Caving is a great way to meet new people and try something different. Also called spelunking, speleology or potholing; caving involves exploring underground passages, caverns and shafts. It can involve walking, climbing and crawling in a variety of caves, some dry, some wet, some dusty, some muddy, some warm and some cold. Some caves have beautiful features and others are more sporty. Luckily SUSS runs trips to all these kind of caves.
What does an average trip look like?
Head to the caving area, picking up groceries and dinner on the way. If you are getting a ride from another SUSS member they will likely pick you up from a convenient train station. When you arrive, set up your tent or claim a bunk if you are at Jenolan. The rest of the evening is usually spent getting to know others on the trip.
Breakfast is followed by a discussion with the trip leaders as to what caves we will be visiting and allocating groups. If it is your first caving trip then the trip leader will let you know which group you will join, which ensures you are in a group appropriate to your ability and experience. Once you have been on a few trips you will have more choice as to which caves you would like to explore.
After being assigned to a group it is time to gear up for the day including packing your lunch. Your trip leader will check you have packed everything you need for the day.
We tend to set off to the caves around 9.30am and will be underground for between 4 and 8 hours so make sure your lunch is suitable for eating in a cave.
After an exciting day in the caves it is back to the campsite/hut for dinner and depending on the campsite, a shower.
Breakfast, then decide on groups for the day and gear up including lunch. Leaving for the caves around 9am, we tend to get back to the campsite/hut around 4pm to pack up or clean the hut then head home.
What to pack
- A spare torch and batteries (all cavers must have TWO independent light sources for every trip, with batteries in each)
- If you borrow a torch from SUSS you must bring AT LEAST 8 AA batteries to use in it. (Preferably alkaline).
Important to have
- Overalls or long-sleeved shirt and pants that can get damaged
- Clothing to wear under overalls (usually thermals)
- Footwear (gumboots, dairy boots, volleys or any footwear that can get damaged and has good grip)
- Gloves (cotton with latex/rubber covering is best)
- A water bottle for the cave (min. 600mL, preferably 1L)
- A sturdy, cheap lunchbox or other container for lunch that can get knocked around
Nice to have
- Kneepads (elbow pads are recommended if you bruise easily)
- Socks (preferably not cotton)
- A camera if you have one (shockproof and waterproof) – remember to bring spare batteries and a waterproof bag/case if you are doing wet caves or canyons
- First aid kit – Your Trip Leader has a current first aid certificate and will be carrying a full first aid kit, however you may wish to bring a personal kit with band-aids, bandages, headache tablets, etc
- Tent (available to borrow from SUSS if you don’t have one)
- Sleeping mat (available to borrow from SUSS if you don’t have one)
- Sleeping bag (available to borrow from SUSS if you don’t have one)
- Personal stove (or cook on the campfire)
- Camp chair
- Cooking and eating utensils and crockery
- Water bottle
- Food and water
- Torch for around the campsite
- Towel If you are not sure where to get any of these items, ask the trip organiser.
Top Tips For Your First Trip
- You can borrow helmets, headlamps and caving packs from SUSS
- Buy any food and alcohol on the way there as there are no shops nearby
- You won’t have ANY phone signal or internet while away
- Bring sunblock for the walk to the cave
- Outside of the city is a lot colder than in it, bring plenty of layers to keep warm
- Insect repellant is a good idea when camping
- Check out the caving areas page of the website for more information on what to expect in the location you are visiting