The Caves

Pocket Palaeontologists

Digital dinosaur hunters

We wouldn’t know anything about the polar dinosaurs if it wasn’t for dinosaur hunters who continue to make discoveries along the Bass Coast This augmented reality experience gives visitors an opportunity to meet real-life dinosaur hunters, with a twist…

Whether its Lesley, the prehistoric turtle, or Jake, the megaraptor – you will bump into a series of stop-motion, animated characters as you explore the beach. But don’t let these characters fool you, each is voiced by a scientist who has studied the site for years. The characters are modelled on each of the scientist’s favourite prehistoric animal that lived along the bass Coast, 125 million years ago. These digital dinosaur hunters will reveal how their work fits into a collaborative effort, to discover, extract and decipher the fossils embedded in rock below. If visitors can’t get to the beach, or if the tide is in, characters can be accessed via a digital map near the Caves carpark, So you can still have an adventure without getting your feet wet!


Meet Jake

Jake Kotevski is passionate about megaraptors – carnivors that were bigger than a horse! Jake has discovered megaraptor teeth on the beach, and believes they hunted along river banks at the Caves site, millions of years ago.


Meet Mike

Mike Cleeland is a prospector, his job is to find fossils. Mike has a habit of dreaming of the bones he will find,  then finding them! His next wish is to find the skull of a theropod.

Passion and perseverance

The rocky beach landscape at The Caves is an incredible treasure trove of fossils, from mega raptors to fish to tiny prehistoric mammals. Equally incredible however, is the team of dinosaur hunters responsible for these discoveries.

From William Ferguson’s discovery of Australia’s first dinosaur fossil, nearby at Eagles Nest in 1903, to the hundreds of volunteers with the Dinosaur Dreaming project; fossils continue being discovered today. The challenging nature of this work makes these discoveries even more remarkable. Hours of hard, rock-breaking work may find a worthwhile fossil, but often results in ‘shoulder bone’; the practice of throwing away unwanted fossil fragments. Pocket Palaeontologists provides heartfelt, individual insights into discovering dinosaurs, and how the thrill discovery fuels a dinosaur hunter’s passion and perseverance.

"Speaking with the palaeontologists and other scientists has been a really joyful eye-opening experience and we haven’t even properly begun! Their passion for the discovery of knowledge and their delight at the fossil evidence of extraordinary creatures is so exciting, it will be an honour to capture it for visitors to The Caves. "

Isobel Knowles



Fossil insights

Shaped like rocks to echo the landscape, these hands-on installations will include cast fossils that dinosaur hunters discovered at the site.


Virtual dig sites

Augmented reality helps visitor visualise what’s involved in the discovery of fossils. Being a dinosaur hunter is hard, rock-breaking  work!


New characters

Lesley, Jake and Mike are just the beginning. Overtime, other dinosaur hunters like Pat, Tom, Melissa, Alan, Mike and Doris, will be introduced to provide further insights into fossil discoveries at The Caves. So, stay tuned for more Pocket Palaeontologists!


Meet Lesley

Lesley Kool was among the first to investigate the fossil potential at The Caves. Lesley’s favourite prehistoric animal is the turtle. These ancient turtles were relatives of the turtles we see today.


Digital Field Guide

AR polar view

Understanding how different the environment was at the time of the polar dinosaurs is a key part of the Dinosaurs Trail. This augmented reality experience enables enable visitors to see how the coastline may have looked 125 million years ago, when it was an expansive rift valley.

Feature Dinosaur


Named after QANTAS in recognition of its support with research and exhibitions; it illustrates the site’s story of passion and perseverance.

Qantasaurus was discovered at Flat Rocks. This little beaked herbivore, is from the ornithopod group, which are the most common dinosaur fossils found along the Bass Coast. They would have been a bit like today’s wallabies, two long legs, round bodies, and a stiff balancing tail for running, rather than hopping. Like other ornithopods, Qantasaurus is thought to have been warm blooded. Exactly how it would have survived the longer and colder winters 125 million years ago is a mystery. Scientists hope that new discoveries will help to solve this mystery one day.

Ornithischian dinosaur - Herbivore

Economic Impact


Visitor Spending Per Year


Full Time Jobs Created


Economic Boost During Construction