Melody Rocks

Melody Rocks is a spectacular tropical limestone karst area in the south eastern corner of Alkoomie. The limestone is believed to be the remains of a coral reef or atoll growing on top of a volcanic seamount way out in the ocean around 370 million years ago.



Today those fossilised corals form a series of limestone bodies over an area around 3km long and 500 metres wide.


Three of these limestone lenses rise sharply above the surrounding rainforest canopy and are called karst towers. Others would once have been towers but have eroded away to form extremely  rugged areas of limestone boulders and other karst features within the rainforest.


Melody Rocks contains the northernmost cave system in Queensland and these are the only limestone caves on Cape York.


Alkoomie: Limestone spires, Melody Rocks 


Limestone spires rising above the rainforest,

Melody Rocks


Due to the monsoonal climate the limestone has weathered into spectacular razor sharp spires that soar out of the surrounding rainforest.


While the topography is so rough that much of the limestone area remains unexplored, the local Goldmans Rock Wallabies seem to have no difficulty at all making their way from spire to spire.


The limestone is honeycombed with caves which range from very large chambers to tortuous tight passageways that pass deep into the rock.




Alkoomie: Goldman's Rock Wallaby

Goldman's Rock Wallaby,

Melody Rocks


Large or small, the caves are home to an incredibly diverse range of fauna including a large number of bat species, at least four of which are protected under state legislation and two of which are nationally endangered. These bats species are:

  • Ghost Bat
  • Semon's Leaf-nosed Bat
  • Greater Large-eared Horsehoe Bat
  • Diadem Leaf-nosed Bat

The iconic Ghost Bat appears to be disappearing from much of its former range which makes its presence at Melody Rocks all the more important.


Alkoomie: Ghost Bat, Melody Rocks

  The iconic Ghost Bat, Melody Rocks


These animals are very difficult to photograph. This spectacular photograph, above right, is by Bruce Thompson.


The caves are also home for several colonies of a remarkable bird, the Australian Swiftlet. This is also a protected species. The Swiftlets are small birds that are able to navigate in total darkness as they have a form of echolocation whereby they can navigate by way of reflected sound.


It is an amazing site to see the birds flying at full speed seemingly straight into a rock face only to discover a tiny hole down which they are disappearing.


Alkoomie: Main Cave Entrance, Melody Rocks 

  Main entrance to Wallaby Cave, Melody Rocks


They nest in total darkness and can fly along passageways so small that even the thinnest of cavers can't navigate. The limestone also features a unique form of rainforest that has been recognised by the Australian Tropical Herbarium as a new endangered regional ecosystem. At least eight endangered, vulnerable or near threatened plants grow in the rainforest.