Kelly Hill Caves

Useful Information

Location: On Kangaroo Island. South Coast Road in the Kelly Hill Conservation Park.
Open: Summer, autumn, spring holiday daily 10, 10:30, 10:45, 11:15, 12, 12:15, 13:15, 14:15, 15:15, 16:15.
All other times daily 10:30, 11:15, 12:15, 13:15, 14:15, 15:15, 16:15.
Fee: Adults AUD 11, Children (3-14) AUD 6.5, Concession AUD 8.75, Family AUD 29.
Cave Trekking: Original Cave Entrance tour: Adults AUD 27.50, Children (3-14) AUD 16.50, Concession AUD 22, Family AUD 75.
K9 tour: Adults AUD 27.50, Children (3-14) AUD 16.50, Concession AUD 22, Family AUD 75
Torch and helmet hire AUD 2.00.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave aeolian calcarenite of Pleistocene age.
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours: D=40 min.
Bibliography: Harold Bell (1926): Glorious Kangaroo Island - Its Caves and Beauty Spots, Reprinted 2000.
Address: Kelly Hill Caves, Kangaroo Island Parks, R.M.B. 38, via Kingscote. SA. 5223, Tel: +61-8-8559-7231, Fax: +61-848-37-268. Michael Wigg, Ranger-in-Charge. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1880 caves "discovered" by a local stockman called Kelsy and his horse Kelly.
18-NOV-1925 discovered and first explored by the local Harold Bell.
1926 first guided tours by Harold Bell, who was appointed caretaker of the caves.
1972 caves passed under the management of the then National Parks and Wildlife Service.
25-NOV-2000 75th anniversary of the discovery of Kelly Hill Caves.


Kelly Hill Caves.
©2008 Globalphotos/Varinia, used under our Fair Use policy.

The name of Kelly Hill Caves is a result of the story, how it was discovered. In 1880 a local stockman called Kelsy, riding on hishorse Kelly, was chasing sheep that had strayed from his property. Unfortunately both of them fell into one of the big KarstDoline in the area. Kelsy managed to climb out, but he had to leave Kelly at the bottom of the sink hole. He returned soon with help to rescue the horse, but it was gone. Now oral tradition knows at least three versions of the end of this story, which makes the whole story a bit weird. The realistic version has it, the farmer may have gone back to the wrong hole. The optimitic version tells, the horse was later pulled to safety. And the mysterious end talks about Kelly the horse wandering off into the labyrinth of caves never to be seen again. And so its skeleton may still be somewhere in the caves waiting to be discovered.

All in all this story is definitely a good reason to name the caves after Kelly the horse. But the caves were still not discovered, just the existence of caves and dolines in this area was mentioned by the people.

The tourist history of the cave started with the local Harold Bell who explored the caves of the area and soon made the first guided tours with candlelight. He was appointed caretaker of the caves one year after the discovery and wrote a book about the cave the same year. At his time the chambers of the cave were numered to allow visitors to find their way back. The remains can still be seen at the ceiling.

The cave contains numerous speleothems, Speleothemstraws, Speleothemstalactites and Speleothemstalagmites, but most impressive are the various Speleothemhelictites