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Thursday, December 31, 2015

15 Dec 2015 - Tasmania Day 2: Marakoopa Cave at Mole Creek

We checked out of Hotel Grand Chancellor Launceston at about 10:30am as the kids could not wake up early.  We will be taking our first long drive (about an hour) of this trip from Launceston to Mole Creek via highway 1 and B12.  We reached Mole Creek, which is a very small town, just before noon.  Our destination was actually the caves which is further down the highway.  We continued to drive for another 20 mins and reached the ticket office for the cave tours.  I purchased a family ticket for the Marakoopa Cave Tour which starts at 1pm.  We drove to the cave entrance and waited there.  We had some snacks and drinks at the car park before exploring the surrounding since we were still early for the tour.

We were told that the temperature inside the cave is 9°C throughout the year.  As such, we decided to wear one more layer before going into the cave.
On our way into the tour waiting area, there were ferns all around and it's called the Fern Glade Walk.  We also saw a Fossil by the side of the walk.
The tour started exactly at 1pm.  And below is the entrance to the cave.
Certain parts of this wet cave are quite narrow with low ceiling.  So one must be extra careful while walking through, especially those taller ones.
The cave formation is amazing.  Click here if you want to know more about this cave and its history.  It was quite interesting to learn that this cave was originally discovered by two boys accidentally and they kept it a secret for many years.
Below formation is called the Christmas tree.
This pillar below looks extremely outstanding.
At one point of the tour, Javier decided to lead the way by being the first to climb up the stairs to the upper chamber.
Though we had put on an extra layer, we all still felt very cold.  However the spectacular limestone formation at the "Great Cathedral" had somehow distracted us from the coldness.
Just before this one hour cave tour ended, the guide turned off all the light and we could see glow-worms all around us.  It was a magical moment, especially for Jerlene and Javier, who saw glow-worms for the first time.  Javier even exclaimed:"They are like stars!" and the guide responded:"Yes, isn't it beautiful?"

When we left the cave, we saw a bus load of tourist arriving.  We were glad that we did not have to squeeze with the crowd in the cave.  Next, we will be driving to our accommodation, Silver Ridge Retreat.  Along the way, we passed by a large field of Tasmanian Opium Poppies.
After doing some research on the internet, we realized that Tasmania is actually one of the largest Opium Poppies producer in the world.  Note that opium poppies are grown for medical and food purposes.



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