Near the township of Buchan, lies a honeycomb of caves full of spectacular limestone formations. Buchan Caves were formed by underground rivers cutting through limestone rock. The formations are created by water seeping through cracks and dissolving some of the limestone. The water then deposits the calcite in the presence of air and the calcite crystallises into some amazing decorations such as stalamites, stalactites, rimstone, flowstone, oolites etc.
Buchan is set within the pretty Snowy Mountains and the amazing Baw Baw National Park, and is the perfect place from which to explore the nearby caves. There are tours of the numerous show (or tourist) caves including Fairy Cave, Moon Hill Caves and Royal Cave. However, when LUMC is down at Buchan we are primarily interested in the sport caves which may require us to crawl, and worm our way through many a tight squeeze to get to some of the more fascinating areas.
Where is it?
Buchan is about 330km from Melbourne and north east of Bairnsdale. It takes about 4-5hrs to reach from Melbourne. We either stay in the National Park Campground or in Homeleigh, a caver owned Hostel. Both locations have shower and toilet facilities (and the shower is needed after a day of crawling through mud).Homeleigh has a nice kitchen, stove and wood fire that makes it a nice destination in winter. Even during summer Buchan can see sub-zero temperatures over night so make sure you bring warm clothes.
When we visit Buchan, the cost is typically a share of the petrol, accommodation and a share in the meals. This is often in the vicinity of $80-$100 for a weekend if we stay at Homeleigh. This is much cheaper than commercial operators that charge much more and do not include transport or accommodation. i.e. One representative commercial operator charges a minimum fee of $1540 plus $320 for each extra person for two days of caving.
What do I need?
You need all the caving gear outlined in the main caving page here plus the following items;
- Sleeping Bag
- Sheets to cover the beds
- Warm clothes (will be cold overnight)
- Thermals (if going into wet caves)
- Food (generally we share dinner but you will bring your own lunches and breakfast)
- Soap, Shampoo etc, you will get very dirty
- Something to drink (beer etc).