Last wild caving for the year

NORTHERN NSW – 2 – 4 October 2020
With all wild caving in National Parks still off limits, we were looking around to do some caving ANYWHERE, and Rod approached a regional caving club who were generous enough to agree to take us to some caves on private property, so, we were off!

David S was going on the trip, so I was very fortunate that I could hitch a ride up with him, as it was a long drive.  Thanks David for driving.

Beautiful weather, and stunning cattle country, wasn’t overly fond of the long grass though, definitely snake country!

We were a large group, with members of three different clubs, because there were so many of us, we split up into two or three groups, and tried to social distance as much as we could.

The entrance was pretty easy, except for a canyon-like section that I found a little challenging. The cave varied dramatically, squeezes and then sections that you could just walk through.

Our guide, Philip was a wealth of information and led us in the lower exit and out the upper exit.

A few small climbs.

Lots of fossils to look at (Cathi is our expert on fossils).

And this challenging little squeeze/crawl.

Jai exiting the crawl, this was Jai’s first wild cave, I think he liked it!

Whilst we didn’t go near the bat roost, the bats were flying around the place, I’m guessing that there were thousands (probably bent-wing bats), I managed to capture them in the top of this photo.

What surprised me the most in this area (which was basically a big pile of rocks), was the amount of primary formation (formed when water had eroded the sandstone/limestone) and the amount of formations (like these pictured here). For a cave with not much water around now, there must have been heaps of water flowing through this eons ago.  When we were climbing out of the top of the passage-way, there were quite a few examples of flow-stone (photo: Jai).  More photos by Jai follow.

I also got to try out my new caving light, must remember in the future to turn the light off as I kept getting these spot-lit areas on all my photos!

Out of the cave! I had the opportunity to go to this cave again on the Sunday but gave it a miss. The squeezing and crawling in a really dusty cave with lots of bats and guano wasn’t appealing. However, I did really like this cave and would definitely go back again, but next time I’ll take a face mask.

On Monday Philip took us to another area, we couldn’t go underground as this area is a National Parks asset, but, we were able to take a good look around to see what was on offer should we decide to come back her for some wild caving.

Philip taking us to our first cave entry.

And the next one, looked a bit squeezy.

Another different cave, looks like one of those birthing caves.

And the last one, well up the hill and a 3 – 4 scramble down some rocks.

I am battered and bruised from the crawls we had to do on Saturday – and kept thinking (as I was crawling and squeezing through the endless passages), maybe I should just stick to the caves that you can walk through!  A few days have passed now and I’m rethinking my position, yes, I’d definitely go back to this area.  There are some lovely spots that we could camp, and a trip in the winter would be great (when the snakes aren’t out and about).

Thanks Phil (and Tom) for taking us through the caves, and thanks Rod for putting the trip on and thanks Jai for the photos.

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2 Responses to Last wild caving for the year

  1. John L'Estrange says:

    It is great that you all had a good time with the bats! (and good weather, too)
    I am hors-de-combat again for at least 3 weeks (biopsy suspect) from today so my plans for Ettrema are again deferred – Grrr

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