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“Darkness in the Daytime!” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park

Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park
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Multi Cave Adventure Tour
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Check out the Vancouver Island Underworld! Open year round for exploration above and below ground. Tours range from easy family tours all the way to the "Underground Extreme" where explorers rappel down a seven-storey waterfall! Or try the "3 hr. "Wet & Wild" Spelunking Adventure. Next door to the Horne Lake Campground where visitors will find lakefront campsites, canoe & kayak rentals, free parking & picnic area, boat launch and even camping in a teepee!
Port Alberni, British Columbia, Canada
Level Contributor
21 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Darkness in the Daytime!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 7, 2012

Horne Lake caves feature spellunking for both amateurs and higher level cave explorers. You rent a helmet with a light on it or take your own, believe me you'll need it!

Visited November 2012
Thank Gary T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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253 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
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English first
Surrey, Canada
Level Contributor
18 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Amazing experience Spelunking”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 14, 2012

My boyfriend and I went spelunking at Horne Lake Caves November 10, 2012. The drive to the caves is beautiful itself and so is the lake. After renting our helmets and headlamps (approx $20 total) and signing in at the info centre, we took off on our little adventure. During our visit we went to the Main and Lower Caves which took about 5 minutes on a beautiful trail to get to. We spent a little over an hour in each cave. We thoroughly enjoyed our self-guided adventure through these two caves. So much climbing and tight spaces. Looking back we wish we had planned more time to be there so we could go on the other trails and visit the other caves as well. By the time we were done and back to the info centre, the calm lake had turned rough so we decided not to go kayaking/canoeing. We both cannot wait to go back to the caves and do some more exploring! Well worth the 2.5 hour drive from where we were staying in Victoria.

Visited November 2012
1 Thank empyrean_rose
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Rip off + Swimmers Itch - Poor Business Practices”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 8, 2012

This park is beautiful. However, their business practices are awful. We decided to go caving in the tour only caves. We purchased our tickets and then after the first cave found they were taking us back to the public / open caves we'd already visited. We found out quickly that the first cave we'd just seen was a tour on its own and was a fraction of the price we paid to visit caves we'd already been in. So we left the tour and went back to manager to ask for a refund on the remaining amount as what we participated in was the same as the cheaper tour. They said they don't give refunds (no signage mind you) but they took pity on us by giving us around $20 off - should have been more like $100.

Not to be deterred we booked another tour for the morning we were to check out. On said morning, we discovered a flat tire. We asked if we could attend the tour and come back to fix the tire after even though we'd go past the check out time. They said no we'd have to pay another night if we stayed even marginally past the check out time. So we figured they would refund or otherwise fix our tour - because we couldn't do both right? Wrong - they did not refund our tour even though we went to them in advance of the tour to let them know. They said we would have to come back later in the year (a 3 hour trip one way for a 1 hour tour to a place I now really dislike - not likely).

Then in a final attempt to enjoy my experience my son and I went swimming. And got swimmer's itch. Really really bad swimmer's itch. For anyone that's ever had it you will understand how excruciating this is.

My only complaint at the end of the day is there policies. I feel like they stole my money with a smile on their face. This is not a case of irresponsible or no show behaviour on our part. It is purely a lack of good business practice on their's. i know the Parks isn't an affluent business - but this is just plain theft.

Remember - no signage to say they don't take returns at their sale location. Nothing either on the receipt.

Buyer beware.

Visited August 2012
3 Thank HollyIng
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cave_Park_Director, Owner at Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park, responded to this review, November 12, 2012
I am glad you found the park to be beautiful but am really sorry you had such a negative experience. Thanks for taking the time to let me know. The 3hr. tour indeed uses the publically-accesible Main and Lower Caves but our guides add so much more understanding of the geology and are great at finding all the hidden nooks and crannies to explore. If for whatever reason you turned around after the first of three caves on the tour, you should absolutely have gotten a refund for the difference in price between the two tours.

In your case, that didn't happen.

It seems you are most upset about our refund policy and the lack of notice so I feel I should explain why we have that policy: since we are a 30 min. drive from the closest town, when we call in a guide, they must get paid, whether the clients show up or not. And sometimes, when two people pull out at the last minute, that may cancel the trip for another couple, since we can't meet the minimum "safe caving party size" of 3 clients plus one guide. We are very clear about our refund policy whenever we take a booking and it is front & centre on the web reservation system.

I feel bad that you didn't enjoy your caving experience and I am happy to arrange a refund for you. Please send me an email at adventure@hornelake.com and I will make it right. I will also add some signage onsite where you check-in. Thanks for your suggestion.

PS. So sorry to hear about the Swimmer's Itch - what a terrible way to end the experience!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
35 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“First Time Caver”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 5, 2012

It was our first time caving and I admit I was a bit nervous but it turned out great. Our guide was very friendly and informative during our ice age tour. It's a bit of a hike to get to the caves but once inside it was great. A bit cold, bring waterproof gloves. I would highly recommend a tour to anyone who can meet the physical demands of the tour. Bathrooms were sketchy, be prepared to hold it if you don't like hole in the ground toilets.

Visited July 2012
Thank cfo314
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dumfries, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
62 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“A gravel road to a stunning area”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 4, 2012

We did not visit the caves but the visitors centre by the lake is very good as is the view of the lake. Well worth the drive up the gravel road

Visited September 2012
Thank Colin M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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