Gunns Plains Caves

Useful Information

Location: 20km south of Ulverstone. Gunns Plains Road.
Open: All year daily 10, 11, 12, 13:30, 14:30, 15:30.
Closed 25-DEC.
Fee: Adults AUD 12, Children (6-17) AUD 6, Seniors AUD 10, Family AUD 35.
Groups (10+): Adults AUD , Children AUD .
Classification:  Karst cave,  river cave.
Light: 24V LED
Guided tours: D=40min, L=325m, V=10,000/a[2006].
Bibliography: Anon (1929): Gunn's Plains Cave near Ulverstone Tasmania, An 8 page brochure with 6 photos, published by the Tasmanian Government Tourist Bureau, Hobart, Tasmania. [Reprinted in the] Journal of The Sydney Speleological Society, 2007 Vol 51, (7), pp. 212-215.
Address: Gunns Plains Caves, Geoff and Trish Deer, Gunns Plains Road, Tel: +61-3-6429-1388.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
Last update:$Date: 2015/08/30 21:52:01 $


1906discovered by possum hunter Bill Woodhouse.
06-JAN-1909opened to the public.
1918proclaimed a State Reserve.
2003begin of renovation of walkways and electric light.
2009centenary with the inauguration of the new light system.


The area of Gunns Plains is named after Ronald Campbell Gunn (04-APR-1808 to 13-MAR-1881), a famous botanist and early explorer of Tasmania. Today Gunns Plains is a small farming community with a cave of the same name.

The Guns Plains Cave was discovered in 1906 by the possum hunter Bill Woodhouse. Only three years later it was opened to the public, which makes it Tasmanias oldest show cave. It is reputed that his dogs fell into a hole which was an entrance to the cave.

This is the oldest show cave of Tasmania and was opened to the public in 1909. So in 2009 is the centenial of the show cave. The tourist paths and the light system of the cave is renovated at the moment and the light system is almost complete [2008]. Light bulbs are replaced by 24V light emitting diodes (LED). They need much less energy, and emit much less warmth and also light of less energy. This will reduce the energy costs and the impact on the cave environment. The lower level of light available for photosynthesis will reduce the amount of lamp flora.

The cave is entered down a steep flight of 54 concrete steps. From this point the cave is almost flat except for a short ladder. At some places the floor may be wet and slippery, so good walking shoes are recommended. The cave contains many troglobites, like fresh-water fish, lobsters, eels, platypus and glow-worms. However, most of the animals, including the Giant Freshwater Lobster, live in the underground river of the cave.

The most famous sight of the cave are the extraordinary shawls or curtains, thin curtain-like speleothems which are translucent and have characteristic stipes. This stripes are the reason why they are also called bacon rinds or ribbons. The biggest of those formations on the tour is said to be the largest formation of its kind on earth. As far as we know nobody ever collected a list of curtain formations, so we doubt the reliability of this cave record, but the size of the formmation is definitely extraordinary and worth a visit.

See also

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