, water dragons and ringtail possums. The Granite Pools walk offers sweeping views of the Buchan Valley.

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Nature's painting in Royal Cave (Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge)

There are cabins and a camping ground at the reserve with good facilities including camp kitchen, toilets, showers, BBQ's and picnic tables. For those wanting to get back to nature there is also a wilderness retreat.

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Inside Royal Cave (Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge)

When – Fairy Cave Tours: September School holidays to post Easter School Holidays 11.15am and 2.15pm, Post Easter school holidays to September 1.00pm

When – Royal Cave Tours: September School holidays to post Easter School Holidays 10.00am, 1.00pm and 3.30pm, Post Easter school holidays to September 11.00am and 3.00pm.

Where: Caves Road, Buchan Vic 3885. Check the website or ring 13 1963 for changed road conditions.

Telephone: Parks Victoria on 13 1963

Website: Parks Victoria parkweb.vic.gov.au/explore/parks/buchan-at-cave-reserve or read the Park Notes.

Costs – Single Cave Tour: (Sept 2016) Adult $22.00, Senior $18.50, Child $12.90, Family $60.90.

Costs – Both Fairy Cave and Royal Cave Tours: (Sept 2016) Adult $33.00, Senior $27.10, Child $19.10, Family $90.90.

Byaduk Caves

The Byaduk Caves near Hamilton are lava caves that were formed around 8,000 years ago. They are said to be the most accessible lava caves in Victoria. The caves are a series of lava tubes and sinkholes. The tunnels, the largest of which is 18 metres wide, 10 metres high and extends to 20 metres below the surface, demonstrate well-preserved vents, craters, wrinkles, stalactites and stalagmites, columns and ropy formations created by the retreating lava. There is a well-signposted loop track from the carpark to the caves.


Harman's No. 1 Cave, a lava tube, is the only one of the caves open to the public. Entry is gained by crossing a number of large fallen roof blocks. Around the entrance are a variety of ferns and mosses. The lava floor of the cave is flat and the roof an arched dome. At the end of the cave you will find yourself in a large circular chamber with a domed lava floor.

Harman's No. 2 Cave and Bridge Cave are difficult to access and for safety reasons are not open to the public.

During winter Bentwing Bats may be found in the caves. These bats are sensitive to disturbances and visitors are asked not to shine lights on them, and to avoid loud noises and leave the cave if bats are sighted.

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Byaduk Caves (Photo from Visit Greater Hamilton Facebook Page)

The caves, in the Mount Napier State Park are in the Lava Flows Precinct of the Kanawinka Global Geopark.

When: Daylight Hours.

Where: (Mount Napier State Park), via the Byaduk Caves Road, 18 km from Hamilton on the Hamilton-Port Fairy Road.

Telephone: Parks Victoria on 13 1963 or Hamilton Visitor Information 1800 807 056.

Website: More information can be found at Parks Victoria and Hamilton Visitor Information.

Costs: Free

Tarragal Caves

The Tarragal limestone caves near Bridgewater Lake in the Discovery Bay Coastal Park have been identified as being a historically important Aboriginal camping place. When the caves were excavated in 1970, shell middens and earth ovens dating back 11,000 years were discovered.

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Tarragal Caves from outside and in (Photo from www.visitportland.com.au)

You may need to be fit to check these out as it is a steep 50 metre climb to the caves from the entrance to Bridgewater Lakes. If you do make the trek you will be rewarded with spectacular views over Discovery Bay.

The caves are just off Bridgewater Lakes Road and can be seen from the road as you approach. There are 6 arched caves in a 15 metre high wall; a spectacular sight indeed. The caves are only one of the amazing natural attractions in the Cape Bridgewater area. It is also home to The Petrified Forest, Blowholes and a seal colony and much more.

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Cape Bridgewater Petrified Forest (By Mattinbgn (Own work) CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

The caves are home to bats so please be respectful and do your best not to disturb them.

When: Daylight Hours.

Where: (Discovery Bay Coastal Park) Off Bridgewater Lakes Road opposite the entrance to Bridgewater Lakes, around 10kms from Cape Bridgewater.

Telephone: Portland Visitor Information Centre 1800 035 567

Website: Portland Visitor Information or Parks Victoria

Costs: Free
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Why? Caves have a mystique but they don't have to be a mystery.
When: Refer to the article sections for tour times where applicable
Phone: Refer to the article sections for details
Where: Refer to the location details in the article sections
Cost: Refer to the article sections for costs where applicable
Your Comment
Princess Margaret Rose Caves are spectacular. We loved our visit to these caves, and surrounding Countryside. Was also brilliantvisiting Blue Lake at Mt Gambier, Warnambool, Port Fairy, and other places along the way.
by e_law (score: 2|405) 717 days ago
Very informative article, Gayle - well-earned Silver Award! Lot of research you've done - made me wonder if we even have any caves here on the Sunshine Coast, must have a look-see!
by Elaine (score: 3|5351) 717 days ago
The first to appear to be easy walks and most people can cope, however, I thin I might struggle on the last two. It would be a great experience.
by Roger (score: 2|599) 717 days ago
I forgot we visited Byaduk caves also, and explored volcanic sites. Western Victoria is a great place to explore, and not reallyfar from The Coorong, Sth Aus if time permits.
by e_law (score: 2|405) 717 days ago
Love caving but did most of mine in SA - great research and photos, thanks, Gayle!
by Kate Blake (score: 3|1285) 716 days ago
We went to Buchan years ago with the kids and didn't know anything about the others. Time for a road trip perhaps.
by betty (score: 2|486) 713 days ago
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