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Our visit for today was to Naracoorte Caves. Naracoorte lies in the southeastern section of South Australia and is part of what is known as the Limestone Coast. Close to the Victorian border, the caves are about 80 kilometres from Mt Gambier on the Princes Highway. Mt Gambier is 486 kilometres from the state capital, Adelaide, but there are shorter routes to the caves through Kingston SE on the Princes Highway or through Bordertown on the Dukes Highway. However, both Jamie & I decided that we wanted to drive the scenic route.
Once we had arrived at the caves, Jamie had a decision of which cave he wanted to visit. I say Jamie, as I had already decided that there was NO-WAY that I was going inside ANY CAVE!!! As some of you know, I'm very clostophobic and I couldn't think of anything worse than being enclosed in a cave-yuk!!!
Jamie, kept ON-AND-ON-AND-ON, until...I finally gave in!!! Yes, I know, I couldn't believe I was going down the caves either. Jamie-bless him made sure the tour guide knew about my fear and she descretly handed me a touch as my little comforter!!! I know-I am a big WOOSE!!!
The cave we went in was supposed to be the best out of the six caves that were there. We chose the "Fossil Cave!" I desperately tried to keep my fear under control as we headed down a tunnel to the cave and I took a deep breath as our tour guide firmly closed and locked the door behind us. I was the last person of our party as I felt comfortable quietly freaking out at the back of the line!!!
Our tour began. Our guide was soooo passionate and knowledgable about the caves, I actually began to listen and learn something-which in turn made me forget how scared I was!!! For more than 500,000 years giant animals roamed the Naracoorte area. Falling into well hidden pitfall caves, their fossilised skeletons were left behind, giving scientists a rare glimpse of long extinct animal life. There was a display of these animals and thousands of other remains deep within a part of the cave. Giant marsupials such as the wombat-like Diprotodon, Thylacoleo the marsupial lion and giant kangaroos lived in the area. These animals, along with others, had been recreated into life-sized models at the renowned Wonambi Fossil Centre. The fossils have earned Naracoorte Caves National Park a spot on the World Heritage List - South Australia's only listed attraction.
Yes, I now know I am beginning to sound like a REAL GEEK!!! Honestly, there is a glorious display of stalagmites and stalactites. The fossil and limestone formations were AMAZING!!! These are some of the photos we took. I have to say I am soooo glad Jamie persuaded me to go-i really enjoyed the caves!!
After our trip for today, it was time lot get back on the road. We were heading for THE GRAMPIANS, which was an extremely remote place, where we saw some of the most beautiful and natural sites!! As we drove the light began to fail and over here in Australia, it is recommended that you don't drive once it starts getting dark as THE ENTIRE WILDLIFE WORLD take over the country. I'm not kidding either...we had NO CHOICE, but to reach our destination as we were literally in the middle of nowhere. We had booked a campsite, which was about 50km away and that was the nearest we would get to civilisation. As predicted, the entire Australian animal kingdom came out as soon as the daylight faded. Jumping out in front of us in the road we had numerous: kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, snakes, eagles, wombats, frogs, toads, all sorts of colourful birds, thousands of insects, flying foxes and cassowaries!! we ended up driving at 40km/h and both Jamie(passenger) and myself(driver) literally had our foreheads on the windscreen checking our sides of the road were clear so we didn't hit any wildlife!! It took forever to get to our campsite that night deep in the Grampians, as all the animals I mentioned above kept walking, running, jumping and flying into the middle of the road. We successfully reached our campsite with no accidents at 11pm. Phew we were glad to get to our beds that night!!!
As was the usual thing to do we ate and got ready for some well earned rest. Jamie was chilling, playing games on the iPad and I was knackered and went to bed. As Jamie was later going to the bathroom before he settled, I noticed he was AGES!!! I went out of the camper van to see where he was-he was only doing his David Attinborough impression again!!! He beckoned me over with his finger on his mouth-indicating for me to be quiet!! I slowly tip-toed towards him, only to see a mother wallaby and baby wallaby by his feet. David Attinborough AKA:Jamie had been following them around the camp site for about an hour!!! I quickly and quietly returned to the camper van to snatch my camera for some photos!! All in all, it ended up being a VERY LONG DAY but extremely enjoyable!!
I hope you enjoy the photos.
What else can I say ?
Clare has summed up the day really nicely
She also done really well to face her fears and enter the caves in the first place !
So well done Clare