During our recent trip to Tasmania we spent the Sunday at Cradle Mountain (read about it here) and that was our last day with Craig, that evening we dropped him at Launceston Airport so that he could return to Melbourne for work on Monday morning. The kids and I continued on with our holiday before returning to Melbourne the following Friday. I had a few things in mind that I wanted to see over the next few days but I hadn’t thought too much about Monday. After seeing the forecast I knew I had to do something that didn’t require too much outside time as the weather wasn’t looking brilliant. We had hoped to visit Mole Creek Caves on the way home from Cradle Mountain the day before but time didn’t permit and the weather was much worse that day.
After a little lie in we got up, got ourselves organised and headed off on the 90 mins drive to the Mole Creek Caves (also known as Marakoopa Cave). Mole Creek is on the way to Cradle Mountain from Launceston so I had a good idea of where I had to go. I found the roads really narrow in Tasmania so concentration was required as the roads were wet with a lot of trucks around.
When you arrive you have to stop at the visitor centre and pay for the caves and book a tour. You have to enter the caves with a guide as they are completely dark once you enter.
Here are the admission prices for the caves;
For tour times and costs click here:
The King Solomon Caves, which are a bit further along the highway, are the same price but we never went on to them.
The family ticket was a great option as it included 3 kids. We often have to buy a family ticket plus another kids ticket, feels like you are getting something for nothing!
Our guide was a older gentleman and he was brilliant, he was great with the kids and took the time to engage them and answer their questions. The tour consisted of approx. 20 people with about 5 kids. Once you enter the cave the tour guide will light up the inside chambers in sections.
The guide told us how the cave and the stalactites and stalagmites were formed and why the caves were different colours and what caused the colours. He also explained how the crystals were formed and why the cave needs to remain at constant temperature of 9 degrees.
Once you enter you walk to the end and then stop as the tour guide provides some history about the area and when the cave was discovered. He then turned on some lights which illuminated the next chamber to move into where you also stop, the tour guide provides further information regarding the cave and its formation. There are 4 chambers that you walk through.
At the top, in the last chamber, all the lights are turned off to give you an idea of how it would be if there was no electricity like in the days when the cave was discovered. The tour guide then sang an old Irish tune that echoed through the cave and it sounded fabulous.
I won’t tell you too much as I don’t want to spoil the tour for you but the cave was discovered in 1906 by 2 brothers that decided to keep it a secret. They returned to the cave in 1910 and purchased the land. In 1912 they opened the cave to the public for a small fee.
In 1921 the brothers that owned the land sold the cave system to the Tasmanian Government Tourist Bureau. One of them stayed on as a tour guide and assisted with the installation of the electricity grid for tours. The cave is now managed by Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife on behalf of the Tasmanian Government.
The Mole Creek Cave has the largest display of glow worms than any cave in Australia. They are located in the first chamber. You do not see them when you first walk in but when you return to leave the tour guide will turn off all the lights.
It takes your eyes a little while to adjust (depending on your age) but once they do you will be able to see the glow worm hanging from the ceiling. The kids said they saw then straight away but for me it took a little while. I wear contact lens and when I was looking at them it felt like I could only see them out the corner of my eye, when I looked directly I couldn’t see them.
The kids enjoyed the tour, the tour guide was able to communicate on all different levels which was great. The tour ran for 45 mins and the kids did well to behave and listen for the duration of the tour. They were not keen to do the second tour and I think they would have been bored. I am glad I chose this tour as they were excited to see the glow worms at the end. We didn’t see any cave spiders (much to my delight) but I kept talking about them which ket them busy looking for them.
Alannah is 10 years old and she took in a lot of information about how stalactites and stalagmites are formed and there purpose in the caves. The little ones listened but I don’t think they learnt as much as Alannah. She really took it in and contributed to the conversation and asked questions of the tour guide.
We stopped in Mole Creek for lunch on the way back to Launceston. When we return to Tasmania in the next few years, we will do the other cave. If the kids were a bit older we would have done both, if you have kids over 10 years they would really enjoy the experience but below 10 years old I suggest you stick to one cave only.