1. Australia
  2. Queensland
  3. Cairns
  4. Palm Cove

Chillagoe Caves and Outback from Cairns Full-Day Tour

Product ID: 11045
Journey back in history to spectacular outback landscapes, ancient coral reefs, limestone caves and Granite Gorge Nature Park. See an array of birdlife and wildlife, visit the Chillagoe smelters and Chillagoe Caves.
About this activity
Duration: 11 hours
Printed or mobile voucher accepted
Instant confirmation
Live tour guide

Pickup included

Cancellation policy
Cancel up to 2 days in advance for a full refund

Select participants and date:



  • Explore the Chillagoe Caves, the largest known system having over 11 km of surveyed subterranean passage
  • Feed wallabies and hold other animals at Granite Gorge Nature Park
  • Get an insight of the Chillagoe Smelters, a historical, industrial site with pits and tanks
  • Drive in a 4WD and enjoy a typical Australian lunch
Full description
Your naturalist guide will meet you at your accommodation and after introductions all round, you will ascend the McAllister Ranges and head west through Mareeba embarking on a remarkable journey back to prehistoric times, when dinosaurs ruled the Earth.

The first stop is for morning tea (tea, coffee and cakes or a sausage roll). From here you will travel through the back blocks of a wetland area viewing wallabies, emus and other wildlife and then along the irrigated agricultural paddocks of this fertile area, eventually crossing over the Great Divide and into the Western watershed. Travel through historical towns and rolling hills rich in minerals eventually giving way to towering limestone karsts scattered around Chillagoe. 
Stop in Chillagoe for the National Parks Cave tour. The fossilized remains of the ancient coral reefs with hidden limestone labyrinths give a portal to a lost world just like the Great Barrier Reef. Millions of years in the making, the limestone formations are nothing short of spectacular. Then delve into the history of the copper smelters, whose old chimneys dominate the western horizon. Visit the remains of the once mighty smelters to ponder what it was like working there, then visit Aboriginal Rock Art. Afterwards, it’s time for an Aussie pub lunch. 

After lunch and a visit to the local souvenir shop, head back towards the East coast, stopping at Granite Gorge where you can feed wallabies and hold other indigenous animals. The tour then returns down the range to Cairns.
  • Naturalist guide
  • Pick-up and drop off (Cairns area only)
  • Air-conditioned 4WD vehicles
  • Morning tea
  • Delicious Aussie pub lunch
  • Tour of Chillagoe caves
  • Visit to Aboriginal Rock Art
  • Tour of the Smelters
  • National Park fees
  • Carbon Tax and fuel levies may apply
What’s Not Included
  • Personal expenses
Not suitable for
  • Wheelchair users

Prepare for the activity

Important information
What to bring
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun hat
  • Sunscreen
Not allowed
  • Pets
  • Oversize luggage
  • Luggage or large bags
  • Alcohol and drugs
Know before you go
• Transfers can be arranged from Port Douglas at an additional cost
• A reasonable level of fitness is required for this tour as there are steps into the caves and uneven ground.
• The tour may be cancelled or the itinerary changed due to wet season weather, where conditions may close roads and access to the caves.
Customer reviews

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 20 reviews

Review summary

  • Service
    4.6 / 5
  • Organization
    4.9 / 5
  • Value for money
    4.6 / 5
  • Safety
    4.8 / 5
Sort by

We enjoyed this trip to the outback, seeing Royal Arches Caves, Balance Rock, Kangaroo's and Wallabies in the wild was truly and Australian experience. its a bit of a ride to the Chillagoe but interesting. Australia has a unique landscape from rainforest to desert rather quickly. strongly recommend a journey inland to round out your experience.

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February 24, 2020

Fantastic day in the outback

My partner and I really enjoyed this tour. We’ve recently moved to Cairns and have been meaning to get out to Chillagoe. Great day out. Our guide Gav was fantastic too, knew his stuff! If you get a chance to head out that way we recommend it. There are quite a few caves out there so we might go back soon and see what else the area has to offer :)

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September 14, 2019

Beautifull day of discovery a day to remember.

Gaven our guide was super. Recommend this tour without hesitation.

March 30, 2019

Organized by

Billy Tea Safaris

Product ID: 11045