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09/28/14 - Penola and the Naracoorte Caves - 1

Reluctantly, we left Kangaroo Island and flew to Adelaide where we rented a car and drove through farm country, not wine country, to Penola. Penola is the main town in the Coonawara Wine district and home to Mary McKillop, the first Australian saint. Needless to say, we were more interested in the wine country, and even more than the wine country, we were interested in the Naracoote Caves.

This whole area of South Australia is known as the Limestone Coast, so the wonderful limestone formations of the Naracoorte Caves were irresistible. We signed up for three tours in a row, preceded by and followed by some exploring on our own. The guided tours were wonderful, so we saw speleothems galore. Speleothems are sometimes stalactites, hanging from the ceiling, sometimes stalagmites, rising from the floor, and sometimes columns, connecting the floor and ceiling.

We also took a remote camera guided tour of the bat cave. There's a huge colony of bats in a cave that is closed to the public, but monitored by a number of remote controlled cameras. We zoomed in on juveniles hanging on street corners, mothers huddling with others and otherwise virtually entered the life of the cave.

To be continued.

The water tower in Penola - Water is a big thing in Southern Australia. Everyone has a cistern.

We had two excellent dinners at the Rendezvous Restaurant in Penola. We also had two excellent breakfasts based on their porkerhouse pork roasts.

The "warm up" diorama at Naracoorte Caves got us in the mood for exploring.

The caves

and more caves

We love exploring underground.

We were down below for hours.

Another great limestone formation

Almost crystalline pipes

Dramatic lighting and transparent rock

And even more caves

Keywords: australia