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In the caves
In the caves
The museum
Not quite fitting through

Naracoorte Caves

Thursday, March 13, 2003
Brendon takes us back in time, some 200,000 years, before squeezing through Australia's Jurassic cave.

The volcanic origins of South Australia's south-east formed most of the Limestone Coast's wonderful natural attractions. Ancient water-filled craters form lakes and underground waterways and there is a fascinating array of activities and sights on offer for the visitor.

Access to the region is via a pleasant drive from Adelaide, through fishing towns, past uncrowded beaches and vast pine forests.

Naracoorte is a major commercial centre of the Limestone Coast and has prime agricultural land along with good shopping, eating, galleries and museums. Locals are rightly proud of their many parks and gardens which add much beauty to their town.

The 600ha Naracoorte Caves National Park is not to be missed. It is an underground labyrinth of marvellous limestone formed into caves rich with calcite decorations, spacious chambers and World Heritage listed pre-historic fossils. It is South Australia's only World Heritage Site. There are 26 limestone caves, five of which can be toured and all of which offer amazing diversity.

Alexandra Cave features columns, stalagmites, stalactites and flowstone. Wet Cave is a self-guided cave of domed chambers with large calcite formations. Blanche Cave has three huge chambers, each with tall columns. Wooden seats and benches are reminders of the parties and picnics that used to be held there in the early days.

Cathedral Cave is a very old show cave which was re-opened to the public in 2000 after having been closed for decades. Its main feature is an enormous, naturally lit entrance chamber. Modern day explorers then venture from there into the dark zone beyond with hand-held torches.

The caves are for visitors who love a challenge and they have not been developed with lights, pathways or handrails. Rather, with an experienced guide you crawl, slide and squeeze your way through tunnels into chambers far from the light of day.

Bat Cave is the largest breeding site for the common bent-wing bat in Australia. It is not open to the public but the use of infra-red television cameras allow you to see the fascinating goings-on inside. Around 250,000 bats make a spectacular and noisy departure on summer evenings.

The park has two walking trails for those who have time to linger. A gentle two kilometre stroll from the Wonambi Fossil Centre to Victoria Fossil Cave takes you past a variety of cave entrances along the way.

Extended tours to undeveloped parts of the Victoria Fossil Cave and the spectacular Fox Cave allow those who may have seen the other caves previously to explore chambers not normally accessible. Helmets and lights are provided and overalls and kneepads can be hired. You need sturdy shoes and participants must be older than 12 years.

If you go further into the Stoney Point section of the park you will see Mosquito Creek with its ancient limestone cliff and beautiful old river red gum and stringy-bark forests.

Fossil Kidz is an exciting activity for budding paleontologists. Children aged from six to 12 can really get into digging for fossils, making casts of them and reconstructing a skeleton.


Four hours south-east of Adelaide.


Naracoorte Caves World Heritage Tour costs $50 per adult.
Adventure caving tours start at $25 for adults and $15 for children.
Fossil Kids costs $10 per child.
Please note prices are valid at time of transmission and to the best of our knowledge are inclusive of GST.

More information

Naracoorte Caves National Park
Hynam-Caves Road
Naracoorte 5271
Ph: (08) 8762 2340
Fax: (08) 8762 1231

Qantas: 13 13 13

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