Princess Margaret Rose Cave to reopen in mid-2023 after undergoing safety upgrades

A natural tourist attraction on the border between South Australia and Victoria is scheduled to reopen next year after a nearly three-year closure.

Princess Margaret Rose Cave closed in early 2021 after private owners pulled out.

The magnificent limestone cave was found by local owners in the 1930s who applied to Buckingham Palace for permission to name the site after the younger sister of the future Queen Elizabeth II.

Parks Victoria now manages the cave area.

The Victorian government announced that it would spend $650,000 to renovate the site, including repair work on the visitor center and security improvements inside the cave.

A reading of road signs "Princess Margaret Rose Caves open today" with a closed sign posted on top
Local tour operators are celebrating the news that the attraction will reopen.(ABC Southeast SA: Isadora Bogle)

Glenelg area chief ranger Darren Shiell said safety improvements included the steps, handrail and lighting inside the cave.

Shiell said the cave was “an amazing natural feature” that drew visitors to the region.

“It will certainly provide an economic boost to the region, to tour operators and other small businesses in and around Nelson, Mount Gambier,” he said.

“[We’re] I’m really looking forward to opening the site and getting people to come back there.”

A man with cropped hair looks off camera with greenery behind him.
Darren Sheill says that the safety improvements include the steps, the handrail and the lighting inside the cave.(Supplied: Darren Sheill)

Shiell said reopening would bring more money to the region.

“Maybe [visitors] I’ll stay in town a little longer, buy lunch and fill up the car with gas,” he said.

“Maybe they’ll stay a few nights at a local accommodation provider and give a little money back to the local economy.”

As well as encouraging more people to Lower Glenelg National Park, Mr. Shiell said the caves were an important teaching tool for indigenous heritage.

“The information boards in the visitors’ building are going to be replaced and upgraded,” he said.

“We are working closely with the Gunditjmara Aboriginal Cooperative to make sure we get a mix of information that includes some of the area’s indigenous history.”

The ceiling and wall of a cave with stalagmites
Shiell says the “incredible natural feature” has drawn travelers to the region.(ABC Southwest Victoria: Jeremy Lee)

‘big giveaway’

The cave has been a major attraction for the small Victorian town of Nelson.

River Vu RV park owner and operator Patricia Lomas said she was “very excited” to hear the site would reopen.

“It’s a huge draw for our community,” he said.

“Most of our customers who come to our caravan park love to go see the Princess Margaret Rose cave, they also like to do the boat tour [on the Glenelg River].”

Ms. Lomas said that not all travelers had heard the message that the cave was currently closed.

“We had someone this week, actually, he came [from Melbourne] do the river cruise and do the cave,” he said.

“They had booked two nights to do that and ended up only staying one night because the caves were closed.”

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