Category Archives: Uncategorized

Spring 2003

Changes and uncertainty in business have delayed the production of newsletters, hence the big gap between them! The good news is that in spite of the public liability insurance crisis, and licensing changes, I am still in business!

Now that I am aware of how I can operate for the summer season ahead, I have made the necessary changes to the web site. Apologies to any who may have been inconvenienced due to changes to the tours during this period.

THE CAVES ARE BEAUTIFUL!

After two dry summers in a row- my own house was threatened with bushfire last Christmas- we have had a good wet winter. Tours in Honeycomb Cave have greatly pleased visitors, who have loved the boisterous waterfalls and the wet drippy formations. The animals appear to be recovering from the big “dry”, with many of the large cave spiders breeding this year. Several males have been seen involved in their delicate, dangerous and complex courtship ritual. For those who haven’t been on my tours, don’t let the thought of these spiders put you off! They are so timid with humans you would not know they were there if I did not take you and show you. And their fearsome size betrays their non-aggressive manner. They are magnificent animals!

The glow-worms have been turning more of their lights on now that spring is advancing and food is more abundant. After all, they need their lights on to attract food in the dark. It will be a while before the large blind shrimps are seen- maybe late November if there is not too much rain.

As I write, there are still waterfalls in Honeycomb, but as the season dries towards summer, the water levels drop. More passages will be safe to explore and the waterfalls will vanish till the next really big rain.

THE CHANGES TO WILD CAVE TOURS.

The Mole Creek Karst National Park is now 7 years old, and its Management Plan is finally about to be released. There have been changes, and in some cases restrictions, in cave access arrangements. I have been adapting the tours to suit those changes. For those who, in the past, have enjoyed a taste of two different caves in the one half day tour, I am sorry to say that is no longer feasible due to the greater time needed to walk and/or drive to caves other than Honeycomb Cave.

Another change has been my decision to no longer offer full day tours. This is because as much as I love taking the tours, I needed other work as the tours alone do not provide enough. I am now manager in residence nearby at the most perfect bush retreat, Mountainside Accommodation. Half day tours get me back in time for cleaning up and evening check-ins. Check out Mountainside a bush retreat with self contained cabins.

I have had many commendations from clients enjoying a half day tour at Honeycomb Cave: it is the finest introductory cave at Mole Creek, and the tour seems more cohesive, not rushing around from place to place. We explore further than we could before, when Honeycomb usually formed the second part of the half day tour.

Over the next few weeks, new access arrangements are being finalised to other caves I have previously been licensed to conduct tours in. These will again be available as an alternative to Honeycomb or as second time tours: Baldocks, My and Cyclops.

I have been unsuccessful in appealing to the Premier over the withdrawal of my licence to Croesus Cave. Treasure your photographs if you have been there in the past, or join a caving club to get access in the future. Croesus Cave has long been a “Limited Access” cave, that is, normally only available to caving clubs. My licence has been withdrawn on this principal only as there have been no complaints about my conduct and no evidence of negative environmental impact of my tours.

Other news relating to the new Management Plan is that sooner or later, we will be able to visit once more Westmorland, Wet and Sassafras Caves. Access routes to these caves are still under negotiation with adjoining land owners. For those who are interested and may not know, largely because of the public liability crisis, caves which previously were accessed by convenient routes which partly crossed private land have been closed to access while legal public access is negotiated.

SEE YOU UNDERGROUND!

Autumn 2000

Most half day trips this season have been taking advantage of low water levels in two particular caves- Honeycomb and Wet Caves. Full day trips are only restricted by the extent of your imagination. We are still experiencing very dry conditions here, and while the glow-worms await autumn rains to bring fresh food supply, they are still glowing…. however for us humans, we can explore further in Wet Cave in greater comfort and lower down into Honeycomb Cave to see the lower pools and passages. I’m afraid visitors will probably still get wet feet! The best parts of the cave- the “must see” sections- do have some water. However, the fun sections of Honeycomb, where I offer the options of physical fun and challenges, are not very muddy and so it is easy to use cameras; to get those “people shots”- photos of negotiating spots that if you hadn’t been there under expert guidance would seem outrageous! I know just which angle to shoot from to create a big impression when passing the photos around after the holiday! The frequent daylight holes in Honeycomb are very stunning with their mossy ferny cliffs, and the roomy open nature of this cave is very easy to accustom to for first time cavers. The more physical challenges and confined spaces are all optional. We emerge on the far side of the hill to where we entered and people are surprised at how far we have come under the ground.

The countryside is very pretty just now, morning dews have greened up the grass and morning tea outside the cave under the gum trees is very peaceful accompanied by all the birdsong. The pace of the tour is very much tailored to suit the clients on the day, but I always find that the first cave stimulates a hearty appetite and calls for a break. Usually Wet Cave is the second cave, and it is colder than the more open Honeycomb. A very large and grand river tunnel, something different opens up around each corner, leading cavers on in anticipation. The almost still, wide pools of this cave at this time of the year tempt photographers to linger and capture the atmosphere on film. But don’t linger too long, otherwise we won’t get to see the tall canyons and massive crystal formations of the inner recesses. Testimony in my Visitors Book will urge to go “all the way”. Mind you, the water gets a little deeper with each bend in the river! It depends upon the willingness of each person as to how far we take it. The return trip is via the same route. Exploration of a full 1,000m in length is possible in this cave, and feedback consistently tells of a strong sense of peace and “wilderness” or remoteness that is experienced here. We need to allow at least 2 hours of in-cave time to fully appreciate this cave. A minimum of 1 hour will take in glow-worms, reflections and some very unusual mineral decorations.

Kind regards, and all the best.

Spring 2000

The snow cover of the best ski season for 10 years has lingered on the Great Western Tiers above the Mole Creek valley. We have seen more Queenslanders this spring than before. Thanks for coming! and I know you all have enjoyed the novelty of the backdrop of snowy mountains, even if the air was crisp.

Those magic days of spring are really with us now, and the crystal clear air smells sweet with blossoms of bush and garden all around. Water levels are now receding in the caves, after showing us spectacular waterfalls with all the snow melt and rain. As the season continues, we are able to more safely and comfortably explore river passages of the caves. There is something good in every season.

COMMENTS OF THE MONTH, VISITORS’ BOOK.

“Incredible waterworks in Honeycomb Cave. Great experience, thanks.” John Nankiell.

“Absolutely, well and truly worth the 6am wake up, the 1 hour drive through the snow and the freezing cold conditions. Would do it again on the coldest day of the year!” Cath and Andrew Colville, Pennant Hills, NSW.

“Very informative, don’t miss it, wet and muddy arse, excellent experience. Thank you.” Kaare Anderson, Mildura NSW.

“The best experience I have ever seen or had.” Steve and Kaye, Brisbane, QLD.

“I really enjoyed the experience.*” Alwyn Waldron, Hurgon, QLD. *What this guy actually SAID to me during debrief was that the water was quite wet…. (I had to say that, Alwyn).

“From someone who has never done anything like this before, I would strongly recommend it to anyone and everyone. Had I known how spectacular it was going to be I would have booked the whole day!!” Shane Dunlop.

“Wonderful exhilarating experience. Learnt a lot. Enjoyed the whole tour. Congratulations, Deb, keep up the good work.” Vicki Moseley.

“Amazing features, very enjoyable. Enjoyable experience of nature.” Joy and Paul Young.

“It was awesome and I’m going to go home and find a cave.” Tim Seers, USA.

“Absolutely fantastic. The best caving ever. Unforgettable experiences encountered today. What a great adventure. Thanks Deb. And we saw a platypus. Excellent.” Danny and Hayley Susel, Bendigo, Vic.

“Absolutely fantastic experience. Debbie is a fantastic guide and very knowledgeable. It’s worth every penny. Don’t miss out!” James Curtis, London, UK.

“Had a terrific experience – never seen anything so beautiful yet mysterious in my life. Very challenging though through tight areas- great twin waterfalls. Thankyou. Great fun, highly recommended, great guiding and experiences.” Aaron and Sam McKindley.

“Absolutely fantastic experience. Something everyone should take the time to experience.” Debbie Long, Brisbane, QLD. (this girl actually went through the high squeeze in the left hand side passage at the Abseil Hole, Honeycomb Cave.)

SHORTBREAD RECIPE
(for those who wanted the recipe – of Wild cave Tours’ morning tea fame):

200g flour (I use unbleached); 100g rice flour (I use whole grain rice flour); 250g butter;

120g castor sugar

Mix flours together and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add the sugar. Turn onto a board and divide in half. Form into rounds and shape to10mm thick and 15cm diameter on a greased baking sheet. Crimp the edges, prick with a fork and bake at 180C (350F) for 10 minutes then reduce temperature and continue baking at 150C (300F) for 30-40 minutes until browned. Sprinkle with castor sugar, leave on baking sheet for 5 minutes then mark into wedges and transfer to a wire rack to cool. I bake it in a large wood fired oven, which may give different results than in your own oven. Perhaps use both oven elements (or fan forcing?) for that even, dry heat.