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Tantanoola Caves
Kevin [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Tantanoola Caves

The Tantanoola Caves are named after the town of Tantanoola. Known for its scenic beauty, the Tantanoola Caves are one of the most-visited destinations in South Australia. These caves are the only wheelchair accessed caves near Mount Gambier.

The Tantanoola Caves consist of a chamber of 30m width and 8m overall height. However, it is one of the smallest caves in South Australia that has numerous stunning speleothems (stalactite or stalagmite) and several helictites (a smaller type of stalactite).

Tantanoola Caves Conservation Park Attraction, Entry Price & Hours, SA

The Tantanoola Cave is within Up and Down Rock, which is a prehistoric marine cliff near the highway. The formation of the cliff was due to the adjacent seashore during the Pleistocene epoch (2.6 million to 11,700 years ago).

However, due to the effect of seawater on the rocks, the cliff was formed by repeated destruction of the rocks with the force of the waves. Gradually, this resulted in sea caves, cliffs and overhangs inside the Tantanoola Cave.

Now, the coast is very far from the cave as the sea retreated due to either the lowering of the sea level or the uplifting of the land. Even today, you will see some pebbles, seal bones and shells inside the cave that have been left behind by the sea.

Upon arrival at the caves, you will be accompanied by a guide into the cave who will introduce you to the history and geology of the caves. You are then free to stroll through the large cavern at your leisure and take photographs.

Tantanoola Caves also offers some beautiful picnic areas and play areas for kids.


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    • Hi Mary-Anne,

      Due to current COVID-19 restrictions, there is actually a limit on the number of people that can undertake tours at any one time (the number itself isn’t stated on the National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia website).

      Also, online bookings are not available at this time and it states to “book directly at the Tantanoola Caves Visitor Centre”, so it does sound like you can’t book ahead and the tours are on a first-come basis (although you might be able to book in person and go back later in the day).

      I’d suggest giving them a call on (08) 8734 4153 or sending an email to [email protected] and find out what the maximum number is and ways they could possibly fit your group. Tours do run every 30 minutes, so it might be possible to split up the group while the others have a bite to eat or explore the park grounds.


    • Hi James,

      Reviewing the National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia website, it does state that “Tantanoola Caves is open for SA and VIC school holidays and all public holidays”.

      The only public holiday that the caves are closed in is Christmas Day.

      The opening hours for the caves between September to April are 7 days a week from 10am to 3pm.


  • Do you have to book ahead or can you just turn up without having booked? I see the morning session is from 10am-12pm. Do you have to turn up at 10am or can it be a bit later say 10.30am?

    • Hi Fiona,

      From past experience, i never had to prebook the tour – i just turned up during their opening hours and just had to wait til the next time slot.

      I checked their booking system (which is where you likely got this information from), and it is quite confusing as i don’t remember the tour taking more than 30 minutes.

      I have however found information regarding tour times that seems to relfect that tours occur every 30 minutes from 10am -3pm (specifically 10am, 10.30am, 11am, 11.30am, 12noon, 1pm, 1.30pm, 2pm and 2.30pm). Although this information is likely still current, take this as a guide as the information is dated as 2017.

      If you have ample time, it may be worth driving past to secure a tour time and then return back later on.


  • I am hoping to visit the Tantanoola Caves later on in the year 2018, with an elderly friend who has trouble climbing stairs. I see there is wheel-chair access, so I am assuming there are no stairs into the Cave? Could someone enlighten me… .. Thanks.

    • Hi Christine,

      The Tantanoola Caves are the only single-chamber dolomite cave in Australia and features easy access pathways, suitable for wheelchair and pusher access. There are no stairs to descend into the cave.

      Have a wonderful time in Mount Gambier!

    • Hi Josephine,

      Pets are not permitted within this park, so best to contact Tantanoola Caves directly to enquire whether the caves are suitable for someone with a disability and what arrangements can be made to admit a care dog.

      Best regards,

    • Hi Maree, thanks for your question.

      Upon arrival, you will be accompanied by a guide into the cave who will introduce you to the history and geology of the caves. You are then free to stroll through the large cavern at your leisure and take photographs.

      The last time I visited the caves, the guide took people through as they arrived (waiting only around 10 minutes to form a group).

      Enjoy your day at the Tantanoola Caves!

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What are the Tantanoola Caves entry prices?
Tour fees:
Adult: $15
Concession: $12
Child: $7.5
Family: $36.50
Adult group (per adult, min 10 people) - $111
Child group (per child, min 10 people) - $7

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