Tasmania is known for its national parks and unspoiled natural wonders. Mole Creek Karst National Park is one location where you can see so many different natural habitats and formation all at once; it gives you the most for your holiday dollars in one place. The whole area is a protected national park and a World Heritage Site. Mole Creek is located in northern Tasmania about an hour’s drive west of Launceston. The park features 300 sinkholes and caves including the popular Marakoopa and King Solomons Caves. There are also underground features like streams, reflection pools, and karst formations.
Cave Tours in Mole Creek Karst National Park
The main attractions in the park are the caves that are open to the public. The caves are each very different so taking the time to explore each one is a must. The caves are thought to have been formed millions of years ago when the continents separated. Guided tours are available to see the different formations and unique cave dwelling species that live their entire lives in the dark.
Rim Pool in Marakoopa Cave. Photo Credit: Parks.tas.gov.au
Marakoopa Cave Underground Formations. Photo Credit: DiscoverTasmania.com
Markoopa Cave Glow Worms Photo Credit: WordPress
This cave is famous for its glow-worms that light the cave up at night. It is the largest display of glow-worms open to the public in all of Australia. There are not many pictures available of the glow worms because photography inside is not allowed since it causes them to stop glowing and disrupts their feeding. The look of them is described as viewing stars in an artificial sky. However, the bioluminescent larvae are not the only attraction in this cave; the fantastic cave formations are quite spectacular. In addition to the stalactites and stalagmites, there are two underground streams, large caverns, rim pools, underground creeks and rivers, reflections, sparkling crystals, shawls, and flowstone features. The largest cavern in Marakoopa is called the ‘Great Cathedral’ and another section is known as ‘Gardens’ because of the brightly coloured formations there. The caves can be navigated by different fitness levels, with some areas restricted to a medium level of fitness to get through stairs and different levels.
King Solomons Cave
King Solomons Cave Photo Credit: DiscoverTasmania.com
Allow about 45 minutes for the guided tours of King Solomons Cave and expect quite a different experience than inside Marakoopa Cave. King Solomons Cave is filled with different limestone formations and features including shawls, stalactites, and stalagmites. It is drier than Marakoopa cave, so there are not any underground creeks, pools, or rivers here.
Mole Creek Local Attractions
Cradle Mountain Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Photo Credit: TasmanianWilderness.com
While visiting Mole Creek Karst National Park, there are other local attractions and activities that you can tie into your holiday trip. Remember that Mole Creek Karst National Park is part of the larger Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Site which includes other national parks. You can stay overnight near the national park in the nearby towns of Mole Creek or Sheffield. While there, here are some other local attractions:
- Trowunna Wildlife Park: This is an animal rescue and Rehabilitation Park rather than a zoo. The animals there are local to the area and are rescued and nursed back to health or protected. In addition to the world’s largest heritage population of Tasmanian Devils, the park includes marsupials, birds, reptiles, and other local wildlife.
- The Walls of Jerusalem National Park: Staying near Mole Creek gives you close proximity to one of the most remote locations. It is inaccessible by roads, which leaves untouched wilderness for visitors to explore. The World Heritage National Park features forests, mountains, valleys and lakes that will leave you in awe of Mother Nature’s architecture.
- Alum Cliffs and Tulunpunga Lookout Walk: A close walk from Mole Creek leads you to this forest lookout above the Mersey River.
- Stephens Honey Factory: Pure and high quality honey makes a wonderful souvenir to take home from this land of natural resources and beauty.
Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area
The entire World Heritage Site that encompasses Mole Creek National Park covers almost 16,000 kilometres and a total of 9 Tasmanian national parks:
- Central Plateau Conservation and Protected Areas: This is an animal and plant conservation zone that is adjacent to The Walls of Jerusalem National Park.
- Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park: This Park is located in the Central Highlands of Tasmania. The major feature is Cradle Mountain; hiking is available along the well-known Overland Track.
- Devils Gullet State Reserve: This state reserve part of the World Heritage Site is home to stunning landscapes.
- Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park: This Park is close to Hobart in the southern region of Tasmania and is named after the Franklin River and Gordon River that flow through the park.
- Hartz Mountains National Park: Also in southern Tasmania, this park features ancient geological features, flora and fauna, local wildlife, and cultural history.
- South East Mutton Bird Islet: The Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Site stretches down to the southern coast of Tasmania where this Islet is located and is part of the Mutton Bird Island Group. This breeding ground for seabirds gives it important significance to the area.
- Southwest National Park: This Park is Tasmania’s largest national park and even incorporates the South East Mutton Bird Islet listed above. The area is mostly untouched by humans other than the Tasmanian Aborigines that have lived in the area for at least 25,000 years.