Address: The Caves QLD 4702
Phone: 1300 130 372
Approximately 26kms north of Rockhampton. Limestone outcrops, decorated caves, rare bats and dry rainforest patches are now protected in a national park that once was the site of Australia’s longest running conservation battle. Limestone outcrops and dense, decorated caves are protected in Mount Etna Caves National Park. Mount Etna is the roosting site for more than 80 percent of Australia’s breeding population of little bent-wing bats. It is also one of the few places in Australia supporting a colony of the endangered ghost bat. The Archer Brothers, who settled in the Rockhampton area in the 1850s, named Mount Etna after the volcano in Sicily. From 1914 to 1939, the caves were mined for guano, a natural fertiliser, and from 1925 for limestone. During World War II, commandos trained here. The park was established in 1975 to protect the caves, and a subsequent campaign to save other caves included the protection of Mount Etna. The park was once submerged by a shallow sea and has been alternately shaped by, and then starved of, water. Limestone from ancient coral reefs formed the rocky karst seen today. As Mount Etna’s landscape has evolved, so too have people’s attitudes towards the mountain. Once the focus of Australia’s longest conservation dispute, Mount Etna Caves National Park now protects the mountain for future generations.