Ready for an epic adventure? Think ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ or ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’ type adventure… The kind of trip where you venture into the outback, descend deep underground to unearth breath-taking, eye-sparkling treasures and return home in time for dinner. Sound enticing? Read on!
Chillagoe-Mungana Caves National Park is one of far north Queensland’s best-kept secrets. Why? Most of the action is deep underground – a labyrinth of caves, caverns, and passages, formed by dissolving of the limestone bedrock over eons (we’re talking 400 million years). To be part of this action you need to journey, not quite to the centre of the Earth in a volcanic vent, but down narrow passageways and steep winding stairs lit only by spotlights, or into wide echoing chambers with lanterns held high. Hidden under a veil of darkness, you’ll discover the spell-binding natural beauty of limestone caves!
The above-ground landscape is pretty awesome too, with limestone outcrops and bluffs towering above the savannah. And an intriguing historical ruin that has provided a distinctive backdrop to the Chillagoe township for more than a century.
All this, and it’s only 3 hours’ drive west from Cairns (or 2 hours from Mareeba). If you are travelling the Savannah Way, the Ootan/Chillagoe Alternative Route will lead you to Chillagoe.
With 3 Ranger-guided cave tours each day to choose from, as well as walking tracks to explore and the region’s mining heritage to discover, you’ll probably need more than a day.