Scratch Australia’s surface and you’ll under a fascinating network of caverns and caves inland and on our fabulous coasts. In our round-up of Awesome Aussie Caves, handle cave crystals, marvel at ancient megafauna, or spot elusive platypus.
For some, you’ll need to negotiate steps to experience their wonders although others are surprisingly accessible.
NGILGI CAVE, NORTH WEST OF THE MARGARET RIVER,WA
WHY GO? BEACH ACCESS, CRYSTAL TOUCH TABLE AND ADVENTURE CAVING
From Yallingup’s lapping shores trace Ngilgi Track to intricate limestone caves north of the Margaret River. Spot all kinds of wet cave formations in this vast Ngilgi’s vast system (formally Yallingup caves) in your own time or head to the main entrance for awesome tours. Here, enjoy the rare opportunity to handle actual cave crystals in the semi-guided Show Cave tour.
The repertoire is diverse with everything from kid-friendly tunnels right through to adventure caving opportunities. PIC: Tourism WA
WHY GO? CAVING FOR ALL AGES
Enjoy an Indigenous welcome at the Buchan Caves in Victoria’s north west. Then, discover megafauna history during it’s ice-age past on a daily tour in the Royal Cave and Fairy Cave.
There’s an electric chair hoist in the Fairy Cave for young chair-bound travellers; weight restrictions apply. Enjoy short and long walks in the surrounding bushland and the nearby Snowy River National Park.
LAKE CAVE & MAMMOTH CAVE, WA
WHY GO? WHEELCHAIR ACCESS TO TWO VERY DIFFERENT CAVES. ONE WITH MEGAFAUNA RELICS & ONE WITH A LAKE
An hour south of Ngilgi, spot megafauna embedded into rock within Mammoth Cave just east of Margaret River. This remarkable history is explained on the self-guided audio tour. It’s an easy cave to explore, too, with wheelchair and pram access into the main cave. But to complete the entire route, you’ll encounter quite a few steps before hitting the bush path and creek crossing accessible via stepping stones.
You’ll also find wheelchair and pram access to stunning sections of the beautifully lit Lake Cave five minutes down the road. Lake Cave, Pic: Tourism WA
ENGELBRECHT CAVES, LIMESTONE COAST, SA
WHY GO? COMMANDING SINKHOLE ENTRANCE & UNIQUE DRY CAVE SYSTEM
It’s a real otherworld feel as you descend into Engelbrecht Caves, a curious sinkhole five minutes from Mount Gambier proper. Abandon suburbia via a wide board-walk incorporating platforms and 164 stairs in relative comfortable five storeys down. The formations within Engelbrecht Caves are unique in the region; rain no longer seeps through its walls classing the system as dry, despite brilliant jade-coloured pools within its two caverns.
In fact, these “dry caves” are, counter-intuitively, the only publicly-accessible dive points into Mount Gambier’s underworld. And if you’re lucky, you may even spot divers on our hourly-run tours. Pic courtesy Engelbrecht Caves
WHY GO? GLOW WORMS YEAR ROUND & PLATYPUS BREEDING GROUND
Twenty kilometres south of Ulverstone, you’ll find Gunns Plains Caves, where glow worms illuminate the walls year-round. Here, resident platypus chase freshwater lobster in the river that runs through the caves. Rock formations include glorious flowstone shown below.
The steps into the caves are deep and access is by tour only, but you’re sure to find a time that suits with up to six hour-long sessions a day.
KELLY HILL CAVES, WESTERN KANGAROO ISLAND, SA
WHY GO? KNOWLEDGEABLE GUIDES, FOSSILISED BONES & CLOSE TO KI FUN
A stop in at the caves within Kelly Hill Conservation Park really rounds out the day along Kangaroo Island’s fabulous South Coast Road. And you’ll find two tours on offer here: the family-friendly Show Caves as well as the Adventure Tour where rangers lead you through for fossilised bones.
WELLINGTON CAVES, NSW
WHY GO? MEGAFAUNA SITE, JAPANESE GARDENS, MINING RELICS ON MAJOR TOURING ROUTE
Cave crystal varieties, megafauna fossils and mining relics await the curious overlander at this glorious caving site next to a stunning Japanese garden. See half exposed megafauna fossils partially-recovered within the soil then learn about Phosphate mining back-in-the-day. Enjoy caravan park comforts onsite, too.