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Melville Caves campground, Kooyoora State Park


  • a great little well maintained camp ground within 5 minutes walk of a very photogenic large granite boulder outcrop with lots to explore including nice lookout and of course the granite caves you can walk into
  • night sky is great for star gazing as light pollution is much less than most other areas close to Melbourne
  • 5 min walk to the massive granite boulders and caves;
  • nice circuit walks through the box-ironbark forests with lots of granite boulder features including a 3hr 4.5km loop from the end of the Back Road behind the camp ground;
  • 380m elevation
  • great camp spot for clear Winter skies to admire the wonderful winter Milky Way
    • and its not too hot to go hiking in the bush!
    • but it will get cold at night being so far from the coast!

Melville Caves campground - north end in infrared

Getting there

  • 2hrs from NW suburbs via Calder Freeway
  • bitumen highways
  • easily accessible with caravans


  • shelter; drop toilets; no potable water;
  • camp ground is on a slope but there are a few flattish areas
  • good Telstra mobile 4G internet access


  • Mt Kooyora has elevation 479m
  • it lies just east of the north-south Avoca fault line which separates:
    • Cambrian sedimentary rock to the west of the fault
    • Ordovician sedimentary rock to the east of the fault
  • the Kooyoora granite intrusions formed in the Early Devonian from molten magma chambers, with the ages ranging from 411 to 386 million years old
    • this granite is a Quartz-Monzonite
    • as the magma cooled to form the granite, the granite contracts in size creating near-vertical joints.
    • as overlying rock is eroded, the reduced pressure allows the granite to rise creating horizontal joints
    • groundwater enters the joints and converts feldspars into clay resulting in weakened and rounded edges of the granite boulders
    • further erosion exposes the boulders - often precariously balanced on underlying boulders when the joint materials have eroded
    • a small section east of the campground is Kooyoora granite apalitic phase rock
  • adjacent to it on the east is a Wedderburn graniodorite intrusion
  • a natural spring exists at the Melville Caves site (currently re-routed to feed the toilet block), with large trees and diverse flora and fauna living at the site as a result of water availability


  • Kooyoora State Park has many Indigenous artefacts and was likely to have been an important area for the Dja Dja Wurrung people who live there
  • discovered by white people in 1836 by Thomas Mitchell and his party during his Australia Felix expedition
  • European settlement of the district began in the 1840s
  • gold was discovered north of Melville Caves, near Wedderburn, in 1852, resulting in a gold rush to the region
  • bushranger 'Captain Melville' (nee convict Frank McCallum (1822-1857) ) was thought (probably erroneously) to have used the caves as a camp and a vantage point owing to their elevation - he once made off with five billy-cans full of gold dust which were never recovered (thought to be buried at Mt Arapiles)
  • from 1852 to 1883 the region yielded 369 nuggets weighing over 1.5 kg - most found in 1854-1857
    • the Blanche Barkly nugget at Kingower, weighed 49.5 kg
    • two other nuggets weighing over 30 kg were found at Rheola, to the immediate south of the Caves
    • in 1980, the Hand of Faith was found near Wedderburn - the largest nugget found with a metal detector and weighed in at 27.2kg!
  • the White Swan Quartz Mine operated in what is now Kooyoora State Park during World War II, producing industrial and ornamental quartz from an open cut mine on pegmatite dykes
  • in 1985, the World Orienteering Championships were held here and in that year it was declared a State Park

Nearby camp grounds

australia/vic/melvillecaves.txt · Last modified: 2023/07/30 16:16 by gary1

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