Cooleman offers numerous holes and caves for exploration. Some require a permit, while others have no restrictions. It is in Kosciusko NP, and is open only during the summer months, being closed between the June and October long-weekends as snow and rain (and 4WDers) can severely damage the road. The compensation is a beautiful alpine setting with grass plains and three whole limestone gorges, which contain many caves, like:
- River Cave
Black Range Cave (site of a current NUCC surveying project)
- Cooleman Cave(s)
- Barbers Cave
- White Fish Cave
- Easter Cave
- Clown Cave
- Glop Pot
The drive there is a comfortable 3.5 hours from Canberra via Cooma and Adaminaby. Adaminaby features an excellent bakery too… You turn off the Snowy Mountains Highway onto Long Plain Road, which is in-between the two Yarrangobilly Caves turnoffs. From here, follow the signposted dirt road to Blue Waterholes campground, although we usually camp at Magpie Flat, slightly before Blue Waterholes. For a different approach, you can also go via Boboyan Road or Brindabella Road; the Brindabella Road route can involve serious four wheel driving on slick mud.
Cooleman offers a nice campground in a spectacular setting. It is worth the effort to make the walk to the waterfall (even if caving at White Fish or Barbers is not intended). A pit toilet is available, and there are fireplaces. Sadly the area is quite overrun with feral horses at the moment, so be careful not to pitch your tent on their paths! It also gets extremely busy on weekend, although is still very pleasant underground and away from the crowds.