Monday, 29 September 2008

Gunns Plains Cave

Gunns Plains Cave is located 20km south of Ulverstone. This limestone cave was discovered in 1906 by Bill Woodhouse while on a hunting trip. There seems to be two versions of the story. One that a possum eluded him by going down a hole into the cave and another where his dogs fell into the cave. Of course it's not hard to imagine that both are true if the dogs were chasing the possum. Since that time tourists have come from far and wide to witness the spectacular limestone formations. The area was declared a state reserve in 1918 and access was improved early on by making a new entrance through the side of the hill and building a concrete stair case which is still in use.

The cave has been cut by an underground river which still flows through it today. There are a good variety of cave formations (speleothems) including what is claimed to be the the largest shawl formation in the world.

When I was last there one cave spider was pointed out to me although it was in a crevice so it wasn't easy to see and was impossible to photograph. Easier to see were the threads from Glow Worms, Arachnocampa tasmaniensis, hanging from above. Other wildlife that has been seen within the cave includes the platypus and the Tasmanian Giant Freshwater Crayfish, Astacopsis gouldi (the worlds largest freshwater invertebrate).

(Click on Photos to Enlarge)

Gunns Plains Cave - The Golden Fleece

Gunns Plains Cave

Gunns Plains Cave

Gunns Plains Cave - Shawl Formation - Claimed to be the largest in the world.

Gunns Plains Cave - note the stairway for scale

Arachnocampa tasmaniensis - Glow Worms at Gunns Plains Cave


  1. These are stunning photos. Mosura. The colours are magic.

  2. Great photos of incredible formations.

  3. What a great set of pictures! The shawl formation is stunning.

  4. Thanks JL, Mick, and Tony - For a relatively modest sized limestone cave it is pretty impressive.

  5. Your photos are amazing.
    Presumably there are back-lights, etc on some of the formations, but you have captured them beautifully.
    Did you carry a tripod in there for slow images? Hard to imagine you would get those shots hand-held. But any cave I have ever been in would make a tripod hard to use, let alone carry in, down those long slippery steps, etc.

  6. Yep, have to agree with the rest, just stunning photos of a stunning cave! I think it's the third photo where you could imagine it was a giant monsters mouth gaping open, that's what I thought anyway! (-:
    Also agree that the shawl formation is just amazing.

  7. Thanks Denis - A tripod would have been useful. Instead I just braced the camera against railing, rocks, and anything else that was handy. Some worked and some didn't. The lighting was a bit tricky so used did something I don't normally do - I used an Automatic setting on the camera - Shhhh..keep that under your hat :-) I put it on the Night Setting.

    Thanks Jenny - Yes it look a bit like that eh. That column even makes a good uvula.