Explore Australia’s soul at these incredible cave formations.
Below the surface of Australia, mother nature continues to shape cave formations thanks to hundreds of thousands of years of flooding rains. Eventually, enough space is made for humans to crawl through – to capture the beating heart of this great nation of ours. After millions of years of irregular rain, caves can grow large enough to stand tall in.
As they say, all the best things take time…
And now, here you are, searching for the best caves that Australia has to offer. Well, you’ve come to the right place!
Below you’ll find our list of the 18 best caves to explore in Australia – spreading from far Western Australia to the east coast, and from Darwin to the depths of Tasmania. Pack your torch and jacket, slip on some comfy hiking boots, and let’s get you exploring!
What is the largest cave in Australia?
The largest cave in Australia is the Jenolan Caves in New South Wales.
The Best Caves in New South Wales:
Jenolan Caves, Blue Mountains
Jenolan Caves are a weekend getaway in and of themselves. Pitch a tent in the nearby campground or book yourself a cozy cabin and stay on-site at one of the largest caves in Australia. Yep, it’s that big! Jenolan Caves includes several cave systems to explore, from the Imperial Cave that follows an ancient underground riverbed, to Orient Cave which showcases an enchanting ‘crystal basin’. It’s a family-friendly location of epic proportions and a must-visit in 2022!
Abercrombie Caves, Abercrombie Karst Conservation Reserve
While Jenolan Caves are the most renowned, Abercrombie Caves are still absent from many New South Welshman’s minds. And we don’t think they should be. Located an hour’s drive south of Bathurst, Abercrombie Caves offers plenty of stunning scenery, including the largest natural limestone bridge called ‘the Archway’. As well as the caves, the surrounding area boasts plenty of trekking options, including one towards an abandoned open-cut gold mine.
Yarrangobilly Caves, Kosciuszko National Park
When one mentions Kosciuszko National Park, we immediately think of white snowy slopes and wintry conditions. It’s the famous ski fields of southern New South Wales! But the area is also spectacular during the summer, which even includes the Yarrangobilly Caves. Explore six caves and caverns, each sporting all sorts of dangling stalactites and far-reaching stalagmites. Of course, even in the summer, it’s recommended to bring a jacket.
The Best Caves in Victoria:
Buchan Caves, Buchan
Deep beneath the alpine region of Snowy River National Park are Buchan Caves, an underground maze of rock-forming cityscapes. Buchan Caves are made up of two major caves – Royal Cave and Fairy Cave – and they are best viewed on a guided tour. Expect calcite-rimmed pools and the usual piercing rock formations. While you’re here, check out the landscape above the ground, with luscious parklands and the Buchan River slicing it in half down the middle.
Hollow Mountain (Wudjub-guyan), Laharum
And the award for the most obvious named landmark goes to… whoever named Hollow Mountain! As expected, the mountain includes hollow space inside, which, in certain sections, offers the most spectacular views of the Grampians National Park and beyond. Oh, and a cavern or two as well! However, visiting Hollow Mountain is only recommended for reasonably fit individuals, as the walking track gets steep in some sections and involves a bit of rock hopping. But, it’s so worth it!
Princess Margaret Rose Cave, Lower Glenelg National Park
The Princess Margaret Rose Cave is in the far southwestern corner of Victoria, just above the Glenelg River before it gushes out to sea. It’s a shiny limestone cave that looks like an elven structure out of The Lord of the Rings. And it’s quite the hidden gem! Delve inside this 700,000-year-old cave, only just discovered in 1936, and treat your eyes to a myriad of stalagmites and stalactites, glistening wet from moisture.
The Best Caves in Tasmania:
Mole Creek Caves, Mayberry
Whether you’re visiting in the grips of winter or the balminess of summer, the Mole Creek Caves in northern Tasmania always sit at a nippy 9 degrees celsius. But despite the chill, the caves are visually stunning. Take a guided tour of Marakoopa Cave, which can include glow worms, underground rivers, and a ‘great cathedral’. There’s also King Solomon Cave which is perfect for all ages and levels of fitness.
Newdegate Cave, Hastings Caves State Reserve
While most of the caves on this list are limestone, the Newdegate Cave south of Hobart is one of the few dolomite caves in Australia. Dolomite is slightly harder than limestone but just as gorgeous in its white-grey colour. While there are plenty of stalagmites and stalactites to see, the best part about Newdegate Cave is the fascinating creatures within, with many never seeing the light of day. Surrounded by lush forest and a population of native animals, it’s a stunning Australian cave to visit this summer.
The Best Caves in South Australia:
Woolshed Cave, Talia
Tucked away on the northern end of Talia Beach is Woolshed Cave. It’s a large cavern excavated by thousands of years of running rainwater. And it’s divine on a warm summer’s day! Road access could get dusty, but there is a walkway and steps to get from the nearby road into the cavern. While you’re here, we recommend checking out The Tub, which is a large crater a few hundred metres south of Woolshed Cave. Thrill-seekers could climb down inside, but always take care!
Naracoorte Caves, Naracoorte Caves National Park
The Naracoorte Caves National Park is the only World Heritage-listed site in South Australia, boasting five different caves for all sorts of fitness levels but recommended for all sorts of curiosities. Trek through magnificent chambers and caverns, learn about the fossilised discoveries of ancient animals and witness a gliding bat or two through an infrared camera – the choice is up to you! As well as the caves, there is a cafe on-site, an adventure playground, a campground and an accessible loop walk.
The Best Caves in Western Australia:
Lake Cave, Forest Grove
You may know Margaret River as the best wine region in Western Australia, but they’re also home to some of the best cave systems within Australia. And Lake Cave is by far the most spectacular. It is aptly named for the gorgeous still lake that reflects the stalactites stretching down from above, as well as mirroring the literally named ‘suspended table’ – which looks like an upside-down cocktail round! Of course, getting here is half the fun, as you enter through the floor of a sunken forest.
Ngilgi Cave, Yallingup
Ngilgi (pronounced neel-gee) is another stunning cave system found in the Margaret River wine region. It boasts a decent one-hour tour through the various chambers, showcasing all sorts of stalactites, stalagmites and even a few delicate helictites – these ones somehow deviate from usual vertical growth. You can even spot a few shawls, which are thin sheets that form when water trickles down a rockface.
Jewel Cave, Augusta
To be honest, most of the best caves and caverns in Western Australia can be found in Margaret River. In fact, Jewel Cave is another top-rated tourist attraction! It is by far the largest cave in Western Australia and is the most-loved attraction according to Google reviews. Within three massive chambers you’ll find glistening crystal ornaments that dangle from the ceiling or sprout up from the floor. There’s also a cafe on-site to visit for lunch, featuring beautiful views of the nearby forest.
Mimbi Caves, Kimberley
Just a 90-minute drive from Fitzroy Crossing, the Mimbi Caves is a magnificent system that showcases the rich history of this great nation. What was once the site of the Devonian Great Barrier Reef over 350 million years ago is now a natural museum that showcases fish fossils and extensive Aboriginal rock art. Tours of the Mimbi Caves are guided by the local Gooniyandi people, who will show the natural wonders within, as well as the spiritual connection of Dreaming.
The Best Cave in Northern Territory:
Cutta Cutta Caves, Katherine
When it comes to caves and caverns in the Top End, one cannot look further than Cutta Cutta Caves in Katherine. As well as the expected limestone formations of stalactites and stalagmites, you may also be treated to the flutterings of five different species of bat, including the rare Ghost Bat! Oh, and you could also spot a harmless brown tree snake hugging a cave ledge. Nitmiluk Tours can guide you through the caverns every hour between 9am and 3pm, but there are other outside walks you could do at your own leisure.
The Best Caves in Queensland:
Capricorn Caves, Rockhampton
Capricorn Caves is so beautiful you could easily host your own wedding inside it. It’s true! There is one particular chamber called Cathedral Cave which looks like a quaint little church, laden with pews and an altar. And yes, you can book it for your future wedding. Aside from that, the Capricorn Caves are a delight to see, with guided tours running hourly. When your eyes are thoroughly satiated, satisfy your stomach at the local cafe and cool off with a swim in the on-site pool.
Chillagoe-Mungana Caves National Park, Mareeba Shire
The caves within Chillagoe-Mungana Caves National Park are part of the amazing wonder of the region. As well as stunning limestone caves, you can witness small galleries of Aboriginal rock art, jagged limestone outcrops, and a historic mining site. Underneath the gnarly ground you’ll find caves and caverns teeming with stalactites, stalagmites and flowstones (shawls). Join a ranger for a guided tour of the three main cave systems: Donna, Trezkinn, and Royal Arch.
Undara Caves, Undara Volcanic National Park
Undara is an Aboriginal word meaning ‘long way’ and, as the name suggests, the cave system is quite long. That’s because nearly 200,000 years ago, the volcano that sat nearby erupted so violently that it purged itself of all lava, leaving behind hollow tunnels. Hidden under a sprawling dry forest, this cave system is both beautiful on the inside and out. An incredible Australian cave; expect to see an array of greenery, as well as assorted animals from rock wallabies to insectivorous bats.
Fun Fact: Remember this saying: “Stalagmites might reach the top.” It’s a great way to tell the difference between stalagmites and stalactites!
We acknowledge the traditional owners of country throughout Australia and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging.