Perched in the hilltops of the Snowy River country, Buchan (pronounced buck-en) is a little town in the East Gippsland region of Victoria, Australia. With a population of just over 300 people, a town of its size would usually be overlooked by tourists. But Buchan's biggest claim to fame is the phenomenal limestone cave system which stretch for kilometres underground, formed 400 million years ago by underground rivers.
The easiest, simplest and most popular way to get to Buchan is by car. The town sits at the intersection of 3 major roads, which spoke out in opposing directions. Bruthren-Buchan Road enters from the south-west and is reachable from Bruthen in 40 minutes (50 km), Bairnsdale in an hour (75 km) and Melbourne in about 4 and a half hours (360 km). Buchan-Orbost Road approaches from the south-west, where the town of Orbost is 45 minutes away (60 km). The northern route does a large loop through the Snowy River National Park with no major towns, before reaching the Bonang Highway which heads into New South Wales.
Without a car, you will need a little more patience and time to spare. From Melbourne, a V/Line train will need to be caught from Southern Cross Station to the regional city of Bairnsdale, the end of the line of the same name (timetable). Then from the train station, the Route 12 Dyson's coach needs to be caught towards Gelantipy (timetable). The coach takes a moderately-long detour through Lakes Entrance before working its way to Buchan at Stop 13. Unfortunately, it only runs once every Wednesday and Friday, leaving Bairnsdale at 2:50PM, arriving at Buchan at 4:40PM. In the opposing direction, the coach departs Buchan at 9AM reaching Bairnsdale by 10:52AM.
If relying on public transport, a good itinerary would be to arrive Wednesday, stay for two nights leisurely visiting the local attractions before heading back on Friday. Remember to arrive at the bus stop at least 10 minutes early. This is not a bus you would want to miss, or risk waiting five days!
There are no local buses or taxis. Car is the best way to get around town and the nearby region. However, the town is quite small, and it is possible to walk or cycle between accommodation and sights like the Buchan Caves.
- 1 Avenue of Honour, Buchan South (8 km south of Buchan). An Anzac memorial remembering those who died in the Great War, with a tree planted for every soldier who died.
- 2 Murrindal Bridge, 303 Basin Rd. A unique wooden bridge built in the 1920s. It is listed on the National Heritage Register as one of the only bridges of its kind in Australia.
- 1 Buchan Caves Guided Tours, Buchan Caves Reserve. At the Buchan caves, you can explore two caves- -- Royal Cave and Fairy Cave. These caves have beautiful limestone sculptures on display. In terms of accessibility, Fairy Cave has a lot more stairs than Royal Cave. Book online at least 24 hours in advance -- you cannot get tickets at the reserve. $23.40 adult, $13.80 child.
- 1 Buchan Motel, 67 Main Road, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Offers modern motel rooms with a balcony and tea and coffee facilities. Free WiFi also available. $140-$180.
- 2 Secret Cottage Buchan, 48A Main Road, ☏ . Self-contained small cottage rooms in a garden setting. $100 a night for couple, $150 for two couples.
- 3 Buchan Lodge, 9 Saleyard Road, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: N/A, check-out: N/A. Hostel-style accommodation on the Buchan River. Barbecue, kitchen and laundry facilities are all available. Bunk bed $25 per night.
- 4 Buchan Caves Camping, Buchan Caves Reserve. Campsite at Buchan Caves Reserve with 41 powered and 20 unpowered sites, which can all fit up to 6 people each. Toilets and showers, as well as laundry and barbecue facilities, are all available.
The only mobile coverage in Buchan is with Telstra on the 4G network, and that's likely to be shaky at the reserve. There is a 1 Telstra payphone in town.