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Mole Creek Karst National Park

Tasmania, Australia

Mole Creek Karst NP
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Mole Creek Karst National Park - Cities, Towns and Localities
Located in central north of Tasmania, only 40 minutes drive west of Deloraine is Mole Creek Karst National Park. The highlight of any visit to the National Park is a guided tour of Marakoopa or King Solomons Cave. Located within a 15 minutes drive of each other, these two caves are located in an area that contains over 200 known caves and sinkholes, as well as gorges and underground streams and springs, all of which are characteristics of a “karst” landscape.

History
The limestone in which the caves of Mole Creek have developed began forming in the Ordovician Period (400-500 million years ago). This was in a  time when Tasmania was part of Gondwana (a “supercontinent” comprising mainland Australia, South America, Antarctica, India and other southern landmasses). Close to the equator, and covered by a warm shallow sea, limestone was deposited on the sea bed mainly as coral reefs, but also in the deeper waters where it formed as the result of accumulation of microscopic marine organisms. Most of western Tasmania was covered by limestone during this time, but much of it was later covered by younger rock formations.

After the limestone was deposited, the processes that give rise to caves and karst began. In recent geological times, streams began to cut down through the rocks overlying the limestone at the ground surface.

Many processed contributed to the caves development such as the uplift of the Central Plateau to the south. This with Australia breaking away from Antarctica and glaciers developing in Antarctica and the Tasmanian mountains. Glacial sediments were deposited in the Forth Valley around 30 million years ago and during the last two million years, there have been successions of glaciations and intermittently episodes of less severe climate. The waters formed from the melting of glaciers and snowfields were processes that actively assisted with the formation of some caves. Other caves were blocked by the sediment swept into them, as can be seen in the remains of some sediments on the roof of Marakoopa Cave (above the Coral Gardens).

King Solomons Cave was formed by the flow of an underground stream, that has long since passed, leaving the formation of the cave behind.

Cave Life
The streams that flow into Marakoopa Cave carry many insects and large amounts of plant material that form the basis of the food web for the cave-dwellers. Many of these creatures have adapted to an environment where there is no light. Species which never leave their dark homes are known as troglobites. With the absence of light, troglobites have no need for eyes and their long appendages, help them find their way around.

The glow-worms found in Marakoopa Cave are not worms at all, but rather the larval form of a mosquito-like fly. The light is produced by burning waste products in the larvae’s excretory organs. Adult females also produce light to attract male flies. This display of glow-worm is the largest seen in any public access cave in Australia.

Other species found in Marakoopa Cave include harvestmen, the Tasmanian cave spider and the ancient mountain shrimp (Anaspides).

There are no camping facilities in the park, with the closest accommodation available at Mole Creek. All supplies can be purchased in Sheffield or Mole Creek, as there are no shops in the vicinity of the caves. Both main caves have toilets, water, picnic shelters, with wood and electric BBQ facilities. A public telephone is located at King Solomons Cave.

Check out our listing of Mole Creek accommodation. In addition to our listed online travel guide information, contact the local tourism visitor centre for your destination for more attractions, tours, local maps and other information.

Information Centre

Launceston Travel & Information Centre

Mole Creek Karst National Park Attractions

Marakoopa Fern Glade Walk
Starting from the lower car park to the Marakoopa Cave car park, this is an easy 20 minute walk through rainforest. There are BBQ facilities.
Marakoopa and King Solomons Caves
• Ph: 03 6363 5182
Managed by the Parks and Wildlife Service, both caves are spectacular and quite different. You can buy single ticket to either cave or a ticket to both cave at a cheaper rate.
  • Marakoopa Cave
    — Features two underground streams, a large display of glow-worms, large caverns, rim pools, reflections, shawl and flowstone formations.
  • King Solomons Cave
    — A much smaller cave than Marakoopa, however it is lavishly decorated with shawls, stalactites and stalagmites. This cave is richly-coloured and features calcite crystals known as ‘King Solomons diamonds’. This cave is recommended for those who prefer gentle walks.

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Mole Creek Karst NP Tours

TAS ToursOutback  • EcoAdventureNational Tours
Wild Cave-Tours
• 165 Fern-lea Rd, CAVESIDE TAS 7304 • Ph/Fax: 03 6367 8142 • Email
Discover Australia’s most spectacular underground wilderness.
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Mole Creek Karst National Park Other links

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