BIG chambers – now this is more like it!

KANGAROO ISLAND – PART 2 – 20-22 October 2022
After our day of sight-seeing, it was back to the caves.  The groups had been re-organised and so for the next three days I’d be caving with other surveyors – this was great as I expected to pick up lots of hints about being more efficient!

On Thursday, I was teamed up with Janice M, Janice C and Nick H and we headed over to the B1 1sqk grid (the 15sqk area had been cut up into 1sqk grids for us).  We headed off in Nick’s 4WD and along a very wet fire trail (cutting off a few k of walking).

Our first cave was K157 which had two entrances, one of which was a 4m deep tube.

The grass trees on the Island were unusual, quite different to the ones in NSW. This one was one of the biggest we saw and would have been hundreds of years old, they’re very slow growing.

We were soon at our first cave, K157.  It had two entrances, at the first one Janice M poked her head and shoulders in the hole and then had to be dragged out by her feet! Nick pointing to the tag.

Then we found another entrance to K157, a 4m tube, Nick took one for the team and chimneyed down the tube to see if it was ok for the rest of us.


From this angle it doesn’t look all that bad. Soon, Janice M and Janice C headed down. I’d decided that it was a bit dodgy as I’m shorter than the others and it would be harder to chimney. After a while though I had a case of FOMO so headed down. Climbing back up was ok, a bit dodgy at the top but I made it out. Not before getting bitten on the hand by a big-arse ant though. Had a swollen hand for the next 3 days!

Nic, me and Janice C off to the next cave.

The next cave K208.

Nick went in first, nothing much to recommend it really

The bones of some animal that we found at the bottom of the cave.

We were finished by mid-afternoon, Janice C doing most of the drawing and decided that we’d walk back to the car and head over to Kelly Hill Caves.

We got into a bit of swampy terrain on the way back to the vehicle.

At Kelly Hill caves we checked out the old vertical entrance to the Show Cave, then walked around looking for entrances to other caves that would be surveyed the next day.

Pretty cruisy day, all up.

Friday – another reshuffle of the deck chairs and I was partnered up with Alan P and Cath H, this was a real stroke of luck for me, Alan’s probably the best surveyor that I know and I’d met Cath down in Tasmania a few years ago, was a great opportunity to catch up with her.  I had no idea what to expect as far as the cave we were going to was concerned.  Apparently, Cath and Alan had been working on this cave for a couple of days.  BIG thanks to Cath H for her photos.

The entrance was a little under-whelming!  This was a cave that Cath and Alan had started to survey, we were going back to finish it off on this day.

But, when we got down, OMG!

This cave had BIG chambers and was highly decorated.

Alan drawing and me working the Disto.

More stunning formations!

Alan disappearing down a hole.

Helictites (I think), how they form is a mystery to me.

I wont keep talking about the formations, the photos speak for themselves!

There were a lot of dirt “hills”, in the entrance chamber, when we went up to the surface for lunch, we looked around and found these depressions and I figure this is where the dirt hills came from. Photo of one of the hills below.

Here’s one of the dirt hills, or domes in the entrance chamber. there were three or four of these hills.

I wont comment on each of these, suffice to say the photos speak for themselves. Thank you Cath!

Another helictite.

A donkey’s tail in the centre of the photo.

Alan positioning himself for the next survey station.

Me heading up a passageway – the passages were getting skinnier and skinnier the further we ventured into the cave.

This amazing stalagmite that’s been broken when the ceiling must have moved – probably thousands of years ago in an earthquake or something. No other reason for the stal to break.

Stals with another one of those earth hills in the background.

So, we’ve finished up, off now to the next cave.

Not a nice looking entrance!

Even more unattractive up close!

Me about to go in.

Once inside though, it was “something else”.

A passageway to explore.

Lovely large chambers and highly decorated.

More great decoration.

Cool tree roots.

More decorations.

Then it was down to business with the surveying.

Before long it was 5pm and time to head back to the caravan park.  It had been a full-on day with the best caves that I’d seen so far.

Saturday – we were keen to get back to the cave and finish it off.  In all on the last day we surveyed five caves, K74, K70, K69, K75, K84.  Best day’s surveying ever!

It was a day of going down tight little squeezes.

And surveying smaller chambers.

And seeing strange formations, sort of like fairy floss!

And the same stuff all over the walls.

And finding squeezy little holes to go down in the next cave.

So great to survey with Alan, he’s so efficient, but talks a lot.

Swallow’s nest just inside the entrance.

And cool spider webs.

And then whilst waiting at the entrance, I cast my eyes down and there’s this amazing metal tool, who knows how long it’s been there, and it’s way out of the way.

Another squeezy passage way!

Alan checking the tag on the last cave for this trip! momentous moment.

Later on we went to do a tour through the Kelly Hill show cave, pretty spectacular, but when you’ve been exploring something underground that no one else had ever seen, it wasn’t half as good as the previous two days had been.  Big thanks to Alan for teaching me so much.

So, after the first three days I wasn’t looking favourably on a return visit to the Island, but by the end of the week, I’m sold, will definitely be back!

Thanks for all the work you did for the trip Clare, Pam and Minky, hope to see you back there next year.

This entry was posted in Caving, MSS. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to BIG chambers – now this is more like it!

  1. John L says:

    Do the tree roots get a build up of limestone ?
    Apropos the age of grass trees, there is a clump of them on Mt Royal, all of which look very similar to the pic except that they are growing close together, providing a great shady spot. I was told that “rule of thumb”, grass tree age can be estimated from the height, based on a century for each metre.

    • marilyn says:

      Calcite does form on them but appears as specs of white. That’s amazing about the grass tree ago, yes I’ve seen the ones at Mt Royal, they are very specy, but a different species to the KI ones. Cabre Bald also has a great display of Grass Trees and easier to get to!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.