Capricorn Caves

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

Useful Information

Location: 23 km north of Rockhampton, Queensland. Olsen's Caves Road, The Caves.
Open: Cathedral Cave Tour: All year Mon-Fri 10-14, Sat, Sun 9-16.
Capricorn Explorer: All year daily 10.
Capricorn Adventurer: All year daily 14.
Fee: Cathedral Cave Tour: Adults AUD 30, Children AUD 15, Concession AUD 27, Family AUD 75.
Capricorn Explorer: Adults AUD 50, Children AUD 25.
Capricorn Adventurer: Adults AUD 65.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave Devonian riffs SmileAbove Ground Caves
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: T=24 °C.
Guided tours: Cathedral Cave Tour: D=45 min.
Capricorn Explorer: D=90 min, age 5+, participants 3+.
Capricorn Adventurer: D=120 min, age 12+, participants 2+.
V=35,000/a [2000]
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: Cathedral Cave Tour: yes.
Others: no.
Address: Capricorn Caves, 30 Olsen Caves Road, The Caves, Queensland 4702, Tel: +61-74934-2883, Fax: +61-74934-2936. E-mail:
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.


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


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 observed 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 14 m 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 visible on 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 cave trekking 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 cave trekking 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.