Pop quiz. What is South Australia’s only World Heritage site? If you answered Magic Mountain you would not technically be right, but you should be. No it’s the Naracoorte Caves of course.
I would like to think that most South Australians have at least heard of the caves, or have already been. For me my last visit was 10 years ago but like a lot of places, it constantly changes and updates so for me it was like a whole new experience on this visit.
At Naracoorte, the caves have acted as pitfall traps and owl roosting sites, collecting animals for at least 500,000 years. The Caves preserve the most complete fossil record we have for this period of time, spanning several ice ages, the arrival of humans in the area and the extinction of Australia’s iconic Megafauna roughly 60,000 years ago. The bones of Megafauna species such as Thylacoleo carnifex Marsupial Lion, Thylacine, Zygomaturus and sthenurine kangaroos have been found in the fossil deposits.
But you don’t like enclosed dark spaces I hear you say? Never fear, my kids don’t love them either but you won’t have any issues at Naracoorte. I am quite tall and rather clumsy, so I was worried about knocking my head or tripping over things, but with a range of caves to suit all abilities and ages they truly have everyone covered.
We did the Alexandra Cave Tour, which you could probably call the entry level cave with huge cavernous rooms with high ceilings and great lighting. The kids will love the amazing formations and at between 30-40 minutes, it is not too long if you think you will struggle underground. That is just one of a number of caves and tour options, ranging from Bat Cave tours (um nope) to Adventure caving (my kids are sooks and wouldn’t come with me….next time!). Click here to book a Naracoorte Caves tour online
The visitor centre and Cave Café are fantastic and will add to the exploring experience, learning about the fossil history of the caves while eating cave snacks (cave snacks aren’t actually a thing, but I take any chance to eat delicious café snacks).
Before you leave, make sure you check out the brand new Fossil Hunters Playground next to the visitors centre. To give you an idea how good the playground is, it rained during our visit and we still couldn’t drag the kids away. So allow enough time for the kids to play while you eat cave snacks.
Naracoorte Caves National Park is open from 9am – 5pm every day (except Christmas Day or days of catastrophic fire danger). Entry to the national park and car parking is free, however tour fees apply.
To find our more about Naracoorte Caves visit
We have other great suggestions on where to go, what to see and do around the Limestone Coast area on our Limestone Coast with Kids post here: https://kidsinadelaide.com.au/limestone-coast-for-kids/