A market town for a wool, wheat and dairy farming district and for the Coonawarra wine region at Koppamurra. A series of limestone caves 11 km south of the town have been found to contain some of the most important deposits of extinct marsupial remains in Australia.
Where is it?: South east. 350 km south east of Adelaide; 63 metres above sea level.
Naracoorte Caves: officially recognised in 1994 for its extensive fossil record when the site was inscribed on the World Heritage List, along with Riversleigh. The park preserves 6 sq km of remnant vegetation, with 26 caves contained within the World Heritage Area.
The park is a visitor destination in itself, with a camping ground and caravan park, dormitory accommodation for groups, picnic grounds and a licenced cafe. The range of visitor activities is extensive. Show cave tours are guided by professional interpreters through highly decorated caves with some tours visiting amazing fossil deposits. Modern technology has been utilised to show visitors the normally inaccessible interior of Bat Cave, where thousands of bats breed each year. Other opportunities include adventure caving, a selection of specialty tours and special events.
Victoria Fossil Cave
Natural features: Bool Lagoon Game Reserve (23 km south, Gunawar Walk on Hacks Island); Grass Tree Conservation Park (17 km north); Hacks Lagoon Conservation Park (16 km south).
Built features: Museum and Snake Pit; Tiny Train and Mini Golf Park; Mini Jumbuk Factory; Naracoorte Cultural Arts Centre
Heritage features: The Sheep's Back Wool Museum and Tourist Office, old flour mill (1870); St Andrew's Presbyterian (now Uniting) Church (1875); St Paul's Anglican Church (1880); Commercial Bank (now the District Council Office, 1884); National Bank (1873); Struan House (1873-75).
Origin of name: of Aboriginal origin, the spelling of which has ranged from Gnanga-kurt to Nanna-coorta, Narcoot, Nancoota, Narricourt, Narcoota, Narracoorte and Naracoorte over the years. Some sources insist it means 'place of running water' but equally reliable sources claim it means 'large waterhole' and even referred to a specific waterhole in the area. Naracoorte was first called Kincraig but in 1869, it officially became Naracoorte when it and the surrounding villages of Narracoorte, Skyetown and Mosquito Plains decided to adopt the one name, Narracoorte (spelt differently today).
Brief history: The Meintangk Aborigines, part of the Ngarrindjeri group, were the first occupiers of the land and fought the white settlers well into the 1870s for the rights to stay on their land. The first Europeans were squatters, one of which was a Scot named William MacIntosh who established a township on his property. He named it Kincraig after his birthplace in Scotland and duly built a hotel and a store hoping to attract settlers to the town. The town quickly grew in the 1850s as it became a popular stopping place between the South Australian port of Robe and the Victorian goldfields. The railway reached Naracoorte in 1876 and led to the slow and steady growth of the town as a farming service centre.