I should be a tour operator!

TASMANIA – MOLE CREEK – 13-19 January 2023
After four trips to Mole Creek, there’s not much that you haven’t seen in my photos, so I’ll keep the number down to just a few each day.  I guess what was actually blog-worthy were the logistics of getting everyone together and then managing between 8 – 12 people each day.  I was exhausted by the end of the trip!  I have a new respect for tour operators now.

It started on the first morning the 13th, first of all those of us walking the WoJ track broke camp at 7.30am and high-tailed it to the track head, the goal was to get there by 12 noon. Then it would take 30 minutes to retrieve the hire car from where we parked it, pack everything into it, then drive 30 minutes to Mole Creek caravan park.  Jim would then drop me and Omar & Kris at the caravan park (the boys would have a shower at the caravan park) whilst Trish, Jim and Onni drove up to Sheffield to pick up our surplus luggage that we’d left at the pub – a 1 hour round trip.

By the time they returned to the caravan park, we’d checked into the cabin at the caravan park, and Jim had a shower.  Then Jim, Kris, Omar and I set of for Launceston Airport (1 hour), picked up Marcia at the airport, dropped off Kris, and then drove to Launceston to drop off Omar (30 minutes).  Then Jim, Marcia and I headed back to Deloraine to pick up the cave keys and then on to Mole Creek (another hour).

I then had a shower whilst everyone repacked their big suitcases taking out their clothes for tonight and tomorrow’s caving.  By now it’s 6pm so we left the caravan park with our surplus big suitcases, dropped them off at the next night’s accommodation and then headed into Deloraine for dinner (and a glass or two of wine for me), then off we went to pick up John and Kathy G who were arriving at the airport at 8pm.

Once they were loaded up, we headed back to Deloraine and did some shopping for the next day and finally we’re back at the caravan park by 10pm.  Just writing about this day has made me tired!

Diamond & Kohinoor – Next morning we waited for our additional cavers (from other caving clubs in Tassie) and then headed up to these two caves.  I’d been to these caves the first time I came to Mole Creek, and was interested to return.  I have to say, I didn’t remember anything when we were in the caves, but they were pretty good.  Once we’d finished caving it was over to our accommodation for the rest of the trip, Mole Creek cabins and an absolutely fantastic house!

Descending Diamond, a handline is needed from the gate.

Bob P standing guard at the Diamond Gate (he’s one of my acquaintances from Tassie who joined us for the day.).

Kathy in Diamond (photo: John G)

Genghis – I’ve been to this cave three now, I have to say though that the cave didn’t live up to my memories!  Since I was last there, they’ve installed 2 boot washing stations and a lot of track marking – very good as it stops people from tramping over muddy areas and fragile areas.

This photo of John’s gives you an idea of the size of the cave, that’s me down the bottom.

Handline needed to come down the slippery rock – that’s me at the top. (Photo: John G)

Some of the formations for which this cave is renowned. (Photo: John G)

One of the lower caverns, highly decorated.

This threw me, there was a marked trail that I’d never been on before and I kept questioning myself – are we in the right spot?

More straws than you can count, this looks close to Kathy but it isn’t, and there’s an area in front of her that you can’t go into (Photo: John G)

This is my kryptonite – Kathy standing where you start and you have to step across to a ledge then over a gaping chasm to get where I am at the top, didn’t like it going down and really didn’t like it going back up – only way out though (Photo: John G).

Kathy exiting the cave.

Lynds – Colder than I remembered but this time we walked up the river, rather than take the track through the farm land – river was nice, but farm land quicker.  The other group who were doing Croesus had a problem with the key, it didn’t fit the lock.  Organised with National Parks to get another key/lock and change them for Parks.

You’ve got to hand it to John, he takes the BEST photos!

Today was “John and the girls” so he took a group photo of us.

I have to say, when looking at these photos, I’m thinking that the cold was worth it!

Trish modelling for John this time!

Me on my way back down to the river.

You had to be very, very careful on this section of the streamway.

Croesus – Key and lock all sorted in the morning.  Colder than I remembered, I felt like I was walking out on blocks of ice, couldn’t wait to get back to the car and into dry clothes.

At the Croesus Gate, the one they had so much trouble with!

I love the way there are all these gour pools, and the water is (usually) crystal clear.

Fabulous formations, if the water wasn’t so cold I’d go to this cave as often as I could.

These large flow-stones don’t go all the way down beyond the water, the water has dissolved what’s beneath them.

Making their way up the streamway.

This is a rally special spot, photographed by everyone.

You can see that the gour pools are a bit cloudy now, that’s from us walking upstream, you try to keep to the edges (which are like cement) but from time to time you have to drop down into the sediment.

The Rocket Ship.

Baldocks, My Cave & Sasafrass – For our trip there was an issue with access, so we ended up walking quite a distance to get to the caves, it was a nice walk though and these caves always deliver. Baldocks was especially interesting, there’d been a rain event over the past few months and there had been a lot of water in the cave, flooding a lot of it and there was much mud around.  I didn’t go into Sasafrass, instead Marcia and I walked back to the car, it was all up hill so we wanted a start on everyone else.

Dropping down into My Cave, a nice cave, but I’d been there before. The interesting part is getting out, very muddy slope and than a nasty 2m climb, Janice took us through My Cave and very thoughtfully brought along an Etriea for me to use!

The entrance to Baldocks cage showing the equipment that was used to create the ascetaline gas to light the cave in the early 1900s

This is one of the many reflectors they used in the tourist cave to light up the formations (this is pre caving lights LOL).

Walking along the trench that the early cave owners built so that tourists could come through, the amount of formations that they would have destroyed is mind blowing.

Nice straw formations.

One of the lower parts of the cave, this would have been flooded during the last rain event.

Honeycomb 2 – I’d been to Honeycomb 2 last time but Claire C offered to take us to parts we’d not seen before so I was very keen.  This cave is just what it’s called, a honeycomb of holes and chambers, it would be easy to get lost.  Honeycomb 1 is a tourist cave (anyone can get into it easily) but Honeycomb 2, whilst not off limits, it’s not one for a tourist.

Dropping into Honeycomb 1.

Very big chambers.

And a section that you can chimney to get to another area. I didn’t do it this way, I took a less risky route.

Many of the chambers open out into a ferny area.

I love this canyon in the rock, you can go up and down it, or there’s an alternate route.

When it came to this gaping chasm, I decided to turn around and go back. I’d been to the other side last time (using a sketch ledge), but decided I didn’t have to go any further.

In Honeycomb 2, we explored a great underground streamway. We took Claire where she hadn’t been before, so good exploring opportunity.

Very old formations, look like shawls.

So, back to the house and cleaning up, then packing for our trip home.

No-one was sure that we’d get all our gear into the people mover, plus 7 people, but Trish did an amazing job of packing the vehicle, and we got everything in.

I had to have my feet up on one of my bags, but after the first stop, they moved my bag elsewhere and I could put my feet down. Note, the cargo gear at the back of me, packed to the rooftop!

A big thanks to Jim for suggesting the Mole Creek adventure and for everyone who put their hand up for it.  A great trip, I think everyone enjoyed it, looking back I had a really good time, but sometimes was overwhelmed by trying to herd cats (lol).

I hope someone else puts on another Mole Creek trip, it’s certainly worth it.

Thank you everyone for your humour and patience, and a big thanks to John and Onni for their photos (some of which I haven’t credited, but am sure you’ll forgive me).

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