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Hastings Caves State Reserve
The Hastings Caves State Reserve is about one and a half hours drive south of Hobart (that is if you don't stop along the way). The 110 hectare reserve protects rich forests with its accompanying flora and fauna as well as the caves. On the Hastings Caves Road you will come to the visitor centre, where you can learn about the area, take a short walk, read interpretative displays and purchase cave tour or thermal pool tickets. A cave tour ticket gives you complimentary pool entry. Right near the visitor centre is the thermal pool. This looks like a normal pool but the water is a constant 28 degrees fed from springs - not hot but nice and warm. There are toilets and showers, picnic tables and a shelter hut built out of stone which houses electric bbqs, wood fireplaces and power points. A couple of short walks are nearby that take less than half an hour. The Springs Walk is the longer one and will take you to where the warm spring water of one creek met the cold waters of another.
The Newdegate Cave is open to the public with guided tours given by knowledgeable Parks and Wildlife staff. The caves in the area began forming over 40 million years ago and occur in dolomite, instead of the more usual limestone. In fact, Newdegate Cave is the largest dolomite cave open to the public in Australia.
Cave tours take about 45 minutes. You can't book ahead but extra guides are rostered on at busy times such as weekends and public holidays. Do make sure to leave plenty of time after purchasing your ticket to drive the further 5 kilometres on the well-maintained unsealed road to the cave car park. From here it is a 5 minute walk to the cave entrance. It is best to arrive 20-30 minutes ahead of your tour time. Toilets are available at the cave car park.
Newdegate Cave is spacious with no squeezy sections. The short sections of steps vary in height and width with plenty of handrails to use if needed. Photos, let alone words don't do the beauty of the cave justice. There are magical stalactites and stalagmites, crystal straws and the enthralling Titania's Palace.
There is no camping in the reserve, with camping available at Cockle Creek and at Esperance River.
Opening Hours: Please check before visiting as they can vary.
Open every day including Christmas Day.