So, you’ve stumbled across the group of grinning weirdoes at Market Day, and they’ve told you that this activity called caving is totally awesome, and that you should totally do it. Some eager committee member may have even have shoved a brochure or membership form into your hand, regardless of whether you wanted it or not. What on earth are they on about?
NUCC is a diverse group of people of mixed ages and backgrounds (mostly ANU students) who come together to enjoy outdoor activities. A completely volunteer run club, we enjoy activities like caving (and especially caving), canyoning, camping, bushwalking and enjoying the natural beauty of the Australian bush.
Caving is the activity of going underground into limestone caverns and having a great time. These caves are formed by water dissolving the limestone bedrock over thousands through millions of years, and come in a dazzling array of form. Some are large and walkable, others require crawling, some require climbing, and yet others need technical ropework to access. NUCC visits them all.
What all these caves have in common is that they require enthusiasm, energy and dedication to visit. These aren’t the tourist caves that you might have visited at Wombeyan or Jenolan, these are the wild caves that are one of the last frontiers of exploration on this planet. They will challenge you as you walk, crawl, climb and possibly swim your way through them.
The reward for this is seeing fragile calcite grottoes of cave formations that so very few people have ever, or will ever set their eyes upon. You will get to explore and understand an activity and environment that is totally unlike anything that exists above the surface of this planet.
We have fortnightly trips during the university semester, and our trips are run for all levels of experience. We offer help and advice with the technical side of caving and provide all the required gear. The most important thing a member ever needs to bring along on a trip is themselves!
From day trips through weekend trips to longer expeditions, we go and do things as often as possible. Weekend and longer trips are usually associated with camping in the amazing Australian bush, frequently with a blazing campfire. Some trips also allow us to stay in caver’s accommodation like huts, which allows a relaxed and luxurious weekend.
To get to and from caving trips, we generally car-pool from ANU Sport. Passengers generally contribute fuel money towards transport costs, and this is built into the trip fee. This money is split equitably amongst car-owners who carry people or gear for the trip.
NUCC tries to keep costs to a minimum - most of us are poor, broke uni students anyway! Generally, there’ll be four potential cost components on a trip:
Usually this adds up to $10-20 for a day trip, and $25-50 for an overnight (or longer) trip, depending on where and how far away a caving location is. Compared to cost of commercial ‘adventure’ caving tour ($150-200 for a half day trip only), this is extraordinarily good value, and many of the caves we visit are better anyway (in the author’s utterly biased opinion).
Caving is a fantastic and dynamic activity, so come and give it a go with NUCC!