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Getting Holey in Deua National Park

The Big Hole. Credit Emma de Kiefte

If you’ve driven anywhere in rural Australia, you’ll know by now we’re not particularly good with original names. Deep Creek, One Tree Hill, Square Rock… you get the picture. So, when you visit The Big Hole, that’s exactly what you get.

The Big Hole is a limestone, roofless cave that is estimated to have taken 400 million years to get to the size it is today. At over 100 meters deep and 50 meters wide, it’s, well…big. Full of ferns the size of fully grown men, various types of limestone and, if you’re lucky, the resident lyrebird, it’s definitely a sight to see.

Limestone cave walls. Credit: Emma de Kiefte

To get out to the cave, you want to set aside the better part of a day, as half the experience is the drive there. Through winding roads, dense bush and farmlands, is the historic mining town, Captains Flat, which was supposedly named after a bull called Captain who used to graze on the flat – another original name. With a good soundtrack, this drive is a great way to take time out while taking in the landscape.

If you do head to The Big Hole, make sure you go prepared for a decent walk. While the track is only three and a half kilometres return, it spans through bush and dirt tracks, so make sure you have appropriate shoes, clothes,
water, snacks and a friend.

Shoalhaven River. Credit Emma de Kiefte

While the trek is not the longest (roughly one and a half to two hours), the unique environment makes it worth the drive. Five minutes in, you’re required to take your shoes off and get your feet wet crossing the Shoalhaven River, something that is far more enjoyable on the way back when you’re hot and sweaty.

The track then leads you through a dry eucalyptus forest and a vast hill of nana heath before reaching the hole, which is itself breath taking (and sickening). While there is a lookout platform with a guard rail you’re still able to lean over the hole which is sure to make your head spin.

The Big Hole walk is an awesome way to de-stress or take time out during the semester. The walk itself doesn’t cost any money and it’s a unique and fun experience – especially when you go with a group of people.

Nana heath scrub. Credit: Emma de Kiefte

If you’re interested in taking it to the next level, you can extend the walk to 13 kilometres and visit The Marble Arch. This is a much more intense walk, and requires some background researching before you go, but it’s just as spectacular as The Big Hole.

To find out more about the Big Hole, and specific visitor and safety information click here.


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