In the words of JR Tolkien "Not all those who wander are lost". My passion and loves are my family, travel and writing. I'm fortunate to be able to combine all three for an extraordinary life adventure....
Published September 15th 2017
Adventure with a capital A
What do the Capricorn Caves and the Great Southern Barrier Reef, both located in Central Queensland, have in common?
One is our current modern day reef, the other is remnants of an ancient coral reef which existed over 380 million years ago. Despite their diverse locations and distance, both share a unique and rich marine landscape of significance, inviting adventurers like ourselves on a journey of discovery and exploration.
The Capricorn Caves, located on the Tropic of Capricorn, QLD in the township of The Caves, is a unique site providing a rare glimpse into an ancient underwater world which once flourished in the region.
Today, the Capricorn Caves provide an insight into the prehistoric world. Fossils of marine sea life and mega fauna have been found within this spectacular above ground limestone cave system, taking us on a journey which fuses the elements of history, geology and exploration, perfectly.
The caves were originally discovered by the Olsen family in 1881, when the Olsen boys accidentally stumbled upon this rare find. Since 1988 the caves have been owned and operated by the Augusteyn family who continue to provide an experience like no other, accessible to visitors of all ages and physical abilities, while at the same time, acting to conserve and protect the unique natural environment of this extensive 33 hectare property.
There are various experiences on offer at the Capricorn Caves. Informative guided tours are available throughout the day which takes visitors exploring throughout the different labyrinths of the rare large cave system.
The Cathedral tour explores the natural beauty and formations within the different chambers, with a focus on the special Cathedral Cave. The fossil tour takes you back through time and provides the opportunity to view the Queensland Museum's paleontology dig site which has begun the exciting work of sifting through 40,000 year old bones. Or if you simply want to experience the caves in a more adventurous, hands on way, there are abseiling, adventure caving, or climbing possibilities.
During our visit to the caves we decided to make the most of our time in this stunning location. It is not often that we find ourselves with the chance to step back in time and experience our world through a geological lens. A morning cathedral tour, followed by an after lunch fossil tour, was topped by a physical underground caving experience. It was the ultimate day, packed full of informative facts, eye popping beauty and a chance to go underground and get out of our physical comfort zones.
The Capricorn Caves Cathedral Tour is a cave visit like no other. Winding our way through 1.5kms of passageway through the ancient limestone above ground cave system with guide Mindy was a unique experience. The first thing we noticed was the immediate coolness as we made our way through the entrance into the first of many chambers, each different in size and shape and with its own unique style; adorned by stalactites or a rare fern, or home to thousands of miniature bats (mind the smell, but an experience all the same).
We sat spell bound in the Cathedral Cave, my spine tingling as we listened, eyes closed to the beautiful acoustic sounds of a rendition of Cohen's famous song Hallelujah. Simply put, it is a divine and perfect location for a wedding ceremony. If you didn't have wedding plans before you entered, you might just be booking in on your way out (there is also a special 'proposal' spot for those who want to test the waters first). The Cathedral Cave tour is magical.
The Fossil tour, takes you on a different journey through the cave system, in this instance, along a timeline of prehistoric significance. The tour combines information, pictures, fossil replicas and a real life dig site managed by local paleontologists, who continue to uncover and sift through the layers of buried history and geological climatic changes contained in the cave walls and soil. These important discoveries continue to inform and add to the local staff's knowledge and understanding of this special local environment that existed and thrived here so long ago.
The 2 hour adventure caving experience was definitely the most thrilling. Again, local guide Lucas put us at ease and rather than a follow-me tour, gave us different options and comfort zones of exploring, allowing us to choose our own adventure.
We learned an incredible amount in the space of a day. The staff were open to fielding questions of all kinds from the visitors on the tour, including ourselves. The guided tours both took about an hour or so, but it was not the usual rushed through tour, intent on getting everyone in and out as quickly as possible. No, this was different. The beauty of the visit was the manner in which the tour guides allowed the tour to evolve at its own pace, enabling everyone the time to soak up the natural beauty and enjoy the special space of the caves in their own way.