A unique Australian Outback tour to Chillagoe Caves from Cairns. See native Australian wildlife, explore underground caves and smelters, view Aboriginal rock art, find fossils, lunch in 100 year old pub and have a yarn with the locals
Explore the Australian outback on our full-day Cairns to Chillagoe Caves tour. You’ll see kangaroos, emus, and wallabies as you venture off the beaten track in a custom-built, air-conditioned vehicle towards the Atherton Tablelands and the Skybury Coffee Plantation.
You’ll learn about the growth of this highly successful coffee and papaya plantation and you may even like to try and sample some coffees and take a look in the gift shop whilst enjoying morning tea.
We will then traverse the fertile agricultural land of the Atherton Tablelands area, passing through mango, banana, and avocado plantations before crossing over the Great Divide to the great red Australian Outback.
The historical town of Chillagoe is where you’ll next stop to learn about its past as a thriving copper mining hub. You’ll visit the remains of the smelters before lunching at an authentic outback pub, built in the early 1900s.
Next, you’ll head to the alluring Chillagoe-Mungana Caves National Park.
It’s here you’ll venture into the labyrinth of passages in its limestone cave system to discover an incredible past more than 400 million years old.
Fossilised remains have been found of the extinct giant kangaroo and ancient marine life, proving its history as an inland sea just like our Great Barrier Reef.
Your Cairns day tour to Chillagoe Caves will begin with a pick-up from your accommodation in the custom-built, air-conditioned four-wheel-drive.
We head west to the Skybury Coffee Plantation up the Kuranda range for our first stop for morning tea.
We then hit the Australian outback dirt roads, keep a lookout for emus, kangaroos and wedge-tailed eagles along the way.
Note, at times subject to weather we will visit Granite Gorge
You’ll then drive past agricultural paddocks of mangoes, paw paws and lychees before crossing the Great Dividing Range and entering the Australian Outback.
You’ll continue past historic towns, mineral-rich rolling hills and limestone karsts, before entering the township of Chillagoe.
This town lies within a belt of limestone, contributing significantly to its distinctive landscape.
You’ll learn about the town’s history as part of a thriving mining industry and the wealth and development that came with this boom. You’ll visit what remains of copper smelters and step back in time as you ponder what it must have been like to work here in these ghost towns.
You’ll then head to lunch at an authentic Australian pub, built in the early 1900s.
Just out of Chillagoe is the Chillagoe-Mungana Karst Caves National Park containing world-class limestone caves.
On a guided tour, you’ll walk through underground caverns lined with stalactites and stalagmites learning about how these caves were formed and the wildlife that inhabits the cave system.
Some scientists believe the landscape around the caves began to form around 400 million years ago, from an ancient inland sea of coral reefs just like our own Great Barrier Reef, this was once the inland sea.
Marine fossils have been found in the caves as well as those of the extinct giant kangaroo.
Millions of years in the making the limestone formations and Chillagoe Caves are nothing short of spectacular.
We visit some Aboriginal Rock Art and the Balancing Rock.
Next up is the opportunity to vsit the unique gift shop which specialises in Chillagoe marble and local Aboriginal art.
Aftert the cave tours we’ll then head back towards Dimbulah for a comfort stop.
Then it’s all aboard for a vist to Granite Gorge to see the wild rock wallabies and enjoy some tropical fruit tasting.
Once we are all satisfied we then begin the final drive to your Cairns accommodation.
See more Outback Australia tours.
Park Ranger-guided tours to Donna, Trezkinn and Royal Arch Caves depart each day at 9.00 am, 11.00 am and 1.30 pm daily except Christmas Day.
From the Royal Arch Cave car park, about 6 km from Chillagoe central, a short 200 m walking track leads you to the cave entrance.
This caving tour is a 600 m walk through passages and 11 chambers in one of the largest cave systems in Chillagoe. Now and again you will be hit with shafts of daylight that appear in between karst formations, and you will see cave dwelling bats echoing their way around the cave roof tops.
The Royal Arch cave has been described by some as grand and impressive. It is a horizontal cave and probably the easiest to explore.
Time taken to explore this cave is around one hour and thirty minutes
Torches are given to everyone to add to the excitement of exploring the tall limestone karsts and enticing tunnels and to ensure you are able to see where you are walking.
There are low overhangs in some places within the Royal Arch Cave so you may be have to be fit enough to stoop low in several sections.
The Donna Cave car park is 1.8 km from Chillagoe. This cave features beautiful limestone columns, calcite crystals and a cave decoration in the form of the Madonna.
During the 200 m walk through the cave, visitors are required to climb several steep flights of stairs; about 200 steps in total so make sure you are wearing the right feet attire and you are moderately fit.
No need for hand held torches this spectacular cave has been fitted out with electricity.
From the Donna Cave car park, located 1.8 km from Chillagoe, a boardwalk leads to a shelter shed at the entrance to the cave. From here enjoy outstanding views of the Chillagoe landscape.
Access to Trezkinn Cave is provided via a steel catwalk encircling a huge central mass of limestone.
The walk through the cave is about 150 m long, with several steep flights of stairs. The sight of a magnificent 'chandelier' formation rewards the visitor.
No need for hand held torches this cave has also been fitted out with electricity
January - December
Monday, Wednesday, Friday
6:50am (approx) from Cairns - returns 6:30pm (approx)
6:30am (approx) from Northern Beaches - returns 6:30pm (approx)
6:00am (approx) from Port Douglas - returns 7:30pm (approx) - Return Transfers from Port Douglas or Thala Beach, payable on board to the driver.
12 hours approx
Transfers available from Turtle Cove, Thala Beach Resort and Port Douglas for an additional cost
All cancellations must be in writing. Please note that all cancellations will incur an administration fee. Please see our terms and conditions for details prior to booking.
Day Tour: cancellations received within 48 hours are subject to no refund. Also includes any no shows. Any tour date changes must be made with at least 48 hours’ notice.