Wombeyan Caves

the bush around Wombeyan from Cameron Rocks outlook.

Wombeyan Caves are located in a 345 hectare reserve in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. In the Wombeyan Sanctuary splendid variety of wildlife, wildflowers and native shrubs is to be seen. The caves are visited by 30,000 visitors per year [2000].

There are five caves at Wombeyan open for public inspection:

The limestone caves at Wombeyan were discovered in 1828 by a party that were in search of grazing land. Members of this party were the explorer John Oxley, John Macarthur, a pioneer of the Australian wool industry, and the N.S.W. Surveyor General.

They started in Berrima and travelled from Mittagong to Wombeyan, about the same route the road takes nowaday. They camped on the fifth night near Victoria Arch. On the morning they found the Archway while looking for their straying horses. But the party did not enter any of the caves. The first man who entered the caves was a clergyman called Denning. He explored a section of the ShowcaveFig Tree Cave.

The first caretaker of the Wombeyan Caves was Charles Chalker, he was appointed by the Government. He discovered three of the main caves (ShowcaveWollondilly Cave, ShowcaveKooringa Cave and ShowcaveMulwaree Cave) and made major contributions developing the caves. The caves were visited using candlelight and magnesium. In the year 1928 the first caves were illuminated electrically.


1828 discovered by the party of the explorer John Oxley and John Macartur.
1865 Charles Chalker discovered three of the main caves: ShowcaveWollondilly Cave, ShowcaveKooringa Cave and ShowcaveMulwaree Cave.
1928 first electric light.