Inside f Kelly Hill caves

Exploring the Kelly Hill caves on Kangaroo Island

While in Adelaide, South Australia for a wedding, we thought we would come down early to check out Kangaroo Island. We heard about Kelly Hill that has amazing caves full of stalactites and stalagmites that we could explore. So this was definitely on the cards on our visit to the island.

We chose the adventure tour where the guide takes us down 25 meters below the ground to explore the cave for two hours.

Kelly Hill Caves visitor centre

Once we arrived at Kelly Hill we had 45 minutes to kill. So we went on a little bush walk around the hill where the caves lay below us.

The only tell tale sign that there is a cave below us was the couple of sink holes we came across on the bush walk.

We met up with our cave guide Nick who hooked us up with some helmets with a head torch. Then we started our adventure down into the caves.

Entry down into the Kelly Hill caves

In these caves they have found lots of animal fossils from thousands of years ago. As we go deeper into the caves we will eventually arrive at a fossicing spot where archaeologists have discovered many bones. Even bones from the Tasmanian devil which I found very interesting. But enough of that for now, let’s start the adventure!

Once we enter the cave we are immediately struck with the sights of these age old stalactites and stalagmites.

We check out the show cave, which has lights to light up this amazing cave.

Show cave room in Kelly Hill
stalactites of Kelly Hill caves
stalactites and stalagmites of Kelly hill caves

Then we turn on our head torches and begin the adventure.

We climb in to the cave and start our way down 25 metres to the bottom.

Going down 25m into Kelly Hill caves

The cave gets smaller and smaller. We find ourselves crawling through some small spaces. Then finally it would open back up into big domes beneath the ground.

Crawling around in Kelly Hill caves

We arrive at the original cave entrance from the 1950s.

An escape ladder stays here and this is a spot where small animals who have fallen down the hole now live. The base of the ladder is covered in little frogs. Close by is a copperhead snake that now lives here too..

Over the years many animals have fallen into the hole in the ground and this is how archaeologists discover their bones deeper in the cave.

With just the light of our torches we make our way to the first digging site. Here we find some left over fossilised bones from hundreds of years ago.

Fossilised bones inside Kelly Hill caves

Crawling along the dirt floor we once again come out into another dome.

We then came across a dig out that is still active. The different stickers in the hole tell how many years old each layer of sediment is.

Archaeological dig spot inside Kelly Hill caves

The yellow stickers show carbon dating done with Optically Stimulated Luminescence, where they will take a rock and keep it in the dark so it sees no light. Then in a dark lab, they will hit it with a laser beam and how the quartz sediment in the rock reacts, they can tell how long it has been since it last saw light. That is just a basic gist of Optically Stimulated Luminescence that I learnt during my cave teachings haha.

There was also this bone from a snub nosed Kangaroo which apparently dated back to 45 thousand years ago!

Now the story about these caves goes that Kelly and his horse were riding around, then he and his horse fell through the ground. Kelly made it out and went to get help. Headed back to town to round up a crew to go back and help him find his horse.

But to no avail. They couldn’t find the spot they fell through. Or any caves for that matter. And to this day there still has been no remains found from the horse.

So now that we were at the deepest point of the cave it was now time to head back. A couple more tight crawl spaces to get through.

Then we made our climb back up.

Stopping to admire the stalactites.

Then made it back to daylight. WOW what an adventure!

Kelly Hill Caves stalactites and stalagmites
stalactites and stalagmites inside Kelly Hill caves

So if you ever find yourself in South Australia, add Kangaroo Island to your list of places to visit!

And if you’re not claustrophobic and scared of the dark, I highly recommend checking out the Kelly Hill Caves! Check out the link for more info and to book adventure cave tickets.

Happy Travels 😊

For more posts on Kangaroo Island, check these out –

Remarkable Rocks

Admirals Arch

Snake Lagoon

Seal Bay