Victoria Fossil Cave Wonambi Fossil Centre Fox Cave Fox Cave Cathedral Cave Blackberry Cave Blackberry Cave Blanche Cave Bat Cave Victoria Fossil Cave Wet Cave Wonambi Fossil Centre Alexandra Cave Bat Cave SA Government logo. Link to Minister's web site Department for Environment and Heritage SA Government logo. Link to Minister's web site SA Government logo. Link to Minister's web site Department for Environment and Heritage SA Government logo. Link to Minister's web site World Heritage Disclaimer Copyright Privacy SA Government logo. Link to Minister's web site. Department for Environment and Heritage World Heritage Flinders University SA Government logo. Link to Minister's web site. Disclaimer Copyright Privacy SA Government logo. Link to Minister's web site
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The Caves - A Virtual Tour

Map of Naracoorte Caves.  If this map is missing from your page, use the links in the menu on the left-hand side to visit the various caves.
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Development of the Naracoorte Caves

Fossil shell
Dripping statactites


As Australia broke away from the ancient landmass Gondwana, the Southern Ocean extended over 100 km inland from the current coastline.

During the Oligocene to Miocene periods (25 - 5 million years ago), a thick layer of limestone was formed, comprising of shells, bryozoa and calcareous bodies of other marine creatures.

As the sea began to retreat to its present position during the Pliocene and early Pleistocene periods, high ground water stands dissolved the limestone to form the caves at Naracoorte.





Limestone formations in Victoria Cave
Click on picture to enlarge (92Kb)

A series of marine transgressions and regressions - the sea moving in and out - formed the series of stranded dune systems we see from Naracoorte to the present day coast.

The oldest of these is the 800,000 year old Naracoorte East Range which contains the Naracoorte Caves.



Limestone formations in Alexandra Cave

Spectacular formations in Alexandra Cave
Click on picture to enlarge (75Kb)

There are 26 known caves at the National Park.

Many of them contain extensive speleothem development (such as stalactites and stalagmites).

They provide important habitats for bats and other cave-dwelling creatures.

The Naracoorte Caves have acted as pitfall traps and predator dens for over 500,000 years, preserving a rich fossil record of Naracoorte’s ancient fauna.


Bones in Victoria Fossil Cave
Ossuary (fossil bed) in Victoria Fossil Cave

This fossil record covers several ice ages and the arrival of humans to the continent.

Palaeontologists have excavated and dated many of these fossils.

They have reconstructed the skeletons of a number of Australia's extinct megafauna, and have deduced their form and habits.

 The Wonambi Fossil Centre presents a wealth of information about the excavations, and includes life-sized animated reconstructions of the extinct animals in a vegetation setting appropriate to the period.

Palaeontologist with skeleton

Palaeontologists have reconstructed the skeleton of Thylacoleo carnifex

The caves can be visited in a number of different ways.

Wet Cave can be explored without a guide, while regular guided tours of Alexandra Cave and Victoria Fossil Cave showcase beautiful limestone formations and the fossil site.

There are also a number of specialty tours. There are adventure tours to several caves, and a torchlight tour of Cathedral Cave. A palaeontologist leads the World Heritage Tour, which provides a closeup view of the Fossil Chamber and Fossil Laboratory. The Bat Tour allows visitors to see the daily activities of the colony of Southern Bentwing Bats via infrared cameras.


There are also a number of walking trails on the surface, some with interpretive signs.

 Adventure caving  Model of Progura and its nest

There are several extended adventure cave tours, one of which visits the Starburst Chamber in Victoria Fossil Cave

Children interact with a model of the extinct Giant Malleefowl Progura naracoortensis in its nest-mound



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This page was last modified 2006-08-11
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