ROYAL ARCH CAVE
The Royal Arch Cave car park is about 6 km from Chillagoe and generally considered to be one of the earlier caves to be explored in the area and has about 1.5 Kms of passage which are reasonable level due to the silt build up after many years of flooding. There is no doubt there are sink holes within the system, but the path taken by the guide does not expose visitors to any. The Royal Arch is an important bat breeding cave and restrictions have been put in place to protect these areas within the cave. The bat population and easy access has created a ferrule cat problem and cat traps can often be seen while on tour. Ferrule cats are difficult to catch and are becoming an issue within the cave systems because (among other things) they are causing the demise of the White-Rumped Swiftlet population, a bird those nests in colonies on the cave walls and endemic to the region.
Because of the quick evaporation within this sprawling system, unique secondary formations occur called cave coral, with the more common stalactites, stalagmites and flowstones found in areas of slower evaporation. The quick evaporation also dramatically lowers the temperature of the cave and during the early days, visiting the cave on a hot summer’s day and perhaps having a picnic was popular. Many truck loads of rubbish had to be removed when it was decided to make the Royal Arch a tourist cave. The ranger also often tells a story of how some of visitors become lost in the cave and after a few days one of the more agile had to climb up a fig tree to escape the system to seek help.
More information can be found at http://www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/parks/chillagoe-caves/about.html
or have a look at the Perentie Tours home page