Is your family looking for adventure, clear starry nights and good, old-fashioned hospitality? Why not explore one of Central Queensland’s hidden gems – Capricorn Caves with the kids.
The Caves are located a short 30 minute drive from Rockhampton, inland from the sunny shores of Yepoon. All tours are guided, offering you peace of mind as you safely explore these caves. There are several accommodation options – eco-tents, cabins and even a lodge for large groups and conferences.
I recently took the opportunity to explore this eco-tourism site with a group of kids. Four teenagers, two tweens and a couple of slightly out of shape mums ready for a change of pace and a retreat from the cabin-fever synonymous with 2020.
Accommodation at Capricorn Caves
Staying at Capricorn Caves with kids was super easy.
We booked several of the eco-tents available at this 80 acre property and were able to drive right up to the tent door. We’d expected to ‘rough’ it but were delighted to find a camp kitchen – complete with barbecue, kettle, toaster and fridge. There was also a concrete fire pit ready for us to light – so we could easily indulge our love of toasted marshmallows. The onsite kiosk had a range of café style food, drinks and ice-creams and there was a country pub a few minutes’ drive away.
The tents were spacious – inside each was two single beds and space for three mattresses. The wooden verandahs and deck chairs were thoughtful additions. The park owners really had thought through the design.
This trip was so much fun. I just loved watching my children and nieces challenging themselves as they climbed mountains, trekked through ancient caves and looked into archaeological digs. This trip to Capricorn Caves with the kids was simply magic – like being on a film set the entire stay. It was almost too perfect to be real.
Along with the campers, there were plenty of day-visitors in the park, so I was glad to have nominated our tours at time of booking. Most of the tours during our stay were fully booked – so I’d recommend phoning ahead to secure the ones you want.
The Cathedral Tour at Capricorn Caves
Offering wheelchair access, this short tour offers visitors the chance to disappear into 30 metres of limestone to a spectacular cavern offering near perfect natural acoustics. We were treated to a rare experience when our guide turned off the lights and played the haunting sound of Lenard Cohen’s Hallelujah.
The cathedral itself has rows of wooden bench seats and a choir stand – the perfect site for a unique wedding experience.
Exiting through the miner’s tunnel, guests also get to experience a sunlit cave on the other side of the mountain. Here, we learned about the formation of the caves before heading back through ‘Zig Zag Alley’ and across a suspension bridge. For a short tour, it certainly packs a punch! The kids had ample opportunity for photos and fun on this tour (and during our whole stay) at Capricorn Caves.
We were told this was best done in the afternoon (for optimal lighting and temperature), and it did not disappoint. This tour is suited to people of medium level fitness as it requires some scrambling over rocks; and a short section has you squeezing under quite narrow gaps. While it covers some of the same territory as the Cathedral Tour, I’m so glad we did both. The caves were simply beautiful – we found ourselves gazing at enormous stalactites and down into deep caverns.
While it felt a bit ‘Indiana Jones’ to those of us old enough to remember the handsome adventurer, we never once felt unsafe. The pathways were well-lit and while some rock jumping was required, there was also a maze of weathered wooden pathways – left behind remnants of the mountain’s mining past. The helmets and headlamps were a necessary bit of fun.
The kids’ highlight of this particular afternoon at Capricorn Caves was ‘The Whale’s Belly’. The entrance was a small hole in an enormous boulder. The bravest among us squeezed up and through the rock into a tiny cave. From there, they journeyed upwards, before popping out of what looked like a pile of rocks.
This tour had a minimum age of twelve years, so we chose not to go. I think perhaps I’d like to lose a few kilos before I attempt the part of the cave system called, “Fat Man’s Misery”! I think that it would be a great bonding experience for families with older kids visiting Capricorn Caves and I look forward to giving it a try in a few years’ time.
We went expecting bushland and serenity and were pleasantly surprised by the action-packed adventure we got. It’s a certainly an experience we won’t forget in a hurry!