Where in Hell is it?

Where in Hell is it?

Where in Hell is…Hell? I mean, it'd have to be the most godforsaken, remote, rocky spot in a desert with huge caves beneath the surface. From Dante's descriptions of Hell in his The Divine Comedy: Inferno, the images in my mind are of red desert and stone over karst with underground rivers and lakes. In my research, I came across an interesting book that set Hell in the Australian outback, as it definitely has the red dust and rock. I agree – so the Hell in my Mel Goes to Hell series is in the caves beneath the Nullarbor Plain, a treeless expanse of desert that stretches along the Great Australian Bight from Western Australia to South Australia. The world's largest karst limestone landscape, the Nullarbor is 270,000 km2 and 2000 km from Norseman in Western Australia to Ceduna in South Australia. Maps, pictures…here we go, some satellite imagery of the Nullarbor Plain, courtesy of NASA: Usually, I fly across it, but I've travelled it by train once on the Indian Pacific and that was one long train journey. Especially as you have two whole days and nights looking at this view.

View out the window of the Indian Pacific, Nullarbor Plain

Nullarbor Caves

There are some really beautiful caves under the Nullarbor Plain – but in order to see most of them, you need to be a highly experienced SCUBA diver and certified by the Cave Divers Association of Australia, because a number of people have died while diving the Nullarbor caves. In 1988, a freak storm collapsed the main entrance of Pannikin Plains Cave while an expedition team were finishing their exploration of the cave – and fifteen people were trapped inside. Fortunately, after two days, all of them made it out safely, including Australian filmmaker Andrew Wright. His near-death experience was the inspiration behind the film Sanctum, which he produced with James Cameron in 2011. For a beautiful gallery of underwater photos of the Nullarbor caves, click HERE, as I can't reproduce them here for copyright reasons. Some of the known caves under the Nullarbor include:

  • Abrakurrie Cave
  • Balladonia Cave
  • Cocklebiddy Cave
  • Horseshoe Cave
  • Kellys Cave
  • Koonalda
  • Old Homestead Cave
  • Pannakin Plain Cave
  • Stegamite Cave
  • Thampanna Cave
  • Weebubbie Cave

There's even a cave in Western Australia called Devil's Lair – but that's in the south west and closer to my home. I'll leave the south west caves for another day.

From the pictures, any or all of them could qualify as settings for Hell – including Abrakurrie Cave, pictured below.

Abrakurrie Cave (Source: Flinders University Speleological Society Inc)


Abrakurrie Cave entrance (Source: Flinders University Speleological Society Inc)


North entrance to Old Homestead Cave (Source: Flinders University Speleological Society Inc)













I must admit that the lake in Weebubbie Cave, along with the pit-like entrance, also make it an ideal candidate for Hell.

Weebubbie Cave, Nullarbor Plain
Weebubbie Cave, Nullarbor Plain


Entrance to Weebubbie Cave, Nullarbor Plain
Entrance to Weebubbie Cave, Nullarbor Plain

Want to know more? Check out my Mel Goes to Hell series HERE.

Loved this? Spread the word

About the Author

USA Today bestselling author Demelza Carlton has always loved the ocean, but on her first snorkelling trip she found she was afraid of fish.
She has since swum with sea lions, sharks and sea cucumbers and stood on spray-drenched cliffs over a seething sea as a seven-metre cyclonic swell surged in, shattering a shipwreck below.
Sensationalist spin? No - Demelza tends to take a camera with her so she can capture and share the moment later; shipwrecks, sharks and all.
Demelza now lives in Perth, Western Australia, the shark attack capital of the world.

Demelza Carlton

Related posts

A Quarter Million and Counting

​Read More

Interview With the Devil: Luce Iblis, CEO

​Read More

Interview With An Angel: Melody Angel

​Read More

Mammoths and Megafauna, Oh My!

​Read More

Love free books? Take this quiz and get up to 9 free books perfect for you!