A milijun location: Cocklebiddy Cave is in Western Australia: GPS: -31.9665, 125.917
Cocklebiddy Cave is where Laura and Jason Sinclair meet the aliens head on for the first time. They are, in fact, the only ones who manage to escape. This event is the birth of their adventures.
The cave is a real place, situated in the vast outback of West Australia. It is one of many caves that thread through the Nullarbor ‘karst’, which is the largest arid area of limestone in the world. In the year 2179, the Sinclairs have the advantage of an elevator for access. It is somewhat more difficult at the present.
Most of the Nullarbor caves are difficult or dangerous to locate and enter. Visits to caves on the Nullarbor are restricted to speleological (caving) clubs and for research, monitoring and management. Within Western Australia, the Department of Parks and Wildlife issues the required entry permit to visitors from approved organisations.
The cave is located 12km west of Cocklebiddy Roadhouse and 10km north of Eyre Highway 1. At the time of writing, the highway turnoff and route to the cave are not signposted.
The current entrance to Cocklebiddy Cave is an example of a collapsed ‘doline’. This is a sinkhole created when the cave roof collapsed to reveal massive underground caverns and more than 5km of underwater passages.
During World War 2, Australian Army engineers attempted to tap water supplies from Cocklebiddy’s vast underground lakes. However, all their attempts proved unsuccessful. Reports from the time indicate that Army Engineers were disappointed to discover that a thin layer of fresh water sat on top of a much greater volume of highly saline lake waters. Caving in the Cocklebiddy area is really only recommended for highly organised and experienced caving groups.
Cocklebiddy has been the object of numerous cave diving expeditions over the years. Since the 1960s Australian and international teams have gradually pushed further into the cave, setting new world records for cave diving distances. The world record set at Cocklebiddy Cave in 1983 (6250 metres) has since been broken. Expeditions to map and photograph the cave continue to offer opportunities for better understanding and protection of this fragile karst environment, and the unique animals that dwell in the Nullarbor caves.
Viewing Cocklebiddy Cave:
Due to unstable rock at the entrance, Cocklebiddy Cave is CLOSED to public entry. Visitors can walk down into the doline to view the entrance, which leads immediately to a large, steep and rocky chamber over 300m long. Do not go beyond the entrance barrier.
Of the many caves in the area, Koonalda Cave is deemed the most spectacular. Sixty metres below the plain, it runs for 250 metres to a deep underground lake. Over twenty thousand years ago Aboriginal people discovered the chamber. Their lore counselled that the caves of the western Nullarbor were inhabited by evil spirits, who were habitually heard growling in the hastening water of the subterranean lakes. In the novel ‘milijun’ Major General Sebastian Ord deems this to be somewhat ironic.