Victoria Fossil Cave

Useful Information

Location: 12 km south-east of Naracoorte.
Open: All year daily 10:15, 14:15.
Fee: Adults $10, Reduced $8, Children $6. Combined tickets with other caves possible.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Guided tours: L=420 m, St=70.
Bibliography: R.T. Wells (1975): Reconstructing the past - excavations in Victoria Fossil Cave, Aust. Nat. Hist. 18(6): 208-11.
R.T. Wells, K. Moriarty, D.L.G. Williams (1984): The fossil vertebrate deposits of Victoria Fossil Cave: an introduction to the geology and fauna, Aust. Zool. 21(4): 305-33.
Anon. (1989): Naracoorte Caves: Pleistocene fossil vertebrate deposits of Victoria Fossil Cave,
South Australia. National Parks and Wildlife Service, Adelaide, NPWS, 1989 : 13p; illus (photos)
Based on a draft nomination for the World Heritage List in 1988, this report lists the 93 species identified, and describes the fossil bed.
Desmarchelier, J.M., Goede A., Ayliffe L.K., McCulloch M.T., and Moriarty, K. (2000): Stable isotope record and its paleoenvironmental interpretation for a late Middle Pleistocene speleothem from Victoria Fossil Cave, Naracoorte, South Australia. Quaternary Science Reviews 19: 763 - 774
Address: Naracoorte Caves National Park, P.O.Box 134, Naracoorte. SA. 5271, Tel: +61-87-62-2340, Fax: +61-87-62-1231. 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.
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1869 opened to the public, perhaps South Australia's first tourist attraction.
1969 discovery of fossil remains.
1988 nominated for the World Heritage List.
1994 inscribed in the World Heritage List.
18-JAN-2001 proclaimed as a National Park by the Governor of South Australia.


Victoria Fossil Cave is a significant scientific site since the discovery of fossilised remains of ice-age animals in 1969. This place is inscribed on the World Heritage list because of the extraordinary deposit of fossil material.

The fossils illustrate faunal change spanning several ice ages, highlighting the impacts of both climatic change and humankind on Australia's mammals from at least 350.000 years before the present. They span the probable time of the arrival of humans to Australia, and this is of value in analysing the complex relationships between humans and their environment.

Further research is expected to document a series of snapshots of Pleistocene life in southeast Australia, including details of climate and vegetation associated with the fauna. Recent geological research suggests that deposits of Pliocene and even Miocene age could be found at the site.

Specimens representing 93 vertebrate species have been discovered, ranging in size from very small frogs to buffalo-sized marsupials. These include exceptionally preserved examples of the Australian Ice Age megafauna, as well as a host of modern species such as the Tasmanian Devil, thylacine and others.

Both sites separately provide evidence of key stages in the evolution of the fauna of the world's most isolated continent. The history of mammal lineages in modern Australia can be traced through these fossil deposits, and as a consequence, there is a better understanding of the conservation status of living mammals and their communities.