Friday, March 1, 2013

Mount Gambier and Naracoorte Caves

We camped at Mount Schank crater. The interpretation signs included a vast amount of material including the geology, Bunganditj explanation of the volcanic landscape, European history and historic art work. Mount Schank formed about 5,000 years ago.

Mount Schank crater
After hiking up the crater in the morning we headed to Mount Gambier to get the brakes fixed on the trailer. We explored town for the day and saw an excellent documentary at the local council about the volcanics. With our brakes repaired (we hoped) we headed for a camping ground right next to the Blue Lake.

The Blue Lake crater is an explosive structure called a 'maar',  consisting of a rim of ejected material (basalt and ash) resting directly on the pre-eruption landsurface. The crater is one of the youngest volcanoes in Australia.

Blue Lake
The next day we headed for World Heritage Naracoorte Caves. We took a tour of the Victoria Fossil Cave to see the renowned fossil deposits. Fossils of the large marsupials such as the Marsupial Elephant (Diprotodon australis) and the Short Faced Leaf-eating Kangaroo (Sthenurus occidentalis) have been found in this cave. We enjoyed a tour of the Wonambi Fossil Centre that recreates the ancient world of Australia's mega-fauna with life sized robotics. There was a cave the kids could crawl through. Mum made a pretend growl at the end which made Liam bump his head on the roof from fear.

Victoria Fossil Cave

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