AusEmade Home
SA Home • SA Accommodation • SA Attractions • Resources • SA Transport • Insurance • Travel Articles • Aboriginal Tourism

South Australia
ACT • NSW • NT • QLD • SA • TAS • VIC • WA

Naracoorte Caves National Park

Click me for related accommodation... Travel SA Information Destination Guide

Naracoorte Caves NP
• Accommodation
• Intro
• Bent-wing Bats
• Blanche Cave
• Distance
  > Maps
  > Park Map

• Mega-Fauna
• Speleothems
• Tours
• Victoria Fossil Cave
• Wonambi Fossil Centre
• Other links

Nearby SA destinations
• Limestone Coast
• Naracoorte

Popular SA accom
• Adelaide
• Barossa Valley
• Coober Pedy 
• Eyre Peninsula
• Glenelg
• Kangaroo Island
• Mount Lofty
Custom Search
Travel Options
Car Hire
Travel Brochure
Travel Insurance
Book Online Eats
Book Hostels Online...
Naracoorte Caves National Park - Cities, Towns and Localities
Naracoorte Caves National Park.Naracoorte Caves National Park covers approximately 600 hectares of limestone ranges. Located in the south-east of South Australia, it is in a region known as the Limestone Coast, and only 10 km south of Naracoorte.

The area was first dedicated a forestry reserve in 1882, with the first caretaker employed to look after the caves in 1885. The caves reserve came under the control of the Tourist Bureau in 1917, when the area was declared a National Pleasure Resort. The introduction of the National Parks and Wildlife Act in 1972 saw it become the Naracoorte Caves Conservation Park.

The Naracoorte Caves National Park was inscribed onto the World Heritage List in 1994 as a serial nomination with the Riversleigh Section of Lawn Hill National Park, Queensland, to form the ‘Australian Fossil Mammal Sites, (Riversleigh/Naracoorte) World Heritage Area’. With around 17 known fossil deposits, the caves record the Holocene and the mid-late Pleistocene period, a fossil record spanning at least 500,000 years. It is during the late Pleistocene that Australia’s megafauna became extinct.

As the regions most famous attraction, Naracoorte Caves National Park offers plenty to see and do. As well as the scientific interest of the vertebrate fossil deposits, the caves and sites have other significant values that include historical, cultural, geological, and geomorphological values. From the biological perspective, there is significant interest in the bat colonies and other invertebrates. Once you have explored the many caves, you can also enjoy bush walks, camping, BBQs and picnics.

Check out our listing of Naracoorte accommodation and Limestone Coast accommodation. In addition to our listed online travel guide information, contact the local tourism visitor centre for your destination for more attractions, tours, local maps and other information.

Information Centre icon

Naracoorte Caves National Park
PO Box 134
Ph: 08 8762 2340
Fax: 08 8762 1231

Naracoorte Visitor Information Centre

Wonambi Fossil Centre ฉ AusEmade PL
Wonambi Fossil Centre
Back to Top
Thylacoleo carnifex skeleton.Naracoorte Caves
• Many of the limestone caves found in the Naracoorte Caves system contain Pleistocene fossils. The richest of these deposits are those being unearthed in a section of Victoria Cave known as the ‘Fossil Chamber’. It is believed that over a period of more than 500,000 years, the sediment and animal bones filled the Fossil Chamber through an opening in the ceiling, forming an enormous cone-shaped pile. The cave acted like a huge natural pitfall trap, as the animals that fell in were trapped in a tomb with no escape. Over time this pile of skeletons grew with more animal remains and sediment, until eventually the sediment pile reached the ceiling, blocking the entrance. It is believed that the cave became blocked about 15,000 years ago until its discovery.

The pile contains the greatest number, most diverse and the best preserved fossils of this time period in Australia. So far, with over 30 years of excavation and research, there have been over 5,000 specimens catalogued, with only about 4% of what is estimated to be 5,000 tonnes of bone-rich sediment. Over 90 different animal species have been identified including the 2-3 metre Giant Short-faced Kangaroo (Procoptodon goliah), the Marsupial Tapir (Palorchestes azael) and a giant snake (Wonambi naracoortensis). Fossil remains of modern animals have also been found, such as the wallabies, bettongs, possums, mice, bats, snakes, lizards, turtles, frogs, and Tasmanian Devil and Tiger.

A Western Australian banksia (Banksia prionotes) ฉ AusEmade PLWorld Heritage
• Inscription on the World Heritage List recognises the value of the vertebrate fossil material, dating back perhaps 500,000 years. These deposits provide an opportunity to study the impact of climate change on biodiversity before and after the continent was populated.

The bones of extinct megafauna such as Thylacoleo, Diprotodon, Zygomaturus and sthenurine kangaroos have been found within the caves and represent the most complete fossil record we have of this period. Research has provided many insights into the appearance and behaviour of these extinct animals, but the answer to one question remains elusive, ‘why did these large animals disappear?’ Perhaps the Naracoorte Caves hold the answer.

• The vegetation is predominantly brown stringybark on the limestone ridge, with river red gum lining the banks of the Mosquito Creek. The understorey on the ridge is bracken fern over a diverse array of orchids that flower during spring.

Some of the park was cleared for pine forests in the mid 1800s, with other exotic species planted around the caves. Some of these plants have been retained in the established gardens around the park.

• The most common marsupial seen at Naracoorte is the western grey kangaroo. At night, brushtail possums emerge from the caves and trees, and sugar gliders can also be found if you are lucky. Echidnas are commonly seen and if you catch a glimpse of a small rodent-like animal, it may be a yellow-footed antechinus. The antechinus is an insect eating marsupial.

Bird life is abundant, especially around the gardens of the Wonambi Fossil Centre where they regularly feed. Some of the more frequently seen birds include New Holland honeyeaters, little wattlebirds and several species of thornbills. Owls are also seen in the region such as the Southern Boobook, whose main food source is the Bent-wing Bat.

Wonambi Fossil Centre
• Step through the doors of the Wonambi Fossil Centre into an ancient world where megafauna once roamed. The display in the Wonambi Fossil Centre ‘brings to life’ the megafauna fossils found in the Naracoorte Caves. The self-guided walk through the simulated forest and swampland is wheelchair accessible and suitable for all ages.

The Flinders University Gallery has information panels depicting the various sciences studied at Naracoorte, and touch screen computers to answer questions you may have relating to the Wonambi Fossil Centre and the fossils of Naracoorte Caves.

Southern Boobook ฉ AusEmade PLWalking Trails
• Enjoy the wildlife along the park’s walking trails that winds through remnant bushland. A short walk from the exit of the Wonambi Fossil Centre takes you to Wet Cave through a small patch of stringybark scrub. In spring, there is an abundance of birdlife and keep your eyes out for the many varieties of orchids to be seen.

The World Heritage Walk takes you to Victoria Fossil Cave from the Wet Cave entrance, identifying several sites of World Heritage significance along the way. This trail is 1.2 km long and takes about 30 minutes to complete.

From the Victoria Fossil Cave car park, take the trail to Stoney Point picnic ground and enjoy the ancient limestone cliffs, stringybark scrub on the range and river red gum flats along the way.

• Accommodation can be found at Wirreanda campground and Wirreanda bunkhouse.

• There are picnic tables throughout the park, with coin operated BBQ located on the large lawn area adjacent to the car park. A shelter and BBQ are located at the Stoney Point picnic ground, 1.5 km from the Victoria Fossil Cave car park.

Refreshment and a meal can be had in the comfort of The Caves Cafe, just 30 metres from the Wonambi Fossil Centre.

Source: Naracoorte Caves National Park and Australian Museum Online
Images AusEmade PL ฉ 2003 (unless indicated otherwise)

Back to Top

click to continue...

Naracoorte Caves National Park Other links

• Caves, Karst, Speleology
Back to Top
 AusEmadeฎ Pty Ltd
 ABN 53 091 811 068
Advertise | Free Listing | Contact ฉ 2001-2015 
Privacy | Disclaimer | Copyright