Victoria contains over 800 known caves which may be broadly grouped as limestone caves, volcanic caves and marine caves. Although not large by world standards, Victorian caves often exhibit beautiful decoration, contain unusual geological features and provide a habitat for cave dwelling bats and other fauna. They also provide a source of recreation and research for members of the Victorian Speleological Association Inc. (VSA) which was formed as an amalgamation between the Victorian Cave Exploration Society and the Sub Aqua Speleological Society in 1967. More in-depth information about the club can be found on the publications page in the form of a poster with photos and text detailing the club’s history and achievements.
The main aims of the Association are:
- To explore, map and record caves in Victoria and elsewhere.
- To represent Victorian cavers.
- To foster the conservation of caves so that future generations may also enjoy them.
- To organize recreational trips into caves so that everyone has the chance to experience what is underneath the surface.
The VSA is a corporate member of the Australian Speleological Federation Inc. (ASF) which is part of the International Union of Speleology. As a member, VSA must adhere to the ASF code of ethics, risk management and cave safety standards. More information about these and other standards as well as other information relating to ASF can be found on the links page.
The VSA meets at 8.00pm on the first Wednesday of every month (except January and June) at St. Francis Church in Melbourne. This is a good time to discuss upcoming caving trips (amongst other topics) and express any interests or thoughts you may have. Each meeting also has at least one presentation either by a club member or an invited guest. These presentations may cover past caving trips with a short slide show, current scientific work done in the fields of palaeontology and/or geology or anything else cave related. See the calendar page for more details relating to upcoming meetings.
Club trips are conducted throughout the year, typically with one trip per month. Trips are usually conducted within Victoria spanning limestone, volcanic or sea cliff areas. In addition to this, each year there is often at least one major caving expedition undertaken by interested members that will have those exploring caves in remote areas around Australia as well as trips to large cave systems overseas. Expeditions that have occurred in the past include trips to the Nullarbor Plain, Pungalina, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand. Trips are constantly being organised so check the calendar page for trips that might interest you.
Though there are a number of publicly accessible caves throughout Victoria catering for all ages and ability, caving is not typically an easy stroll through an underground passage. It may and usually does involve getting extremely dirty as you crawl and squeeze your way through tight passages, swim through underground river systems, abseil or ladder down large cave shafts or aid/free climb to the top of an aven. Your efforts are often rewarded with the sight of fantastically shaped passages and cave decoration such as stalactites, stalagmites, helictites, rimstone pools, shawls and flowstone. Not to mention the thrill and excitement of possibly discovering a new cave or exploring a passage where nobody has ever been!