Falling into and Climbing Out of the Tourist Trap

Capricorn Caves is one of those places that you pretty much know is going to be a tourist trap, but feel compelled to frequent anyway. We wanted to see some caves and since we didn’t have a 4-wheel drive vehicle to get to the free caves, we ended up paying for the privately owned caves. Of course you have to go on a tour there, you can’t just walk around and check the place out, so that becomes a minus. Tours such as this are virtually all the same. The tour guide is seldom actually knowledgeable about the place; he has just been told to recite the facts as they were relayed to him. Ask him something a little out of the ordinary and chances are he won’t know the answer. He will undoubtedly speak in a sing-songy tour guide voice that brings each sentence to its unquestionable conclusion with a dramatic drop in tone at the end. He will make stupid jokes that he has rehearsed hundreds of times and the other people on the tour will laugh, sometimes politely, but most of the time seriously. There will be annoying, loud children whose parents don’t watch them, an adult who doesn’t listen to the rules, a know-it-all, a relentless question asker, and several loud, inane statement makers.

This tour did not upset the formula. The caves themselves were impressive, but a good deal of wonder is lost when the caves are brightly lit and practically paved through to provide safe access. I would much rather be crawling through holes with a jumpsuit and a headlamp. But they were still natural caves and I’m glad we got to see them even though I was hoping a large chunk of the cave would break off and hit just a few of the people on the tour.

After a long drive from the caves, we spent two nights in Eungella National Park. Our campsite was on the edge of the mountain and by walking just a few meters, the whole valley below was visible. Our long hike through the park took us through heavily forested terrain to a peaceful stream where we stopped to cool off our feet and listen to our audiobooks. Listening to The Hobbit while tromping along a mountain ridge trail is a most excellent thing to do.

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