In an effort to boost tourism as well as funnel much needed revenue into struggling towns in remote areas, the Australian government has put the Chillagoe Caves, quite literally, in the limelight. The 600 limestone caves in Chillagoe that stretch over 124 miles have been fitted with an array of lights and walking paths geared for tour groups. Government officials hope that the attraction will lure visitors and tourists away from more commonly known destinations.
The town of Chillagoe lies about 3 hours west of Cairns in Queensland. Much like the plethora of other natural Australian wonders, Chillagoe won’t fail to impress.
Chillagoe’s Main Attraction
The Chillagoe caves are part of the Chillagoe-Mungana Caves National Park. Visitors will enjoy the new walking tracks while navigating the stunning limestone caves. The caves showcase many incredible features, including a Madonna. The ancient caves that once were a coral reef in the middle of the ocean, have allowed archaeologists to uncover a bounty of dinosaur fossils, some up to 16 ft. in length.
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Chillagoe’s Other Attractions
Aside from visiting the subterranean labyrinths that can tunnel as far down as 1 km below the surface, Chillagoe offers a handful of other attractions. The cave tour offers an added benefit of seeing galleries of Aboriginal rock art. When the cave tour finishes, visitors are encouraged to go to the viewing platform. The deck overlooks the smelting site that once was the center of town a hundred years ago, but is now closed to the public. The vantage point provides a perfect spot to view the sunset, as it dips behind the rusty remnants of Chillagoe’s once thriving past. The historically rich mining community survived on abundant lodes of copper and zinc. Today, the large amounts of marble in the area garner more attention.
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Hopes for Chillagoe to Boost Australian Tourism
Australia is trying to address some tourism-related challenges at the moment. For a long time, Australia has struggled to change its global image as a country that’s rather vanilla, common, and doesn’t have much distinction to offer. More critical is the increasing costs of Queensland tourism, which is one of Australia’s main tourist destinations. Local businesses are being asked to offer “more bang for the buck.” This may not be an issue for long, as some people see a drop in the Australian dollar coming soon, making the “Land Down Under” a hot spot for foreign visitors. Nevertheless, the Australian government isn’t taking any kind of a loss in tourism revenue lightly, investing $700,000 into the Chillagoe caves.
Photo Credit: Paul d’Ambra via Flickr cc
Jason Hall is blogger and Brand Manager for Budget Car hire. He enjoys sharing Australian travel tips and ideas.