Castle Cave walk

Yarrangobilly area in Kosciuszko National Park

Overview

Castle Cave walk is a short, scenic walking track at Yarrangobilly Caves. It's easily combined with a cave tour, summer fishing or birdwatching, in northern Kosciuszko National Park.

Where
Yarrangobilly area in Kosciuszko National Park
Distance
3.2km return
Time suggested
45min - 1hr 15min
Grade
Grade 2
Price
Free
Entry fees
Park entry fees apply
What to
bring
Drinking water, hat, sunscreen
Please note

This inspiring walk for photographers, birdwatchers and bushwalkers, starts from Glory Cave carpark at Yarrangobilly Caves. Follow the path above the Yarrangobilly River, passing Glory Arch and South Glory Cave, as you head towards Castle Cave.

Along the way you'll see dry stone walls, built from hand cut limestone in days past. Continue below spectacular limestone cliffs until the track veers left to Mill Creek Gorge, and on to Castle Cave.

Ask the Yarrangobilly Caves Visitor Centre about guided tours through Castle Cave, before you start the walk. South Glory Cave is open year-round for self-guided tours, and makes a great detour as you head back along the track. You'll need to buy tickets for all caves from the visitor centre.

In warmer months, why not extend your walk to visit the Yarrangobilly River and Thermal Pool. Enjoy fishing and swimming in the pristine mountain waters, while the currawongs and kookaburras chatter in the trees. Winter often blankets the area in snow and offers the chance to see glistening icicles clinging to the South Glory Cave entrance.

With overnight options at nearby historic Yarrangobilly Caves House and Lyrebird Cottage, you might be tempted to linger a while in the magnificent high country.

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info

Current alerts in this area

There are no current alerts in this area.

Local alerts

For the latest updates on fires, closures and other alerts in this area, see https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/walking-tracks/castle-cave-walk/local-alerts

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Castle Cave walk.

Track grading

Grade 2

Learn more about the grading system Features of this track
  • Time

    45min - 1hr 15min

  • Quality of markings

    Clearly sign posted

  • Gradient

    Gentle hills

  • Distance

    3.2km return

  • Steps

    Occasional steps

  • Quality of path

    Formed track

  • Experience required

    No experience required

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    Castle Cave walk is in the northern precinct of Kosciuszko National Park. To get there:

    From the Monaro Highway:

    • At Cooma, take the Snowy Mountains Highway and continue for approximately 110km
    • Turn left into Yarrangobilly Caves Entrance Road
    • Follow the unsealed road for approximately 6km to Yarrangobilly Caves
    • Castle Cave walk begins near Yarrangobilly Caves House.

    From the Hume Highway:

    • At Gundagai, take the Tumut exit and follow Gocup Road to Tumut
    • Continue on Snowy Mountains Highway south for approximately 75km
    • Turn right into Yarrangobilly Caves Entrance Road
    • Follow the unsealed road for approximately 6km to Yarrangobilly Caves
    • Castle Cave walk begins near Yarrangobilly Caves House.

    Park entry points

    Road quality

    • Yarrangobilly Caves entrance and exit roads are graded gravel. They're suitable for 2WD and 4WD vehicles up to 12.5m in length, however the Roads and Maritime Service (RMS) advise that the roads are unsuitable for caravans.
    • RMS recommends snow chains are carried by all vehicles driving in the park in winter, including 4WD and AWD, in case of extreme weather. Visit the Live Traffic website for road conditions.

    Parking

    Parking is available at Glory Cave carpark. Please note park entry fees apply for vehicles without a Kosciuszko National Park day pass or  All Parks annual pass.

    Bus parking is available – contact the visitor centre on 02 6454 9597 for access.

    Facilities

    Toilets and picnic facilities are located at nearby Yarrangobilly Caves Visitor Centre.

    Maps and downloads

    Safety messages

    Alpine safety

    Alpine areas present special safety issues. Conditions can be extreme and may change rapidly, particularly in winter. It’s important to be prepared and find out how to stay safe in alpine areas.

    Bushwalking safety

    If you're keen to head out on a longer walk or a backpack camp, always be prepared. Read these bushwalking safety tips before you set off on a walking adventure in national parks.

    Mobile safety

    Dial Triple Zero (000) in an emergency. Download the Emergency + app before you visit, it helps emergency services locate you using your smartphone's GPS. Please note there is limited mobile phone reception in this park and you’ll need mobile reception to call Triple Zero (000).

    River and lake safety

    The aquatic environment around rivers, lakes and lagoons can be unpredictable. If you're visiting these areas, take note of these river and lake safety tips.

    Prohibited

    Pets

    Pets and domestic animals (other than certified assistance animals) are not permitted. Find out which regional parks allow dog walking and see the pets in parks policy for more information.

    Smoking

    NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

    Visitor centre

    Nearby towns

    Jindabyne (70 km)

    For those heading to the Snowy Mountains snowfields, Jindabyne is a great place to hire or buy all of your skiing and snowboarding essentials from equipment to fashion.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Mount Selwyn (19 km)

    Mount Selwyn is the northernmost ski field in Kosciuszko National Park. The Stunning alpine scenery and rugged mountain ranges are a big drawcard.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Tumut (50 km)

    Tumut is a country town on the northern foothills of the Snowy Mountains. The Rolling valleys, mountain streams and alpine mountain ranges make it popular for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Learn more

    Castle Cave walk is in Yarrangobilly area. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

    Unique landscapes

    Jersey Cave decorations, at Yarrangobilly Caves in Kosciuszko National Park. Photo: E Sheargold/OEH

    Yarrangobilly’s karst landscapes were created from a belt of limestone laid down about 440 million years ago. Almost all cave formations can be seen here, from stalactites and stalagmites, hollow straws and delicate helictites, to shawls, cave coral, and massive flowstones. Karst environments are nature’s time capsules, preserving evidence of climate change, floods, droughts, fires, animal and human activity. Over the years, Yarrangobilly's caves have hosted researchers from universities, nuclear science organisations and the Snowy Hydro. You can now visit Harrie Wood Cave, which was closed from 2006-2016, to learn how stalagmites have growth rings, and find out about about climate change monitoring.

    • Discover geology at Yarrangobilly Caves Every rock tells a story! Come and experience Yarrangobilly Caves on a special guided tour through geological time. This is a fun tour for all the family.
    • Jersey Cave Step back in time on a guided tour of Jersey Cave. You'll be awed by some of the most colourful and diverse decorations at Yarrangobilly Caves in Kosciuszko National Park.
    • Jillabenan Cave Jillabenan Cave may be the smallest and most accessible of the Yarrangobilly Caves in Kosciuszko National Park, but it’s packed with incredibly delicate formations.
    • Mill Creek Swallet adventure caving tour Do you enjoy adventure caving? Challenge yourself on this guided caving tour at Mill Creek Swallet cave in Yarrangobilly, Kosciuszko National Park.
    • River Odyssey adventure caving tour Are you up for a challenge? River Odyssey is a great introduction to the adventure of wild caving. You don't have to be experienced to take part. See Yarrangobilly Caves in a whole new way.
    • South Glory Cave Take a leisurely self-guided tour through the lofty chambers of South Glory Cave. Absorb the wonders of the largest cave in the Yarrangobilly area of Kosciuszko National Park.
    • WilderQuest Bake and bushcraft at Yarrangobilly Would you like to learn basic bush skills and cook your own food on a campfire? Join the WilderQuest crew in exploring the natural world of Yarrangobilly.
    • WilderQuest Little caves for little kids Test your climbing, crawling and balancing skills on this Kosciuszko WilderQuest adventure! We'll explore some of Yarrangobilly's smaller wild caves, and the creek and forest between them. 
    • Yarrangobilly Harrie Wood Cave tour Yarrangobilly's Harrie Wood Cave has reopened after being closed for the last 11 years for cave research. Join this specialised guided tour in Kosciuszko National Park to find out more.
    • Yarrangobilly North Glory Cave tour Explore the immense cave formations of North Glory Cave in Yarrangobilly Caves, Kosciuszko National Park.
    Show more

    Explore above and below ground

    Yarrangobilly Caves Visitor Centre, Kosciuszko National Park. Photo: Elinor Sheargold/OEH

    No visit to Yarrangobilly is complete without a visit to its marvellous caves, so stop by the Yarrangobilly Caves Visitor Centre to get your tickets and tour times. The largest, South Glory Cave, allows you to explore at your own pace on a self-guided tour. Jersey and Jillabenan Caves offer guided tours that run 3 or 4 times daily - Jillabenan even boasts wheelchair-access. The visitor centre can also help with tours of other caves, meetings, weddings, custom tours for groups or students from 10 to 100 people. With caves, tours, walks, and the natural mineral waters of the thermal pool to tempt you, you’ll need to stay a few days. Book your own lovingly restored wing or a great-value room at Caves House. Enjoy the creature comforts of Lyrebird Cottage, or set up camp at Yarrangobilly Village campground, just off the Snowy Mountains Highway.

    • Yarrangobilly Caves thermal pool walk Take the short Yarrangobilly Caves thermal pool walk and enjoy a swim in the spring-fed natural pool. It's easily combined with a picnic, bushwalk or cave tour in the Yarrangobilly area of Kosciuszko National Park.
    • Yarrangobilly Caves Visitor Centre Yarrangobilly Caves Visitor Centre is your one stop destination for information on cave tours and tickets, and top tips on where to stay and what to do in the Yarrangobilly and northern areas of Kosciuszko National Park.

    A wonderland for wildlife

    The endangered smoky mouse. Photo: Linda Broome/OEH

    Karst environments are complex ecosystems containing highly specialised plants, animals and micro-organisms. The dense shrubs around Yarrangobilly River provide protection for the endangered smoky mouse, as well as being great for bird watching. At night you might be lucky to see a possum or sugar glider, forest bats, tawny frogmouth owl or even an endangered sooty owl. Don’t be put off if you see algae or even springtime tadpoles in the thermal pool. Algae and weed provide a breeding site for eastern banjo frogs, aka pobblebonks, because of their banjo-like ‘plonk’ or ‘bonk’, meaning the water is clean and healthy. School students can learn more about Kosciuszko National Park’s ecosystems and important biodiversity on a school excursion.

    Discover Aboriginal culture

    Learning about Aboriginal culture from NPWS rangers, Birrimal Waga Amphitheatre, Tumut. Photo: Murray Vanderveer/NPWS

    Yarrangobilly is the perfect place to experience the rich Aboriginal culture of the Wolgalu People. Join a NPWS Aboriginal ranger to see the tools and techniques of the Traditional Owners of this unique landscape. Take part in hands-on activities like string making, or learn how to start a fire without matches. Wolgalu culture tours run on select dates during school holidays, and start from the picnic area near Yarrangobilly Caves Visitor Centre (bookings essential).

    Plants and animals you may see

    Animals

    • Common wombat. Photo: Ingo Oeland

      Common wombat (Vombatus ursinus)

      A large, squat marsupial, the Australian common wombat is a burrowing mammal found in coastal forests and mountain ranges across NSW and Victoria. The only other remaining species of wombat in NSW, the endangered southern hairy-nosed wombat, was considered extinct until relatively recently.

    • Eastern water dragon. Photo: Rosie Nicolai

      Eastern water dragon (Intellagama lesueurii lesueurii)

      The eastern water dragon is a subaquatic lizard found in healthy waterways along eastern NSW, from Nowra to halfway up the Cape York Pensinsula. It’s believed to be one of the oldest of Australian reptiles, remaining virtually unchanged for over 20 million years.

    • Platypus climbing on to a submerged tree branch. Photo: Sharon Wormleaton/OEH

      Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus)

      One of the most fascinating and unusual Australian animals, the duck-billed platypus, along with the echidna, are the only known monotremes, or egg-laying mammals, in existence. The platypus is generally found in permanent river systems and lakes in southern and eastern NSW and east and west of the Great Dividing Range.

    • Superb fairy wren. Photo: Ingo Oeland

      Superb fairy wren (Malurus cyaneus)

      The striking blue and black plumage of the adult male superb fairy wren makes for colourful bird watching across south-eastern Australia. The sociable superb fairy wrens, or blue wrens, are Australian birds living in groups consisting of a dominant male, mouse-brown female ‘jenny wrens’ and several tawny-brown juveniles.

    •  Superb lyrebird, Minnamurra Rainforest, Budderoo National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

      Superb lyrebird (Menura novaehollandiae)

      With a complex mimicking call and an elaborate courtship dance to match, the superb lyrebird is one of the most spectacular Australian animals. A bird watching must-see, the superb lyrebird can be found in rainforests and wet woodlands across eastern NSW and Victoria.

    • Swamp wallaby in Murramarang National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

      Swamp wallaby (Wallabia bicolor)

      The swamp wallaby, also known as the black wallaby or black pademelon, lives in the dense understorey of rainforests, woodlands and dry sclerophyll forest along eastern Australia. This unique Australian macropod has a dark black-grey coat with a distinctive light-coloured cheek stripe.

    Plants

    • Billy Button flowers at Peery Lake picnic area. Photo: Dinitee Haskard OEH

      Billy buttons (Craspedia spp. )

      Billy buttons are attractive Australian native plants that are widespread throughout eastern NSW in dry forest, grassland and alpine regions such as Kosciuszko National Park. The golden-yellow globe-shaped flowers are also known as woollyheads. Related to the daisy, billy buttons are an erect herb growing to a height of 50cm.

    Environments in this area

    River walk, Kosciuszko National Park Kosciuszko National Park. Photo: Murray Vanderveer