Queensland, Australia - December 2019: Tourists inside a cavern explore the ecosystem of the Capricorn Caves. Photography difficult due to very low light.

Jackson Stock Photography/Shutterstock

Capricorn Caves

Top choice in Rockhampton

Riddling the Berserker Range some 24km north of Rockhampton, this vast cave complex is one of the Capricorn Coast's foremost attractions. Technically not subterranean (they were formed by water working on the limestone of an ancient reef, thrust upward by tectonic pressure) they contain cave coral, stalactites, dangling fig-tree roots and little insectivorous bats. The most popular (one-hour) tour showcases their remarkable acoustics with a classical-music recording in Cathedral Cave, and is suitable for all ages and most fitness levels.

The cathedral has become a popular wedding spot, and hosts several concerts throughout the year. In December, around the summer solstice (1 December to 14 January), sunlight beams through a 14m vertical shaft into Belfry Cave, creating an electrifying light show. If you stand directly below the beam, reflected sunlight colours the whole cavern with whatever colour you’re wearing.

There are other tours that focus on palaeontology and fossils. Also, daring spelunkers over 16 years old and of decent fitness can book a two-hour ‘adventure tour’ ($90), which has you crawling through tight spots with names such as ‘Fat Man’s Misery’. A less strenuous family version of this tour is also offered (adult/child $50/40; also two hours long).

The Capricorn Caves complex has barbecue areas, a pool, a kiosk and accommodation (powered sites $35, cabins from $150).

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