Explore a fascinating new world, hidden beneath the earth. Pretty crystals and spectacular natural formations shine with a special life of their own in the beam of your torch. Voices echo in the dark caverns, and you’ll feel a tingle of excitement as one of the privileged few to experience these mysterious spaces.
You’ll be surprised at how much there is to explore in Victoria’s cave systems. Discover natural rock formations that have taken thousands of years to develop. Be challenged by the maze of tunnels and grottos. You might even have an encounter with cave crickets or glow worms.
Caving is a demanding adventure, which could include some tight squeezes, rock falls and plenty of slippery mud. You don’t have to be super-fit, but you have to be prepared for a physical adventure. If you aren’t comfortable with enclosed spaces, darkness or mud, then you’ll need to rethink your caving goals.
Who can be involved?
The State Adventurous Activities Council approves caving as an adventurous activity for Scouts, Venturers, Rovers and Leaders.
For Joey and Cub Scout groups, you could consider an introductory activity with a commercially available tour group. Caving is not recommended as a programmed activity for these younger sections.
Badges and awards
Caving weekends are programmed regularly so Scouts can qualify for Vertical Stage 4-9; covering introductory, intermediate and advanced caving. Refer to your Scouts|Terrain account for more details on each stage. Completion of various stages are also a requirement of each Sections Peak Award and the Duke of Edinburgh Award.
Caving has many potential dangers, so guidelines have been developed by the State Adventurous Activities Council. It’s all about safety for the participants and preserving the delicate, irreplaceable cave environment.
All caving activities are supervised by an appointed Caving Guide.
Team Caving Trips
Scouts Victoria Caving Team trips are generally run on the second or third weekend of each month from February to November. Locations include Buchan, Mount Eccles or Portland, which are about a 4-5 hour drive from Melbourne. A few days are scheduled to caves closer to Melbourne, dependant on team availability.
The Trip Leader will choose the caves based on the capabilities of those involved. Caving activities at Buchan and Mount Eccles involve camping on the Friday and Saturday nights, so participants need to provide their own transport, tents, food and cooking gear. Portland has a Scout hall for accommodation.
The cost of these weekends covers camping fees and equipment. You’ll usually pay around $40 to $50.
Booking a trip is essential. Bookings open October 1 each year for the following year.
You will have to supply:
- Your own overalls or old clothes
- Sturdy boots
- A sturdy large torch or good quality head torch and new batteries
- An additional emergency source of light such as a pen torch
Bring a camera with flash so you don’t miss the unique selfie moments, and make sure it has a protective bag.
All Venturers and Scouts MUST be accompanied by their Section Leader.
Checklist for Group Leaders
Caving Guides must first be approved by the State Leader Caving, who’ll provide all the assistance and information required.
The Caving Leader must also be:
- A Commercial Caving Operator, approved by Scouts Vic. and having adequate insurance; or
- A qualified Scout Adventurous Activity Instructor (Caving); or
- A qualified Scout Adventurous Activity Guide (Caving) and who, in each case, is a current member or associate of the Australian Speleological Federation.
Minimum of one experienced Caving Guide for every five participants.
State Leader – Caving
Ian Barnard, email@example.com
Trip bookings for:
Venturers - firstname.lastname@example.org
Scouts - email@example.com