A beginner’s guide to adventure caving

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What is it? Adventure caving is for anyone who wants to head off the track and find their way through a “˜wild’ cave. Unlike the developed tourist caves, an adventure cave is usually negotiated by a series of crawls, climbs and squeezes.

Can anyone participate? Beginners should start by undertaking caving trips with experienced guides. There are a number of locations around Australia and New Zealand to choose from. If you enjoy exploring the wild caves, there are many clubs throughout Australia and New Zealand which you can join. You don’t have to be super-fit, but it is essential that you gain experience before tackling any of the more challenging caves.

How do you get started? A number of tourist caves in Australia now offer “˜off the track’ experiences for beginners. It’s best to book ahead. Where can you do it? Beginners can choose from several locations in Australia, including Jenolan and Wombeyan Caves in New South Wales, Mole Creek in Tasmania, Naracoorte in South Australia and Moondyne Cave in Western Australia. New Zealand also has several popular locations, with Waitomo on the North Island and guided adventure caves near Nelson, the West Coast and Fiordland in the South Island.

What do you need? Hard hats, overalls and harnesses are usually supplied by the tourist organisation you are caving with; check this when you book. Wear sturdy shoes, old, comfortable clothing and make sure you have a good breakfast to ensure your energy levels are high.

Find out more: Call the tourist information centre for the caves that you are planning to visit.

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