September 05, 2015
Finally visited Capricorn Caves! I’m currently on my surgical term, and one of the visiting consultants, Neil, gave me the afternoon to organise a group out to visit the Cap Caves with him. I think I did pretty well, with a total of 7 including Clarence, Konstantin, Chris, his partner Lynda, Shant, Neil, and myself!
Only a half hour drive from Rocky, not too bad! We bought tickets for The Cathedral Cave Tour ($30/adult) which was led by an informative guide who put a lot of effort into keeping us all entertained.
Before I continue, I must say, if you have ever seen caves in your life… this visit might be a bit underwhelming and you may find it a waste of time and money. The caves are pretty small and we didn’t chance upon any wild life.
Personally ,this tour reminded me of our time in Malaysia visiting Batu Caves and more specifically, going on a tour of the Dark Caves ($11) which were much larger and pitch black. A more thrilling adventure in hard hats (to protect yourself from bat droppings) and head lamps, and actually seeing lots of wildlife, including huge pools of guano (bat poo). I’ve also had the chance to visit Dong Thien Cung (Heavenly Cave) in Ha Long Bay Vietnam – the caves are enormous with beautifully light towering stalactites and stalagmites. As a result, the much smaller structures at Cap Caves are nowhere near impressive 😉 However, it still has its own charm and worth a visit if you are living in the area!
The tour starts at the cave entrance with fig tree roots clinging to the limestone walls.
Close to the entrance…
This is the Tectaria Devexa var devexa fern. Although it is found across Sri Lanka, SE Asia and Vanuatu – Capricorn Caves is the only known site in Australia! In 2006, the fern population declined to almost near extinction with only 21 plants. Fortunately, organisations worked together and funding was secured to save the fern.
There are interesting cave decorations (speleotherms) to note, including some cave coral…
A very tiny stalactite!
More cave views…
Looks like a camel’s backside 😛
I see a hanging skull… do you?
Through the caves, we eventually reach the Cathedral Cave. The natural acoustics make it a popular venue for weddings. Also, twice a year (May & November), there are sell out performances from Underground Opera Company. Some of Australias finest performers singing a selection of Opera’s greatest arias and duets. This I would love to see!
Once you enter the cathedral, you are asked to take a seat in the pews and hear the natural acoustics of the cave via the song Amazing Grace. During this time, the lights are dimmed play along with the song. It’s a beautiful and enchanting few minutes.
Candles burning add an extra element of ambiance to the caves. On the day we were visiting, the crew was setting up for a wedding to take place later in the Cathedral Cave.
This is a view in Belfry Cave, where the Summer Solstice Light Spectacle occurs. “A natural phenomenon unique in the southern hemisphere, occurs throughout December and early January. Due to the alignment of the sun over the Tropic of Capricorn brilliant direct sun light penetrates the darkness of the Belfry Cave through a 14 metre vertical shaft in the cave roof at midday. The effect is electrifying. The colour of peoples clothing is reflected all round the cave walls and a disco mirror ball creates light patterns on the roof.”
Check out some of the photos of that event HERE. Looks pretty neat!
At the end of the cave tour, we have the option of exiting through a narrow zig zag passage (duh, of course we did it!) and leaving the caves via 2 suspension bridges – wee!
The visit ended with a stop at the souvenir gift shop… of course 😛 Where I wanted to buy a very cute quokka hand puppet but had absolutely no reason to do so.
Have you ever visited Capricorn Caves? What did you think? Overall, it was a great time with the company I had! 🙂