Travel Notes | Yugar Bat Cave

Nestled in the deep north of Brisbane on the border of Yugar lies an unknown piece of history. The word ‘bat cave’ might have given you the impression of a natural cave formed in the side of a mountain. The rough edges of protruding rock, eerie/tense atmosphere, peering into a black vast abyss revealing nightmarish terror of one’s darkest dreams. As amazing as the idea sounds, in reality, this bat cave couldn’t be any further from that.

Yugar Bat Cave, or Yugar Railway Tunnel as it was previously known, was created in 1918 and is the only railway tunnel within the Pine River shire. Measuring 269ft (82m) long, this concrete tunnel came into use on 3rd March 1919 when the Samford to Samsonvale section of the Dayboro railway line was opened for traffic. It served a purpose until 1st July 1955, when it was closed because of a decrease in railway traffic. For years the tunnel/cave had been forgotten and the north side was used as a rubbish tip until 1983. The tunnel came under the control of the University of Queensland for research into the bat colonies that live within the tunnel. Thus forever changing its name from Yugar Railway Tunnel to Yugar Bat Cave.

The walking track leading to the cave still holds fragments of its past. The old train line is your path to finding the cave, however, time has allowed the track to become overgrown and lost to soil and vegetation. The path is straight, easy to access, and there is a strange feeling walking down the old train lines. So much history now lost to nothing more than legend and myth. What sort of trains used this line? Was the tunnel used for public transport? Had any incidents occurred along this track? Questions that came to mind while heading north to the tunnel.

In the vague distance, after 30 minutes of walking the line, the tunnel presents itself. My expectation vs the reality were two different ideas. In my mind, I was expecting a tunnel carved with nothing more than limited machinery and hand tools. The cave would be big but rough and unkept, letting you wonder how old it really was. The train lines would still be visible, rotten, as rust turned the metal into an orangish-brown to show its true colours. In the far distance, you could see a peak of light which would let you know there was an exit.

In reality, the cave had been concreted. Smooth concrete line both the ground and its walls, creating an almost perfect sphere with its bottom cut off. Graffiti licks the walls with art too distorted or not even noteworthy of identifying. Although the tunnel was long, vast, and dark, there was no light at the end of the tunnel. A few shouts behind the gated entrance lets you know the tunnel is long. As for the bats? There were none. You have more chance of finding some within your local park, dangling from the trees, eating the fruit, fighting, and covering themselves in their own excretion.

Is the Yugar Bat Cave worth the trip? Absolutely. Although the bat cave itself is a slight let down, the path leading to the cave is not. Sure, you can’t climb inside the cave nor can you see any bats, but seeing as though it’s the only railway tunnel this side of Brisbane, it's worth a visit.