Gunns Plains Caves


Useful Information

Location: 25km south of Ulverstone. 46 Cave Road, Gunns Plains.
Open: All year daily 10, 11, 12, 13:30, 14:30, 15:30.
Closed 25-DEC.
[2009]
Fee: Adults AUD 17, Children (4-16) AUD 7, Seniors AUD 14, Students AUD 14, Family AUD 45.
Groups (10+): Adults AUD , Children AUD .
[2009]
Classification:  Karst cave,  river cave.
Light: 24V LED
Dimension: T=11°C
Guided tours: D=55min, L=500m, V=10,000/a[2006].
Photography: allowed, no tripod, not where glowworms are
Accessibility:  
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, 137a Winduss Road, Gunns Plains 7315, Tel: +61-3-6429-1388. E-mail: contact
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: 2015/11/20 13:15:08 $

History

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

Description

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 Gunns Plains Caves was discovered in 1906 by Bill Woodhouse. He was hunting possum in this area and the possum fell into a hole chased by his dogs. He retrieved the possum because there was a bounty on them, and so he discovered the cave. Only three years later it was opened to the public, which makes it Tasmanias oldest show cave.

The cave was opened to the public in 1909, so in 2009 was the centennial of the show cave. The tourist paths and the light system of the cave were renovated for this event. Light bulbs were replaced by 24V LEDs. The light system has so far [2016] survived two flood events with less damage than the manufacturers of the lights expected.

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 glowworms. 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 curtains, thin curtain-like speleothems which are translucent and have characteristic stipes. Here in Tasmania they are called shawls. The biggest of those formations on the tour is one of the biggest shawl formations known. As far as we know nobody ever collected a list of curtain formations, so this just a claim. The size of the formation is definitely extraordinary and worth a visit.