Chillago Caves / by Ethan Astall

After setting up in Mossman for two weeks and having checked out a few of the local water holes already, we decided it was time to see what was over the horizon of the surrounding mountains for the weekend. Just a short two and a half hours drive away from cairns, lies a bit of a “hole of a town”…with a rather rocky past - chillagoe, North Queensland, and more specifically - chillagoe caves.

The Chillagoe landscape began to form 400 million years ago, when the area was covered by a shallow sea. Today that limestone towers over the surrounding plains as outcrops while underground, caves and caverns created by dissolving of the limestone are decorated by stalactites, stalagmites and flowstones.

We trekked it out here to check out a hike we’d heard of the “royal arch bluff”, given the name we were picturing a bluff walk along the edge of a cliff (can you blame us?), or at least a little something more spectacular then a 9 km return walk through FLAT, THICK, SCRUBLAND - after finishing night shift that morning I easily could have slept through this walk, but none the less we found the royal arch cave at the end (which you have to pay some hard rock price for per person for a tour), so we decided to walk on top of it - which was pretty unreal to picture this flat, desalted ground as a once was land sea with living, swimming, bubbling animals about, now thick tessalted lime stone rock formations.