What's special?On the Barkly Tableland, dry open eucalypt woodland, turpentine wattle shrubland and extensive Mitchell grass plains cover Camooweal Caves National Park. The special beauty of this place lies underground. Here, water has percolated through 500 million years-old layers of soluble dolomite creating an extensive cave system unique in Queensland. Typical limestone cave formations are uncommon here due to the extreme temperatures and sudden flooding during the wet season. These caves are different from caves elsewhere, lacking stalactites and other structures. The water percolating down through the dolomite erodes the rocks during the wet season, but in the dry season the caves dry out and are often dusty. Access to Great Nowranie Cave, one of the largest caves, is from the bottom of a 70 m deep sinkhole.
Ghost bats, other insect-eating bats and owls roost in the caves. The ridge-tailed monitor which lives among the park’s rocky outcrops is associated with a Dreaming legend of the local Injilujji and Thethanu people.
Exploring Camooweal CavesPicnic or bush camp at Caves Waterhole camping area. Toilets, a shelter shed, fireplaces and water are provided. Take fresh water and a fuel stove for cooking. Book campsites in holidays and long weekends.
Only experienced and well-equipped cavers should go caving. Always take a spare light source and go in groups for safety. Notify the local police and the QPWS Mt Isa office, 07-47432055, before caving. Great Nowranie is the best cave to explore but climbing gear is needed to negotiate the entrance.
Visit in the cooler, drier months in the middle of the year. Be prepared for cool nights. Summers are very hot and the caves may flood during the wet season.