Geocaching Adventure – Byaduk Caves

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August 28, 2018
Point Smythe
September 17, 2019
 
Geocaching Adventure #01 - Byaduk Caves, Hamilton

T Today looks like a great day for an adventure!. That said my first official adventure!

So after many months of inactivity (I think its almost been a year!). I have decided to try and kickstart a series of VLOG videos on my youtube channel but i will also share my stories here.

So it is the end of a cold June afternoon after finishing work early in Hamilton i decided to check out the Byaduk Caves, as there was a local Geocache that sparked my attention, A night before this i didn't even know this place existed, but what an amazing place this was, One of my first ever unguided caving adventures.

So the day started from Hamilton in Victoria and i took the Hamilton-Port Fairy Road, Southbound towards Port Fairy, and about 20km down the road you come to a town called Byaduk there's nothing really here except an intersection, once of which ways leads on down to the caves. On traveling down i come across an old guy who has parked his tractor right onto the road, Talk about living in the country. He gave me the most dirtiest look, i probably scared his sheep or something who knows. But i finally got down there to find a fairly quiet car-park with only 1 other vehicle with some creepy guy inside staring me down. He was probably wondering what i was doing with all my camera gear and drones stuffed in my backpack.

Finally arrived at the cave site i started the 1km circuit walk of the Park which is a section of the larger Mount Napier National Park, Leaving the exciting bits (The actual caves) for last, so i took an anti-clockwise walk around the circuit, firstly coming to a wall section, which was used by the early settlers for various reasons, these including break walls for bush fires, and fencing for livestock as well as keeping out rabbits as they were quite a plague back in the early days. After admiring this wall which was hand crafted from the local volcanic scorcia rock littered around the area, it was time to move along.

To the next section known as the Cave Bridge, which consisted of 2 crater type holes going a good 20 meters into the earth and chipping it away to create a bridge, Its not really safe to go into these holes along or without the correct climbing equipment as there are cliff faces all around this section, so i decided to take out the drone and have a fly around this area admiring it the best i could.

 
 
 

Next stop was Harmans #2 cave, which wasn't really all that exciting to be honest, most of the cave section has fallen down and the overgrowth has taken over, however a great scenic view of ferns and different types of mosses were to be seen, I'm not a geologist by a long shot so i cant really recall what the names from these plant spices were, but all the information was found on a nearby plaque.

The Next Cave Harmans #1 cave which is the accessible cave, the enjoyment of this trip so to speak, The main Byaduk cave, which was created by a volcanic stream from Mount Napier roughly 8000 years ago, reports say that early aboriginal settlers would have seen this volcano in full eruption, an awesome sight to see that would have been, if only it lasted for longer than the 4 weeks that it was active. The cave is accessible via a large opening roughly 10 meters high and 18 meters across, buried about 20 meters under the surface.

 
 
 

On going down into the cave, you will quickly notice it is quite steep getting into the cave mouth, but once you are there you will find an information sign about the batwing bats that live inside the caves, Unfortunately on my trip i wasn't able to see any bats inside but i wasn't going to make a disturbance to them so I just let them be, I slowly and quietly made my way into the cave deeper and deeper trying to be careful not to slip over as the rocks are very wet and slippery from the constant dripping of water coming from the ceiling, i continued down the cave for another 200 meters until i came to a dead end, which was closed shut due to cooling magma which solidified into a large rock. I turned my torch off for awhile and just admired the absolute darkness, and listened to the dripping sounds of the water. I did this for about 2 minutes until i started having crazy thoughts of what it would be like if the whole thing was to come crashing down on me, it was at that point i decided it was time to move. So i slowly made my way back out of the cave and back to the surface.

Once back out the weather turned for the worst and rain started tumbling down quite hard soaking me and my entire camera bag, i thought about retreating back to the cave until it passed over, but i retreated back to the car instead. I waited out the storm as i still haven't found this geocache located out here. I then dialed in on it and found it located under some scoria stones covered with quite an ecosystem of mosses growing on them. Cache was found, log book signed, and everything returned back into its usual location. I then took a walk around the edges of the Bridge caves to get a better look before heading back to the car.

 
 
 
Once back at the car i wasn't quite finished with adventure for the day, so i looked back at my geocaching application on my phone to find another cache close by, Up on the summit of Mount Napier. The drive to Mount Napier is definitely one for the 4wd's if you decide to take Harmans Road from the Hamilton-Port Fairy Rd, It is probably doable with a 2wd vehicle, but not in the wet rain i was stuck with. But following Harmans Road, then onto Menzies Pit Road you will eventually come to a parking area with signage showing the way to Mount Napier summit.

this walk is about a 1.5km return walk up to the trig point with an elevation gain of about 350 meters so its quite steep, but it has a few resting seats on the way up so you can chill out for a minute if you need to, But the climb for me was an interesting one, down in the car-park i saw blue skies and everything looked great, but up on the top of Mount Napier completely fogged out which i was sorta bummed about as i was looking forward to the views over the Harmans valley below. i found the Geocache i was looking for and also sign the logbook returned everything to its usual location as your meant to, but then i decided to walk to the trig point marker about 100 meters away, At this marker there is also a plaque honoring Major Thomas Mitchell, Quite an explorer he was back in the day.

After the completion of this cache it was time to head back to the car as i was running out of daylight really quickly, i just make it back in time and has to finish the driving out of the forest under spotlights from the car. Such a great place to visit with some interesting volcanic history behind it. Definitely glad i did this adventure.
 
Troy
Troy
Photographer, Editor/Admin of the Website!

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