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Mount Etna's Bat Cleft tours thrill wildlife lovers

3 December 2015

Photo © John Augusteyn, Qld Government

Photo © John Augusteyn, Qld Government

Fancy taking the family on an evening adventure to witness a natural wonder?

Each summer, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) rangers lead small groups of visitors to see the amazing sight of tens of thousands of tiny insect-eating bats emerging from Bat Cleft in Mount Etna Caves National Park at sunset to feed.

QPWS Principal Ranger Peter Moore said this summer’s tours would run from Friday 4 December until mid-February.

“We’ll be running the Bat Cleft tours three evenings a week in the national park, which is just 25 km north of Rockhampton,” Mr Moore said.

“Our friendly, enthusiastic and experienced guides lead visitors through remnant dry rainforest up Mt Etna, and across the limestone karst landscape to Bat Cleft.

“On the way they’ll learn about the geology, plants and history and enjoy fantastic evening views across the surrounding landscape.

“As dusk falls at Bat Cleft they will witness a spectacular sight, when up to 180,000 little bent-wing bats fly out from their roost to feed.”

Bat Cleft is one of only five recorded little bent-wing bat maternity sites in Australia and houses 80 per cent of the known population of breeding females.

Aside from witnessing the emergence flight, visitors might spot a python or giant green tree frog feeding on bats that fly too close to the cave walls.

“They’ll also gain an understanding of Mount Etna’s other animals, its plants, and the battle that saved Mt Etna from limestone mining,” Mr Moore said.

“Visitors need to be reasonably fit to take on the 2.4 km return track. The torchlight tour takes approximately three hours.

“Wear sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots, and bring a torch, a litre or more of water, and insect repellent,” he said.

Bat Cleft tours are held on Monday, Friday and Saturday evenings. Bookings are required as numbers are limited. Tours cost $10.70 for adults, $5.25 for children, $7.00 for pensioners and $31.95 for a family.

For further information and bookings, please contact the QPWS Rockhampton office on (07) 4936 0511 during business hours and 0429 630 923 after hours.

Last updated
3 December 2015