The Buchan Caves are located in the Gippsland region of Victoria, Australia and are a popular day trip from Lakes Entrance. The stunning caves are almost 400 million years old and you can’t help but feel you have been transported into a different world when you enter.
There are 2 caves that open for daily tours – Royal Cave and Fairy Cave – and both caves boast spectacular limestone formations (or decorations). Highly informative tour guides with a true passion for the cave system and its preservation will guide you through these mesmerising caves. Please note that access to the caves is by tour only.
Please check the Parks Victoria website before visiting as the caves might be closed, or have changed operating conditions due to Covid-19 restrictions.
The Buchan Caves Reserve not only has the caves, but also accommodation, camping grounds, walking tracks and plenty of wildlife.
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Is it worth doing both caves?
Originally we planned to only do 1 cave as we thought our 8 year old might get bored. But then as the good parents we are, we decided not to care, and purchased tickets to both caves. Did he get bored? Yep! But we loved both the caves and whilst he would have been happy to only do 1 cave, we still found it worth doing both.
Royal Cave Highlights
The Royal Caves have more “Wow” factor than the Fairy Caves with gorgeous formations/decorations and lots of wonderful viewing areas. This cave felt more delicate than the Fairy Caves and offered excellent photo opportunities.
Fairy Cave Highlights
What I loved most about the Fairy Caves was the feeling of exploration! There were lots of sections that required ducking down and moving through narrow walkways. This is something to consider if you are not very nimble! The Fairy Cave also has more steps than the Royal Cave. Our son challenged himself to get through the cave without having to bend, he almost made it, but had to lower his head in a few sections towards the end.
Narrow sections in the Fairy Caves.
Delights of the Royal Cave.
Before you visit Buchan Caves
Once you have purchased tickets to both caves (because the answer is “Yes, it is worth it!”) take the time to read the information provided by staff and in the information centre. To avoid damage to the caves you can’t take in strollers/pushers, backpacks, purses/handbags, baby carriers or anything bulky that might knock the cave walls.
If you are wearing a peaked hat/cap you will be asked to turn it backwards to avoid the peak hitting the wall. Just travel light and check with staff if you are not sure about an item.
Also, don’t rug-up! The caves are a comfortable 17oC and around 99% humidity. Combine that with 150-200 steps in each cave and you warm up very quickly!
Photography is allowed but be respectful and don’t hold up the tour group.
Stalactites clinging to the roof of the caves. Average formation rate is 1 cm per 100 years!
Stunning mini-world landscapes.
There is no cost difference for the caves, the prices in the tables below are directly from the Parks Victoria website.
Fees for single cave tour (Royal or Fairy)
|Family (2 adults, 2 children 5 – 16 years)||$64.70|
Fees for tours of both caves (Royal and Fairy)
|Family (2 adults, 2 children 5 – 16 years)||$96.60|
This information was current at the time of posting but please check with Parks Victoria for current costs and tour times.
Where to stay
Buchan Caves area
We stayed in a cabin in the camping ground which slept 5 (1 double bed, 1 x triple bunk) and had a nice deck looking out at the campground. Since we were the only people staying (yes, the ONLY people!) for the first night we had a lovely view of kangaroos, wombats, possums and deer at night, then lots of birds during the day. One other family arrived on our second night but it still felt as though we had the place to ourselves!
Update from Parks Victoria: “Buchan Caves Reserve has been severely impacted by the bushfires in East Gippsland on 30 December 2019. There was extensive damage to infrastructure and as a result the cabins and wilderness retreats are no longer available for booking. Current accommodation options in the reserve are Caves House and powered/unpowered camp sites.”
The campground has over 60 sites (combination of powered and un-powered) with a camp kitchen, barbeque area, laundry facilities, fire pits and playground. If you prefer “glamping” then check out the Wilderness Retreat hardstand tents.
Prefer a house? Then try the Caves House which is fully self contained and sleeps 8. For pricing and availability check the Parks Victoria website. Accommodation is also available in and around the Buchan township with a listing available on the Buchan Community website.
Many people stay in Lakes Entrance and do a day-trip to Buchan Caves but we love the camping area and enjoyed exploring the surrounding area. Another benefit of staying at the campgrounds is that the caves are only 500m walk away either along the road, or along the hillside. If you do stay in Lakes Entrance we have enjoyed stays at Esplanade Resort and Spa and Lakeside Motel Waterfront.
Cabin 1 with the better deck!
Little friends who came to visit.
Buchan Caves are around 4 hours from Melbourne in the East Gippsland region. As mentioned above Buchan Caves makes an easy day trip from Lakes Entrance – around 45 minutes one way. Getting to Buchan Caves to easiest by self drive as there is limited public transport.
EXPLORE | The Gippsland region has a never ending supply of beautiful locations to explore. Find more inspiration on the Gippsland destination page.
When to Visit Buchan Caves
The Buchan Caves Reserve is enjoyable at any time of the year, and the caves are open every day of the year except Christmas Day. Here are some insights into the benefits of visiting Buchan Caves at different times.
Summer (Dec – Feb) – warmer weather might make the icy-cold Buchan Pool worth a visit (note the pool is currently closed so check the Parks Victoria website before you visit). This pool is very very cold and is fed by an underground water stream with no heating. If you travel during Fire Danger Period (anytime between Sept – May) then make sure you stay updated with information on restrictions or warnings via the CFA.
Autumn (Mar – May) – a stunning time to visit with planted European trees turning golden…and who doesn’t love playing in fallen autumn leaves!
Winter (Jun – Aug) – whilst it gets cold and wet at this time of year, it is also very quiet and wildlife viewing is much better with less people around. I don’t enjoy camping in winter so we stayed in a cabin for the luxury of a heater.
Spring (Sep – Nov) – lovely time to visit with fresh plant growth and pleasant weather conditions (spring is my favourite season in Victoria!).
READ | Best time to visit Victoria Australia
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Views from the Moon Hill Walk.
Walkway from camping area to caves along the hillside.
Buchan Caves Reserve is managed by Parks Victoria and there is plenty of information on the website.
Interested in doing some walks? There are a range of walks around the Buchan Caves Reserve which are detailed in the Visitor Guide. The Gippy Explorer blog has a great review of the Moon Hill Walk which is an enjoyable walk with gorgeous views over the rolling landscape.