Location of Buchan Caves in Victoria
|Location||East Gippsland, Victoria, Australia|
|Length||3–4 kilometres (1.9–2.5 mi)|
|Show cave opened||Fairy Cave
|Show cave length||400 metres (1,300 ft)|
The Buchan Caves are a group of limestone caves that include the Royal Cave and the Fairy Cave, located south-west of Buchan, in the East Gippsland region of the Australian state of Victoria. They have a total length of between 3 and 4 kilometres (1.9 and 2.5 mi), and six entrances.
The Buchan Cave Reserve has been transferred back to the Gunaikurnai Nation and is jointly managed with the state.
The limestone rock at Buchan was laid down during the Devonian period about 300 – 400 million years ago. At the time, the sea covered this area of East Gippsland which was alive with shellfish and coral. Their remains were deposited in layers and over the years compacted to form limestone. The caves were formed by solution of the limestone.
The caves are a major tourist attraction for Buchan and for East Gippsland. Daily tours are conducted in Royal Cave and Fairy Cave. Royal Cave features calcite-rimmed pools and in Fairy Cave features elaborate stalactites and stalagmites. Both caves are lit, have walkways and have a constant temperature of 17 °C (63 °F) making it a comfortable temperature all year round.
The Buchan Caves are situated within the Buchan Caves Reserve. There is access to short and long walks in the surrounding bushland and the nearby Snowy River National Park. The area is surrounded by trees and wildlife, including over 60 species of birds including bellbirds and lyrebirds. Amenities include campsites and cabins, picnic ground, playground and an information centre.
The caves were accidentally made a reserve in 1887, as they were on land set aside for stock camping. The government commissioned an exploration of the land and, on the recommendation of the geologist Albert Ernest Kitson, reserved the area to protect the caves (for geological and limited recreational use).
In 1907, Frank Moon reported back about the Fairy Cave which was then opened to the European public later that year, though Aborigines were not allowed. Royal Cave was mapped in 1910 by Frederick Wilson and after an entrance tunnel was excavated, it was opened to white visitors in 1913. The Caves Reserve was set out and planted mostly in the late 1930s.
- "The Buchan Caves Area". Victorian Resources Online. Government of Victoria. 2 May 1966. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
- "Buchan River: 11722". Vicnames. Government of Victoria. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
- Duckeck, Jochen. "Buchan Caves". Show Caves of the World. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- "Buchan Caves Reserve: park notes" (PDF). Parks Victoria. August 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
- Visit Victoria Buchan Caves
- "Buchan Caves Reserve". Explore national parks. Parks Victoria. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
- Kitson, Albert (1907). "Proposed Reservation of Limestone Caves in the Buchan District, Eastern Gippsland". Records of the Geological Survey of Victoria. Volume 2, Part 1. pp. 37–44. (Note: Kitson's report was written in 1900 and published in 1907).
- Parks Victoria Buchan Caves Reserve
- "Buchan Caves Reserve, Victorian Heritage Register (VHR) Number H1978, Heritage Overlay HO241". Victorian Heritage Database. Heritage Victoria. Retrieved 2010-09-16.