Tantanoola Caves Conservation Park

An ancient Sea Cave in a cliff face

Tantanoola Cave is located on the Princes Highway between Millicent and Mt Gambier, in South Australia. This cave, locally described as the "Pink Cave" or "Jewel of the South East", (South East South Australia), preserves significant karst features. Public access is restricted to a dolomite cavern filled with stalactites and helictites.

Visitors to the site are welcome to also picnic among the gum trees or wander along awalking trail that provides spectacular views of the coast.

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The cave is open from 10.15am to 4.00pm. There is no waiting, simply join the duty staff member.



Adult $8.50
Child $5.00
Concession $7.00
Family $23.00
Tantanoola Cave is a single-chamber dolomite cave about 30m across and 8m high. The cave is notable for its superior cave decorations and reflection pool. The cave entrance was modified in 1983 to make it Australia's first wheelchair access cave. However, the cave site is located well above the carpark. Access is via a steep (just wheelchair compatible) walkway.

The main Tantanoola Cave also consists of "Lake Cave", a sealed off underground cave used by scientists as a reference site for other karst features in the region. "Lake Cave" is restricted from public access.

This 14 hectare park is one of South Australia’s oldest reserves, first dedicated in 1930.

Dolomite Ridge

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The ("Up and Down rocks") dolomite ridge,in which the caves formed, is a stranded marine cliff of the Mount Burr beach ridge complex, an extension of the Reedy Creek beach ridge sequence considered to be approximately 300,000 years old.

The dolomite ridge is overlain in places by shell deposits associated with the Pleistocene marine incursions, although the sea is thought to have been shallow over this area because of the presence of littoral, often tightly cemented, conglomerates.

The shell deposits and conglomerates extend into the caves where cliffing has intersected enlarged joints or solution tubes. As the sea continued to recede, it eroded the ridge to its current stark form, and created a wave-cut nick point in the dolomite, indicating that sea level was ‘stranded’ to just below this level at some stage.

As the sea receded to its current level, beach sands were deposited over the aeolianite limestone along the cliff base and over the eastern and southern aspects of the cliff.

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Discovered 1930

Boyce Lane on 28th Mar, 1930 was the first person to discover the cave. From the nearby town of Tantanoola, he was out hunting rabbits with a ferret. When the ferret failed to return. He decided to investigate by moving some rocks.

Views around the Park

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Note: Wheelchair Access restricted by stairs to platform at shop entrance.


The Tantanoola Caves are 19km (12 miles) east of Millicent.

Tourist Accomodation?

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Accomodation for 2 (couple) in a 130 year old cottage situated in 1.2 ha of terraced cottage gardens, adjacent to Tantanoola cave (and the Princess Highway!) is NO LONGER AVAILABLE. (No matter what the signs say.. year after year.. Used to be Bed and Breakfast per couple per night. $66.)

Now aparently owned by people in Victoria who rarely occupy it and have plans to only use it as their holiday house.

Tantanoola Cottage Gardens B&B, Millicent Road Tantanoola SA.

See Also: Wikipedia: Tantanoola

See Also: Tantanoola_Caves_Brochure.pdf (470k)

For more Information: Contact: Department for the Environment and Heritage Tantanoola Caves Conservation Park Telephone: (08) 8734 4153

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