Where is it: Mount Napier National Park, four hours west of Melbourne.
The cave: Created by one of Australia’s youngest volcanos 10,000 years ago, the lava tunnel cave is an underground chamber 20 metres below the surface. From the top, it doesn’t look like much, but once you're inside you'll see it's filled with stalagmites (as well as bats). The bats don’t like a lot of noise so it's advised you stay quiet while exploring the subterranean space. Make sure you bring a torch, hiking shoes and some extra clothing as it can get chilly on the descent into the cave.
While in the area: Visit Wannon and Nigretta Falls just north of Hamilton – the falls are at full flow after heavy rain.
Where is it: Cape Bridgewater, five hours west of Melbourne.
The cave: These limestone caves are a short drive west of Portland, just off the road. If you hike 50 metres up the hill you'll reach the caves that provide great views over the Cape Bridgewater Lakes. The caves aren’t very deep but were once an Indigenous campsite and you can even see some cave sketchings (don't touch). There are six caves to explore, so it’s a great place to hop out of the car and break up a road trip to South Australia.
While in the area: Head to the Petrified Forest to explore a Martian-like landscape on the edge of a cliff. The "forest" is actually a series of limestone tubes that have been hollowed by rainfall.
Where is it: Yarra Junction, around 90 minutes east of Melbourne.
The cave: If you're not a fan of confined spaces, this cave definitely isn’t for you. The cave features tight squeezes and layered labyrinths that the creek has carved out over many, many years. The cave is about 15-metres long and has multiple exit points making it ideal for a beginner caving experience and it's essential to pack head torches and clothes you don’t mind getting dirty. The glow worms in the caves are the highlight (literally) and will make you feel like you're in another world on your underground adventure.
While in the area: If you’re up for more adventure, drive 40 minutes to Chum Creek Horse Riding and pick from their variety of trail rides to round out your day.
Where is it: Labertouche, 90 minutes east of Melbourne.
The cave: Labertouche, like Brittania Creek, is also a confined cave system. Labertouche however, requires a greater level of commitment due to there only being one exit. At its deepest point, the granite boulder cave is 40 metres underground and you will be wading in subterranean waters. Tours do operate in this area and provide guidance and all required equipment for this three-hour endeavour. You'll have to work as a team if you want to conquer the underground labyrinth.
While in the area: Once finished squeezing into small spaces, take a 30-minute drive down the road and fill up on meals made from local produce at Warragul’s Hogget Kitchen.