Capricorn Caves

Olsen's Caves - Olsen's Capricorn Caverns - Capricorn Cave Tour


Useful Information

Location: 23km north of Rockhampton, Queensland. Olsen's Caves Road, The Caves.
Open: All year daily 9-16, every hour on the hour. Summer Solstice Light Beam tour: Dec-Jan 10. [2005]
Fee: Cathedral Caves Tour: Adults AUD 16, Children (5-15) AUD 8.
Wild Caving Adventure Tours: Adults AUD 60, only prebooked. [2005]
Classification:  Karst cave, Devonian riffs
Light: electric
Dimension: T=24°C.
Guided tours: Cathedral tour: D=60min.
Wild Caving Adventure Tours: D=4h.
Summer Solstice Light Beam tour: D=2h.
Photography:  
Accessibility:  
Bibliography:  
Address: Capricorn Caves, Olsen Caves Road, The Caves, Queensland 4702, Tel: +61-74934-2883, Fax: +61-74934-2936. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
Last update:$Date: 2015/08/30 21:52:00 $

History

 
1882discovered by Norwegian pioneer John Olsen.
01-DEC-1984cave opened to the public.
1988purchased by the Augusteyn family.
1992wheelchair access ramps to the major gallery, Cathedral Cave.
1998advanced ecotourism accreditation was awarded.
1999caravan park opened.

Description

Capricorn Caves were first named Olsen's Caverns after the discoverer and owner, Mr John Olsen, a Norwegian pioneer. The Capricorn was added later, because of the closeness to the Tropic of Capricorn and a special astronomic event, which can be observerd in the cave. Today the cave is simply called Capricorn Caves.

Each year from December to January at midday, when the sun is directly over the Tropic of Capricorn, a beam of direct sunlight penetrates a 14m high vertical shaft. When a person stands in the light, the whole cavern is illuminated by the reflected light. The colour of the light depends on colour of the person's clothing. This effect is shown on a special tour, the Summer Solstice Light Beam tour, that obviously starts only once a day. It is at its brightest and longest on the 22nd of December, and the time is around 11, not 12, because of daylight saving time!

The caves are often called above ground caves as they are lying within a massive ridge of limestone, a 380 million years old fossilized coral reef that rises from the surrounding land today, like it rose from the sea bed. The entrance is a vast canyon, draped in fig tree roots and vines, which is actually a collapsed part of the cave.

In the largest chamber, called Cathedral Cave, weddings, concerts, and an annual "Carols In The Cave" are held. The Solstice Tour e.g. includes listening to music in the Cathedral Cave which shows a magnificent acoustical quality of the hall.

In Capricorn Caves the visitor is able to get a little spelunking experience. The adventurous members of the tour can chose to exit the cave through the Whale's Belly, a narrow, dark, dirty, but rather short crawl.

There are numerous special tours, ranging from four hour spelunking tours over abseil trips and rope courses to educational tours. A good idea are the Senior Tours which allow seniors and disabled visitors to see the cave. There are ramps so the cave is wheelchair accessible.

In the caves live five species of insectivorous bats. It is a spectacular sight, when they emerge at dusk from the cave entrances to find food in the bush. This bush, a remnant dry rainforest, can be visited in a self guided rainforest walk with interpretive signs.


See also


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