Bat Cleft Cave

OVERVIEW : Each summer from late November to mid February the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service offer guided tours to Bat Cleft Cave on the Mount Etna Caves National Park to witness the spectacle of the nightly emergence flight of approximately 110,000 Little bent-winged bats as they leave their roost and fly out to feed. These tiny 7.5 gram bats feed on nocturnal insects consuming approximately half their own body weight per night.

Bat Cleft, a cave within the Mt Etna Caves National Park is one of only five recorded little bent-winged bat (Miniopterus australis) maternity sites in Australia and accommodate an estimated 80% of the total population. Only females and their offspring inhabit Bat Cleft Cave. At night the females leave the cave on masse to feed, presenting the spectacular sight of the emergence and the prey predator relationships that occur at the entrance. The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service guided tour leads through remnant dry rainforest and karst features and offers insights into the significance of the emergence flights and the Mt Etna area.


LOCATION : The Caves township is 23.5km, approximately 30 minutes drive, north of Rockhampton on the Bruce Highway. Own transport to The Caves township required. Participant meet at the rest area at the caves square at 5.30pm for 5.45 departure.
ACCOMMODATION : Yamba Hotel/Motel, 10km north on the Bruce Hwy. Parkhurst 13km south of The Caves on the Bruce Highway has Motels and Caravan Parks. Rockhampton has numerous Motels, Hotels, Caravan Parks and backpacker accommodation. Olsen's Capricorn Caves 4km has Caravan Park and camping.

CAVE TOURS : Bat Cleft Tour - Tour groups are led up Mount Etna through remnant dry rainforest (semi evergreen vine thicket) to the top of a disused limestone mine. The track then descends across the limestone karst formation to Bat Cleft where the spectacle of the emergence is witnessed and the prey predator relationship hat occurs nightly. Length of track: 1.2 km Length of tour: 2.5 to 3.15 hours Number of stairs 540 The track is steep and the walk may prove a little strenuous for the unfit.


CONTACT NUMBERS :QPWS Ph: 07 49360511 Office hours and Dianne Vavryn Ph: 07 49342788 weekends and from 26 December to 1 January