Chillagoe is an outback town about 3-4 hrs west of Cairns in Northern Queensland, Australia. Formerly a mining and smelting town, it's now famous for its spectacular limestone caves. There are apparently hundreds of caves in the area, many quite small.
Three caves have guided tours and we visited all of them. We not only enjoyed seeing and learning about the beautiful stalactites, stalagmites, shrouds, pools, false floors and more, but it was also cool to see the caves' fauna such as different species of bats, huntsman spiders, and even a spotted python.
Well worth a visit if you're in the area, our boys loved it.
- The caves' aspect will depend significantly on the time of year: during the dry you'll have full access but the walls won't sparkle, during the wet you will see calcite crystals sparkle, you may see waterfalls... and you may not be able to enter at all due to flooding
- Given the last point it definitely makes sense to call the Chillagoe Tourist Office ((07) 4094 7163) esp. if you're traveling there between Feb and April
- Don't know if it ever gets cold in the caves but we were quite comfortable in shorts and t-shirst when we visited in December
- After a visit, climb up to the top of the rocks to admire the view and check out some of the caves "from above" (be careful!)
- The aboriginal paintings are few in number, really faded and not worth bothering with
- More information on the caves at the state park site
- We stayed overnight at the Chillagoe Eco-Lodge and Observatory. The new managers were super nice and the rooms decent. Chatting with other guests and locals was an added bonus.