January 8 – Tasmania, Marakoopa Cave + Honey Farm

Rain Delay

As some of you may know, we were scheduled to hike up Cradle Mountain in Tasmania. However, heavy rains all of Wednesday night and continuing showers throughout the day meant a change in plans. Instead of hiking, we visited Marakoopa Cave and a honey farm.

First, stop: Marakoopa Cave. While all of us shivered in the 9 degree Celsius, or about 48 degrees Farenheit, cave, our guide Alwyn was perfectly comfortable in shirt sleeves. The cave is kept at a constant 9 degrees Celsius because it is the exact average of the temperature year round. It is important to note what a character Alwyn was. He looked like a professor straight from Hogwarts, glasses perched on the end of his nose and all.


Marakoopa Cave was first discovered in 1906 by two brothers living on a nearby farm. The cave was kept a secret until 1910 when they finally sought government permission to obtain the land and open it as a show cave. The cave was formed by limestone that is over 500 million years old. Small rivers continue to flow through the cave, causing formations to continue to grow as well as causing flooding 3 to 4 times a year. Some of the formations are estimated to be 30-40 million years old, but their exact age is not known because they are protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Another fantastic feature of the cave was the glow worm chamber. Marakoopa Cave has the largest population of glow worms in Australia. But glow worms aren’t actually worms at all. Glow worms are actually the larval phase of an insect called the fungus gnat, which is similar to a mosquito. Once glow worms reach adulthood, they only live 3 to 4 days because they don’t have a mouth. The glow worms glow to attract food, and the population is still thriving because female glow worms glow brighter to attract males to mate with. The best way to describe what the glow worm chamber looked like with all of the lights off, is like looking at constellations at a planetarium. No pictures, but it was truly spectacular.

Second stop: honey farm to see what the buzz was all about. The farm included a museum that had a working hive on display as well as fun facts about bees. It also had a shop that featured dozens of types of honey available to sample. The leatherwood honey was unique to Tasmania. Other types included blueberry, chocolate hazelnut, orange blossom and rose. Other honey products included marinades, soaps, nougat and ice cream. The honey farm shop was definitely a hit with our whole group.

We rounded out the evening with some home made pizzas and hoped that the weather would improve for our hike tomorrow!

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