Why are these caves so special?

Naracoorte Caves National Park is South Australia's only World Heritage site.

Naracoorte Caves, along with the Riversleigh fossil site in far north-west Queensland, form the Australian Fossil Mammal Sites World Heritage Area. Both sites were officially recognised in 1994 for their importance in telling the story of Australia’s unique animal heritage.

At Naracoorte, the caves have acted as pitfall traps and owl roosting sites, collecting animals for at least 500,000 years. The Caves preserve the most complete fossil record we have for this period of time, spanning several ice ages, the arrival of humans in the area and the extinction of Australia’s iconic Megafauna roughly 60,000 years ago.

The bones of Megafauna species such as Thylacoleo carnifex Marsupial Lion, Thylacine,Zygomaturus and sthenurine kangaroos have been found in the fossil deposits.

Palaeontologists have excavated and dated many of the fossils in Naracoorte Caves and have reconstructed the skeletons of a number of the megafauna that inhabited the area so many years ago.

If you want to learn more about palaeontology at Naracoorte Caves, join a World Heritage tour or take a walk along the World Heritage trails.