Caving in Victoria: discover the state's most underground club

A person admiring the stalagmites and stalactites in a cave

Nicola Dowse

Posted March 27, 2023

From Buchan to Byaduk, Victoria is a prime location for tourists and cavers alike who are searching for an adventure with the potential for discovery. 

The hidden nature of 'spelunking' (the activity of cave exploration) combined with the mysterious perception of the pastime has kept the number of cavers in Victoria steady over the years. 

While caving can be considered an ‘extreme sport,’ it's an extremely safe sport according to Tom Maggs, one of the Vice Presidents of the Victorian Speleological Association (VSA) - a club founded in 1967 dedicated to the sport of caving.

“It’s amazingly safe if done in a controlled manner,” says Tom. 

There’s not a lot that should go wrong while you’re under there. Caves have taken millions of years to form and the odds of them collapsing while you’re there are quite small.”

There are caves scattered throughout Victoria, including many near RACV Resorts. Here's everything you need to know to go caving in Victoria.

Please note: Buchan Caves are currently closed to the public due to flooding. 

A person abseiling into a dark cave

Caving is safe activity when done properly. Photo: Nadine Muresan.

Victoria’s most underground club

Unlike similar sports like rock climbing, caving has remained, pun intended, somewhat underground. 

Crawling in the dark while getting dirty and damp isn’t how everyone wants to spend their leisure time, but for Tom and the thousands of people who explore Victoria’s caves every year, there’s no place you’d rather be. 

Getting your start in caving is easier than you might think. The VSA has members aged 18 through to 80, with those in their seventies still going underground on trips. The burden of equipment is also low for beginners, who need only a rock-climbing helmet, waterproof head torch, small hand-held torch, and some old or second-hand overalls you don’t mind getting messy. 

“Anyone can walk up a hill, but crawling around under the ground?” says Maggs. “The appeal isn’t just activity. The adventurous activity gets people in but whether people develop an interest in geology or the fauna, flora, geomorphology, palaeontology... there are so many different aspects once people start caving that often keeps them around for many years.”

Tom is hesitant to classify caving as a sport in the traditional sense.  

“Caving is a sport, but I don’t like to think of it as one,” he says. “I don’t like to think of It as a race or a competition against other people. Rather it’s more of a collaborative effort to discover and push further than we have before.”


A person backlit in the dark at Federal Cave, Buchan

The VSA have worked with Parks Victoria to install solar-powered lighting including Federal Cave. Photo: Thomas Maggs. 

Caves to explore in Victoria

Victoria is home to two main types of cave: volcanic caves in the west, and limestone caves primarily in the state’s east. There are still more caves to discover across the state too, as well as discoveries to be made inside the caves themselves. 

“The head of Melbourne Museums paleo collection, Tim Ziegler, is a member of VSA and we’ve done some removals recently of megafauna bones,” Tom says. 

Below are some of Victoria’s best-known caves, with varying levels of accessibility and difficulty. 

Britannia Creek Caves 

Located: 30-minute drive from Healesville

Just a short drive from RACV Healesville Country Club and Resort are the Britannia Creek Caves. With a ‘Creek’ in the title, you can expect to get damp and muddy as you crawl through the caves' several tight spaces and discover an underground river network. 

Your efforts will be rewarded with stunning fungi and insects, including glow worms. The caves can be explored solo, but unless you’re an experienced caver, the safest way to explore is via a guided tour.


People admiring Buchan Caves

Parks Victoria also run tourist-friendly tours inside the state's best known cave system, Buchan Caves. Photo: Visit Victoria. 

Buchan Caves 

Located: East Gippsland, 40-minute drive from Lakes Entrance

The Buchan Caves are easily the state’s best known cave system. 

The two publicly-accessible caves are Fairy and Royal Cave, both of which must be explored on a guided tour (book your tickets online in advance). 

Inside you’ll find limestone formations, stalagmites, stalactites, and an underground stream dating back more than 400 million years.

Both caves feature steps and uneven ground but can be traversed without having to crawl (some stooping is required in parts). Royal Cave is the easier tour if you have reduced mobility. 

Please note: Buchan Caves are currently closed to the public due to flooding.

Byaduk Caves 

Located: Southern Grampians, one-hour drive from Port Fairy

You’ll be stepping inside a volcano when you step inside the Byaduk Caves. When Mount Napier erupted 10,000 years ago the consequent lava flows created caves you can visit today. 

You can walk inside the caves, which are interconnected by walkways and extend up to 20 metres below the surface. The ground is uneven and sometimes slippery, plus there may be some rocks you’ll need to climb over depending on which cave. 

Take care to be quiet while exploring the caves to avoid startling the colony of bats that live there (don’t shine your torch directly on them).


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