Sometimes, it pays to do a bit of digging...
Australia has a wealth of fascinating cave systems, many of which are easily accessible to the public and often complete with guided tours.
It's time to head underground and explore an almighty assortment of captivating caves.
One of Australia’s most famous cave systems, this Blue Mountains wonder is also among the country's most striking. Eleven limestone caves boast a plethora of enthralling features and there are ample tour options to witness it all.
An area that escapes much attention, this reserve is home to a string of ancient limestone caves as well as native wildlife. Arch Cave is the standout and is bursting with stalactites, stalagmites, columns, and more. The reserve is 100km east of Forbes.
Stay at: BIG4 Forbes.
This gem, located in the Yass sub-region, has appeal both above ground and underground. Head below to view gobsmacking crystal formations or stay above the surface to witness extraordinary examples of ‘fluting’ (a weathering effect).
A sequence of outstanding features, including the southern hemisphere’s largest natural arch, makes this reserve a must-visit. While here, learn about the area’s captivating link with bushrangers. The reserve is 75km from Bathurst.
Stay at: NRMA Bathurst.
Cathedral and Gaden caves are the headliners here and are both impressive creations. View stunning calcite crystal formations and take the opportunity to tour a phosphate mine while you’re at it. Wellington is 90km east of Mudgee.
Stay at: BIG4 Mudgee.
A series of spectacular show caves can be explored within Wombeyan Karst Conservation Reserve: these limestone creations are estimated to be between 400 and 430 million years old. The reserve is 75km north of Goulburn.
Stay at: BIG4 Governor's Hill, Goulburn.
Uncover ancient limestone caves that are dominated by dazzling decorations, located in a park that teems with exquisite landscapes. Guided and self-guided tours are available.
Delve into glorious limestone caves and unmask abundant stalagmites and stalactites while keeping watch for bats and harmless brown tree snakes that call this area home. This is the Northern Territory’s only publicly accessible tropical limestone cave.
Stay at: BIG4 Breeze – Katherine.
Capricorn Caves defy the norm – these limestone treasures are located above ground. An interesting selection of flora and fauna, various tour options and events, and wheelchair accessible caves make this a visitor attraction with broad appeal. The caves are 30km north of Rockhampton and 45km west of Yeppoon.
Stay at: NRMA Capricorn Yeppoon.
All sorts of mind-boggling features ensure these limestone caves make for a gripping sight. View stalactites and stalagmites, columns and calcite crystals, and much more. The caves are not the only gems to see at this prized national park – check out captivating creations such as Balancing Rock as well as Aboriginal rock art. Find the caves 210km west of Cairns.
First explored in the 1880s, this attraction features a series of limestone caves that is located below the city. Learn about this detailed cave system and why the site has immense appeal for divers.
Stay at: BIG4 Blue Lake.
This beauty features incredible speleothems (cave deposits) that show off wonderful pink and brown hues. Tantanoola Caves Conservation Park is 30km west of Mt Gambier.
Stay at: BIG4 Blue Lake.
Completing the trifecta of caves found within South Australia’s Limestone Coast region, this Naracoorte gem offers a jaw-dropping experience. Gaze in awe at majestic stalactites and stalagmites and uncover ancient fossils that are so significant the site has earned World Heritage status.
Stay at: BIG4 Naracoorte.
Calcite shawls and glow-worms are among the eye-catching features to be found within this popular cave. Interpretive guided tours of this attraction make for an entertaining experience. Gunns Plains Cave is 30km south of Ulverstone.
Stay at: BIG4 Ulverstone.
Newdegate Cave is the star attraction in these parts and this dolomite beauty is the largest of its kind in the country. While here, take advantage of the reserve’s thermal springs pool, which is especially appealing in the cooler months. The caves are 100km southwest of Hobart.
More than 300 caves and sinkholes dominate this area, highlighted by King Solomons and Marakoopa caves. Both are packed with outstanding features, and Marakoopa’s dazzling glow-worm display is not to be missed. Mole Creek is 75km from Launceston.
A succession of limestone caves is found in this Gippsland location, headed by Fairy and Royal caves. Royal Cave possesses extravagant calcite-rimmed pools that make for a magnificent sight. The reserve is 55km north of Lakes Entrance.
Regarded as the state’s most extensive lava caves, these treasures are loaded with remarkable features. As far as caves go, this collection is relatively young – estimated to be formed ‘just’ 8000 years ago. The caves are 70km from Port Fairy or 90km from Warrnambool.
Stare in wonder at an assortment of stalactites, stalagmites, and helictites that makes this one of the most impressive caves in Australia. It’s found near the VIC-SA border and roughly 30km from Mt Gambier.
Stay at: BIG4 Blue Lake.
More than 150 caves are spread across an area known as the Leeuwin Naturaliste Ridge and a handful of them make for captivating tours. Lake, Jewel, Mammoth and Ngilgi caves – as well as Moondyne Cave (limited hours) – all showcase sparkling individual elements.
More than 400 caves are located within these confines, headed by Crystal Cave. This limestone creation is dominated by striking stalagmites. Yanchep is spotted 55km north of Perth.
Stay at: BIG4 Perth.