With so many fantastic locations and things to do in Cairns, the outback is a location that is often overlooked. Yet, if you are going bush, there’s one location you seriously need to check out. Chillagoe Caves.
Drive three hours West of Cairns and you’re in the outback, at the foot of Chillagoe Caves! Out West, everything is different. The soil turns red, termite mounds outnumber the stripes on the road and that tropical weather turns to dry bush weather. Yet, with this change in scenery and weather also comes an abundance of natural beauty and few can compare to Chillagoe Caves.
Estimated to have formed over 400 million years ago, Chillagoe Caves was created by coral and mud limestone deposits from a shallow sea that once covered the land long ago. Inside, the caves that you see today have been moulded by years of groundwater fluctuations, leaving behind an amazing labyrinth of caverns and passages, many showcasing breathtaking formations of stalagmites, stalactites, flowstones and patterns.
The caves are a true wonder, allowing visitors to view fossilised remains of weird and wonderful creatures long extinct for millions of years. In many ways, you could say the caves are a time machine. Well, it can often feel like that sometimes. There are a number of caves to choose from, some that require guided tours, others possible to view as a self-guided tour. If you are going to visit the caves on your own, be sure to take appropriate equipment including water, torches, good walking boots and spare batteries for your torch.
We also recommend that you prepare for close encounters of the cave kind, as the caves are home to wallabies, bats and your odd cave spider. This all makes the adventure that much more exiting though, especially coming across a cluster of tiny bats sleeping on the cave roofs.
Skill levels required to navigate the caves range from easy to difficult, with the smallest at 220 metres return and the longest at 1.6 km return. So what are you waiting for? Life is happening! Get out there and get in it!