We have never seen anything like it.
Imagine that you are a miner or a fossicker and you have just stumbled across a cave filled with treasures so numerous and valuable, that it’s as if you have fallen into a fantastical dream. As you travel through this whimsical cave, you are surrounded by sparkling shapes and iridescent colours, long lost treasures and objects of unspeakable beauty. Well, you don’t need to imagine any longer because this wonderland has been created for you by one man – dreamer and visionary, René Boissevain.
René began collecting after a stint in Queensland, when he found a beautiful agate boulder while fossicking at Agate Creek in 1963. This spurred him to travel the world and find more extraordinary specimens and by 1969, he had established a museum in Holland called De Oude Aarde, meaning The Old Earth.
A few years later, he and his wife migrated to Australia, and after a lot of hard work and using only René’s imagination as blueprints, The Crystal Caves opened in 1986. René believed that it was the very best way to display his amazing collection of crystals. Eventually, as René’s collection grew, the Crystal Caves grew, and it is still growing today.
The Crystal Caves
Safety first! Before entering the cave, equip yourself with a hardhat and head-torch – you’re gonna need it! The self-guided tour takes you through many dimly lit caverns and grottos with low hanging stalactites and archways, all encrusted with crystals from all over the world.
It’s ok, you’re allowed to touch. Run your fingers over the reticulated crystals, or try to pick up a piece of Galena. The Crystal Caves is not only an intriguing fantasy but also an interactive adventure! Traverse the Winding Walkway, stroll through the Fossil Gallery and marvel at the glowing rocks in the Magic Temple. Gaze in awe at the enormous Empress of Uruguay, the largest amethyst geode in the world. The beauty is 130 million years old, 3.27m tall and weighs 2.5 tonnes. If you think that’s heavy, the nearby Crystal Fountain is made from over 4 tonnes of rose quartz, the ‘stone of love’.
Learn stuff! This might not be the primary reason why you’d visit the Crystal Caves but you will certainly walk away with more knowledge than you had before. As you travel through the caves, you will come across over 600 specimens of gemstones, rock formations and fossils as well as their origins and even how they were formed. For example, the very cool pyrite cubes are of higher quality when their edges are closer to a right angle, while the beautiful sculpture carved of lapis lazuli is from the Chinese Qing dynasty of 1644-1912.
The Fascnating Facets
Once you’re done exploring the caves, check out the incredible gallery, rock shop and jewellery that is Fascinating Facets. Browse through beautiful necklaces, rings and bracelets, various gemstones and more.
Crack A Geode
While you’re at Crystal Caves, why not crack your own geode! The word geode meads ‘of the earth’ and describes a hollow rock full of crystals.
Large geodes, like the Empress of Uruguay, are inspected before they are dug out of the ground. A small hole is drilled into the geode and a tiny camera is inserted to see whether the geode is worth excavating. This process also helps to determine the best way to cut the geode.
Amethyst geodes, like the Empress of Uruguay, are formed in volcanic rock inside the bubbles that were trapped in cooling lava. Over millions of years, water that is saturated with minerals seeps in and reacts with chemicals within the pocket of air. A combination of minerals, pressure, water and time results in the beautiful crystals that are found within geodes. Amethyst geodes get their gorgeous purple colour from manganese and iron.
The Crystal Caves is located at 69 Main Street, Atherton and is open 7 days a week – except for good Friday, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day. Fascinating Facets is the adjacent gallery, rock shop and jeweller where you can purchase a variety of collectables from semi-precious stones, fossil specimens and beautiful jewellery.
For more information, contact the Crystal Cave on 07 4091 2365 or check out their website at www.crystalcaves.com.au.