Cutta Cutta Caves Nature Park, Katherine

4.4
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Cave · Park
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Cutta Cutta Caves Nature Park is a reserve covering 1,499 hectares of limestone Karst landscape near the town of Katherine, in Australia's Northern Territory. The park is easily accessible from the Stuart Highway, about 27 km (17 mi) south of Katherine, and features two show caves where guided tours are offered to the public, making it a popular tourist attraction. The caves are the only tropical examples in Australia which are open to the public.

Cutta Cutta Caves are associated with Barrac Barrac, or Diver Duck dreaming creation stories by the local Jawoyn Indigenous people. Other sources, such as Lonely Planet, claim Cutta Cutta is a Jawoyn word meaning "many stars", as they believe that caves are where the stars rest during the day; however, there does not seem to be a specific name for the formations in the documented or oral history. Evidence of occupation by the Jawoyn people can be found throughout the park with a number of campsites and stone artifacts identified. At least one unnamed cave within the park shows evidence of man-made grooves on an interior wall some distance from the entrance, although it is widely understood that the Jawoyn people did not regularly enter the deep caves.
Following European settlement, the main cave was discovered by a stockman around 1900, and has been known by several names. Initially Smith's Cave, during World War II, servicemen called it 16 Mile Cave. In 1967 the caves were placed under the management of the Northern Territory Reserves Board as the Sixteen Mile Caves Reserve, and guided tours commenced. In 1979, the park changed to its current name and in 1991, a second cave, Tindal Cave, was opened to the public, which has since been closed.

Only one cave is open for guided tours. Cutta Cutta Cave extends 750 m (2,460 ft), with 240 m (790 ft) accessible to the public with lighting and walkways. There are a number of other cave systems within the park which are not open to the public.
In addition to a visitor centre and kiosk, the park offers a Tropical Woodland walk, with information for visitors about the local flora and fauna. The caves are subject to flooding during the tropical wet season and may be closed for periods of time. As well as limestone stalactite and stalagmite formations, a number of rare species can be observed in and around the caves including the carnivorous ghost bat and the brown tree snake.
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Cutta Cutta Caves Nature Park reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
283 reviews
Google
4.4
TripAdvisor
  • Popped into these caves on the way to Mataranka. Arrived just in time for a tour. We were hoping for a nice temperature drop when we went in but these caves are warm ones. Saw a few bats. They are... 
    Popped into these caves on the way to Mataranka. Arrived just in time for a tour. We were hoping for a nice temperature drop when we went in but these caves are warm ones. Saw a few bats. They are...  more »
  • James was our guide going into the caves, a Yarwin man, with great knowledge and a sense of humour. James gave us information that helped us to understand the indigenous history, the white mans... 
    James was our guide going into the caves, a Yarwin man, with great knowledge and a sense of humour. James gave us information that helped us to understand the indigenous history, the white mans...  more »
Google
  • Great experience Ben our guide was friendly and knowledgeable. Warm inside the cave as you got deeper into it but no overwhelming water supplied. Make sure you wear enclosed shoes
  • Kate, you were fabulous! A down to earth country girl, full of charm, charisma, and a passion for our land and its culture. I adored you and the knowledge you imparted. A relaxing, down to earth guide with plenty of time for questions, which Kate kept reminding folks to ask. We had a small group this day and that left time to chat about other things and amongst ourselves, too. It's a low grade walk just under 400 metres to the cave, and the stairs at the entrance is honestly the most challenging part if you struggle. The tight squeezes where the cave narrows are easily negotiable, and I'm a big guy. Hope that beer went down well Kate. You deserved it. Cheers, mate 🍻 I do hope to see you around this country again as we both keep travelling. You're a gem!

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