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Cairns - Chillagoe-Mungana National Park
Dry prickly vine scrub and jagged limestone outcrops at Chillagoe conceal the breathtaking beauty of the limestone caves underground. Many of these caves are protected in sections of Chillagoe-Mungana Caves National Park.
About 400 million years ago, limestone was deposited as calcareous mud and coral reefs surrounding underwater volcanoes. Subsequent tilting, folding and erosion exposed and weathered the limestone which today towers over the surrounding plains. Fluctuating groundwater levels slowly dissolved some of the limestone, creating caverns and passages, some of which have since been decorated by calcite stalagtites, stalagmites and flowstones, deposited by surface waters penetrating through the rock.
Few animals can survive inside the dark caves. The common bent-wing, little bent-wing, little brown, sheath-tailed, eastern horseshoe and diadem horseshoe bats roost and breed here. Chillagoe is one of five known nesting sites for the white-rumped swiftlet which, like bats, uses sound waves or echolocation to navigate around the dark caves. The caves are also home to the spotted python and a variety of insects and spiders. Fossilised bones of many animals including the extinct giant kangaroo have been found in the caves
Chillagoe Caves is 215km or three hours’ drive west of Cairns via Mareeba and Dimbulah. The popular Royal Arch, Donna and Trezkinn Caves are just south of Chillagoe. The Archways is at Mungana, 15km north-west of Chillagoe
Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service
13 QGOV (13 74 68)