Fig Tree Cave


Useful Information

"The carefully placed lighting means you won’t miss a thing", Fig Tree Cave, Wombeyan, Australia.
entrance hall of Fig Tree Cave.
Location: Wombeyan Caves.
From Mittagong: Old Hume Highway 17 towards Berrima, turn right on Wombeyan Caves Road.
From Goulburn: Taralga Road north through Taralga, turn right on Wombeyan Caves Road.
From the ticket office 800 m / 15 minutes walk.
(-34.3118185, 149.9663079)
Open: Wombeyan Caves office: All year daily 9-16:30.
Fig Tree Cave: All year daily 9-15.
Dennings Labyrinth: All year by reservation only.
Closed 25-DEC.
[2022]
Fee: Fig Tree Cave: Adults AUD 20, Children (5-16) AUD 13, Seniors AUD 17, Families (2+*) AUD 50.
Dennings Labyrinth: Adults AUD 50.
Discovery Pass (Fig Tree+1 guided tour): Adults AUD 30, Children (5-16) AUD 23, Seniors AUD 28, Families (2+*) AUD 75.
Explorer Pass (Fig Tree+2 guided tour2): Adults AUD 40, Children (5-16) AUD 30, Seniors AUD 35, Families (2+*) AUD 90.
[2022]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave Speleologyriver cave.
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension:  
Guided tours: Fig Tree Cave: self guided, L=1.2 km, D=1.5 h.
Dennings Labyrinth: cave trekking, Min=6, Max=10.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: H Jane Dyson (ed) et al. (1982): Wombeyan Caves, SSS Occasional Paper No 8. Published 1982. WorldSSS.
Address: Wombeyan Caves, P.O. Box 18, Taralga NSW 2580.
Wombeyan Karst Conservation Reserve, 41 Victoria Arch Drive, Wombeyan Caves NSW 2580, Tel: +61-48-43-5976. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

1828 discovered by the Macarthur party.
1842 First entered by the Reverend Denning (creek section).
1906 opened for public inspection.
1928 cave closed.
1968 reopened after considerable construction work, electric lightning.

Description

you enter the cave through an automatic turnstile using your token.

Fig Tree Cave is a self-guided cave, after paying the entrance fee you get a token. Then you walk 20 minutes to the entrance of the cave.

At 5 points on the tour of inspection there are simple press button switches which operate the speakers. This is the only equipment you are required to use. Please keep to the formed pathway. Please refrain from smoking and from touching any part of the cave formations. Please do not drop any litter in the cave.

Director, N.S.W. Department of Tourism. (Text of the sign at the cave entrance.)

Now you enter the cave through an automatic turnstile using your token. The main benefit of the self-guided inspection is that you have no time-limit and there is a lot of time if you want to take pictures. We recommend planning a two-hour trip.

The cave is visited sort of from the end to the start. You enter a narrow passage which widens continually until you reach the grand finale, the Victoria Arch. After leaving the cave through the massive cave portal you realize that you are almost back to kiosk.

Fig Tree Cave has three different parts. The first part is inactive or fossil with nice formations. Beneath stalactites and stalagmites, the cave also has helictites and cave coral. Quite exceptional is a pilar which grew on a huge block. When the block moved, probably during an earthquake, the pilar broke in two and the lower part was moved to one side. The split column has a gap now. When we visited the cave in 1991 the electric lighting was more or less in the state of 1968 when it was installed, plus a few minor updates. Some rather creative designs were really funny. When we reread the website in 2022 we stumbled across the statement: "The carefully placed lighting means you won’t miss a thing". We guess it is also a hint that the lighting has been replaced lately.

The second part is a narrow creek section whith erosional forms. The trail is built a few meters above the river, attached to the cave wall. The river very calm, or even stalling during the dry summer. The underground Wombeyan Creek actually flows through the cave level below. Only after massive rains the water rises and reactivates this passage. Nevertheless, it would destroy the path if it was built lower.

The third part is really impressive: the creek section leads to a huge cavern with several natural entrances. This is the Victoria Arch, which is entered from a side passage. It is too long to be called a natural bridge, it is rather a huge short passage with a huge portal on both ends. The natural light from different directions make artificial light unnecessary and gives this place a special atmosphere.

The cave is used for cave trekking tours named Dennings Labyrinth. On some pages Dennings Labyrinth is wrongly interpreted as a cave name, but it is actually the name of the tour. Fig Tree Cave was first explored by Reverend Denning in the 19th century, hence the name. The tour follows the active river cave passages below the arch. It explores the undeveloped part of the cave but is not very difficult, moderate fitness is required. The tour is more historic cave tour than actual caving. Helmets and headlamps are provided, wear old clothes, walking shoes or gum boots, gloves and knee-pads. Bring clean clothes to change afterwards, a towel, and plastic bags for the dirty equipment.