Maps: LPI Cudal 8631S and Molong 8631N
Gear: Daypack, Torch, Camera, EPIRB, GPS (set to WGS84), 1.5 litres water
Party: Peter Medbury and Geoff Fox
This was my 3rd visit to the Tunnel Cave. Geoff had never been there before although he had visited Borenore Caves many times in the past.
The Tunnel Cave is a long, dark passage, about 110 metres long, which emerges from the base of a large hill. The top entrance looks like it was formed when the roof collapsed and created a sink hole. The sink hole is about 30 metres higher than the entrance at the bottom of the hill. The cave probably went a lot further once but any other passages are blocked.
It is very, very dark inside the Tunnel Cave. A good torch is essential. I'd recommend a head torch to keep hands free for balancing and climbing.
Common Bent Wing Bats hibernate in the Tunnel Cave during winter. The Tunnel Cave is closed from May to October each year so these vulnerable bats are not disturbed. Guano in the cave supports a diverse population of invertebrates.
The walk out to the Tunnel Cave is quite short, just under 3.5 kilometres. For most of the way the track winds along beside the upper reaches of Boree Creek. Its a very pretty creek when it is full. I've seen trout swimming in the creek in the past and caught some very good fish a few kilometres further on downstream. This time Boree Creek was quite dry.
I was really surprised by the weeds. They were very thick and often taller then me. As we pushed through them the pollen drifted away like snow flakes. So different to the bush I'm usually walking in.
The track was once well formed, almost like a farm road. Where it crosses the creek, close to the cave, you cross an old foot bridge. Maybe a long time ago the Tunnel Cave received a lot more visitors. Today the bridge is almost derelict and the track is heavily overgrown.
There are large rock faces exposed in the hillside along the track. In some you can see dark holes, suggesting mysterious caves, begging to be explored. But they go nowhere. Maybe they did once... or maybe they might in the future.
Borenore Caves is quite a large complex. There are lots of real caves back in the hills, tagged, gated and locked.
The Borenore Tunnel Cave is at the base of a large bluff on the southern side of the creek. As you approach you can see several entrances. The entrance to the Tunnel Cave is the lowest portal. While it is possible to look down into the start of the Tunnel Cave from the upper chamber, the lower entrance is the only one that should be used.
The Tunnel Cave was created by Tunnel Creek, an ephemeral stream running through the hill. When the creek is running, Tunnel Cave can be quite wet.
The creek has eroded a deep channel in the first part of the tunnel. When the creek is full, it is very easy to get wet in this section. No disasters today though.
Next the cave opens up into a large chamber followed by a long passage, filled with water. Again we were able to keep dry.
All the usual cave formations can be seen in the Tunnel Cave - shawls, columns, stalactites, stalagmites and flowstone. Some were old and dry. Others had just the tinest hint of water flow and tiny stalagtites growing. Almost everything was coloured brown. Guano was evident at several places.
Near the end of the cave there is another large pool. Again, no catastrophes.
The way out gradually revealed itself to us as we approached the sink hole. Light from the outside world was throwing a dim light across the whole base of the sink hole.
It was an easy climb out. There were lots of good hand holds and spots for feet. There was a bit of a stretch across the top but it wasn't too hard. Blackberries were a problem but they were not as bad as the last time I was here.
We took our packs off once we were out of the cave and had a quick snack. Afterwards we spent a bit of time exploring the area. Mystery everywhere. Holes where the ground had sunk. An arch that we could walk through. Huge rocks we could climb which offered even better views..
But eventually, after exploring as much as possible we had to head back to reality. We too a round about route that let us have another look at the strange landscape but took us back down to the track, just near the bridge.
Thunder clouds had been building up while we were on top of the hill and the weather looked ominous. We hurried back along the track. When the heavens opened up it was time for the wet weather gear. We were pretty damp by the time we made it back to the car.
We changed as quickly as we could into warm dry clothing. With all the rain we weren't able to look at any of the attractions in the area.
Still, it was a very interesting day. And close to home too.
|10:30||Leave Borenore Caves Car Park||GR 802 187|
|11:30||Enter Tunnel Cave||GR 789 199|
|12:30||Exit Tunnel Cave||GR 787 199|
|14:00||Back at Borenore Caves Car Park||GR 802 187|