The Naracoorte Caves are one of the most significant fossil sites in the world, as well as the only World Heritage listed area in South Australia. UNESCO designated the caves and Riversleigh, North Queensland, as a heritage site in 1994.
These caves give a glimpse into what the region looked like 500,000 years ago, and is one of the most comprehensive fossil sites in the world. They are part of the Naracoorte East Range of mountains, and have been dated at around 800,000 years old. During this period, these caves acted as nature’s traps for unsuspecting animals. Once an animal fell through, it was trapped – unable to escape. Layer after layer, years upon years, bones collected into one of the richest fossil records of ancient animals who roamed this region. This record spans many ice ages and even the arrival of the first humans in the region.
There are 28 caves known to exist within the park. Of these, four are available for public exploration. The remaining caves are closed to the public due to scientific research and the protection of cave contents.
The caves remain at a constant temperature of 62.6 degrees Fahrenheit, making this a destination regardless of the season. When you visit Naracoorte Caves, you’ll receive a 10% discount on all tours when you stay at their park. The park offers guided or self-guided tours at incremental times throughout the day, and adventure caving exploration all year long. There are cabins as well as sites with electricity for your tent or RV camping. If you stay during the Australian summertime, there is also a large swimming pool for your swimming pleasure.
All tours are guided (except for the Wet Cave) and last from 30 to 60 minutes. The Wonambi Fossil Center is also on site, where you can view self-guide through a simulation of the way the forest and swampland looked during the ancient period.
All activities besides the adventure caving (which must be booked in advance) are suitable for all ages.