There’s a wealth of activity – both above and below the ground – along Queensland’s Capricorn Highway, with thriving communities making hay in this doorway to the tropics.

Story & photos by Danielle and Nick Lancaster

John Giulieri stands outside the darkened Belfry Cavern, where he works. Located 23 kilometres from Rockhampton, directly underneath the Tropic of Capricorn, the cavern is one of Queensland’s longest running tourist attractions. John describes the light show that takes place there during the summer solstice, when a beam of sunlight infiltrates through a 14-metre vertical shaft illuminating the cavern, as “just awesome”. There are numerous above-ground limestone caves, decorated with stalactites and flowstones, which play host to endangered ghost bats, rare ferns and dainty orchids. The spectacular Cathedral Cave, which is filled with rows of church pews and boasts incredible natural acoustics, is the setting for many weddings. This unique cave system almost marks the commencement of the Capricorn Highway – a 567km sealed road that links Rockhampton in the east to Barcaldine in central Queensland.

This story excerpt is from Issue #46

Outback Magazine: Apr/May 2006