The Capricorn Caves


The Caves

S23’09.938, E150’29.483

The Capricorn Caves are a living laboratory displaying dramatic climate change. Evidence of these changes can be seen in the stunning rock formations, their inhabitants and the fossils of creatures who did not survive.

Australia has about 10,000 known caves, each unique, however these limestone caves are particularly special because of their elevation above the surrounding plains and their location on the Tropic of Capricorn.

How do caves form?

Caves usually form when water passes along cracks or layers in limestone or carbonate rocks, because of their water solubility. Limestone dissolves more quickly in acidic water, which occurs naturally when rainfall combines with carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. As water soaks through the soil it becomes even more acidic, when it interacts with roots and decaying plants and animals. Over time a large volume of acidic water can dissolve enough limestone to produce caves.

Meet the Megafauna:

Fossil deposits found in cave sediments on nearby Mount Etna, reveal an astonishing number of species. They help us to understand the role climate change has had on the diversity and extinction of our rainforest habitats.

Pseudokoala:
This giant ringtail possum was about the size of a modern Koala. Pseudokoala inhabited the ancient rainforest canopy and feasted on leaves and flowers.

Thylacoleo:
< This majestic marsupial lion was the largest mammalian carnivore ever found in Australia. It had massive meat-cleaving teeth and a pouch!

Mekosuchine Crocodile:
These ancient southern crocodiles became extinct sometime in the late Pleistocene (180,000-30,000 years ago) and their fossils are evidence of a time when large reptiles ruled the region’s rainforests.

Giant Goanna:
This huge goanna may have been the Australian relative of the modern Komodo Dragon and inhabited the area over hundreds of thousands of years.

How can I Experience the Caves? 
Summer Solstice Special Experience the incredible visual impact of direct sunlight penetrating through a vertical shaft to illuminate underground darkness. This phenomenon is visible only at midday in December and early January when the sun and the earth are aligned over the Tropic of Capricorn.

Take a Cave Tour
Allow the experts to guide you through the labyrinth of chambers, weaving and winding your way through the breathtaking and surreal geo environment. There is a cave tour to suit everyone.

For more information
Visit the Capricorn Caves for guided and adventure cave tour information (Phone: 07 4934 2883).

 

Heading West
Fossick for 120 million year old thundereggs, or ‘volcanic birthstones’ at Mt Hay. Visit Blackdown Tableland National Park, a sandstone plateau rising abruptly above Central Queensland’s plains. Stop in at Blackwater, the Coal Capital of Queensland and home to the International Coal Centre. Enter the Central Highlands and see Emerald’s fossilised tree trunk, before exploring the Sapphire Gemfields.Your next geo-stop, heading west:
Mount Hay
Mount Morgan
Heading East
Rockhampton is the gateway to the Capricorn Coast. Admire the picturesque headlands at Yeppoon and the twin peaks of Double Head, dramatic examples of ancient volcanic plugs. Take a walk to Fan Rock, an unforgettable site showing the effects of cooling on a plug; and explore the Great Barrier Reef, one of the world’s seven wonders.Your next geo-stop, heading east:
Fan Rock and The Bluff, Yeppoon