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TOP 5 CAVE EXPERIENCES
The cave experiences in the region range from the
family-friendly to the claustrophobically scary
ying beneath the karri
forest in the Margaret
River region there are
more than 150 caves.
Some are dramatically lit to
enhance their timeless splendour,
while others remain cloaked in
darkness, only revealing their
splendid treasures under the beam
of a powerful, handheld torch.
Choose your own adventure from
this Top 5.
About 20km south of Margaret
River on Caves Road, Mammoth
Cave is a walk-through cave
offering easy access for all ages.
Follow the boardwalk into the
wide mouth of the cave and
enter its vast cavern, where your
state-of-the-art MP3 audio guide
will tell you all about animals
that once roamed the area.
Look out for the fossil remains
of megafauna, including a huge
wombat-like creature, and
the bones of the more recently
extinct Tasmanian tiger. There is
wheelchair access only as far as
the main cavern, because the main
exit is up a set of stairs with a short
walk back to the carpark.
Open daily (except Christmas Day)
between 9am and 5pm, with last
entry at 4pm. Tickets: Adult $20,
child $10, family $50 (two adults,
two children, extra child $6.50).
Includes entry into CaveWorks
Eco Interpretive Centre located
at Lake Cave.
Another 5km down Caves Road
brings you to Lake Cave, regarded
by many as the most spectacular
of all. A set of 324 steps takes
you down past huge karri trees,
into the bottom of a crater. The
guide gathers each group before
going into the narrow entrance
to the cave. The centrepiece is
the formation known as the
Suspended Table, which, in
spite of its massive size, appears
to hover effortlessly above the
shallow lake. Visitors need to be
aware that the steps on the way
down may be hard on the knees,
and the walk back up will have
you puffing. But you can catch
your breath while visiting the Eco
Interpretive Centre, which has
activities for children, or enjoying
refreshments at the tearooms.
Open daily (except Christmas Day).
At nearly 90m deep, Giants Cave
lives up to its name, and is the
most challenging of the tourist
caves. It is a self-guiding cave,
with no artificial lighting, and
a helmet and powerful torch
are supplied with the entry
fee. The descent to the sandy
floor of the cave is via a steep
set of metal stairs, and moving
between its massive chambers
requires climbing vertical ladders,
squeezing through tight spaces
and a certain amount of rock
scrambling. The cave is suitable
for older children and adults with
a taste for adventure and at least
a moderate level of fitness. Strong
enclosed shoes and a responsible
attitude are essential. Giants is
20km south of Margaret River on
Open during school and public
holidays, 9.30am-3 .30pm.
WA’s largest show cave is better
than ever following a major
redevelopment at the site. Famous
for its delicate 5.4m formation
the Straw Stalactite, and for
its sheer magnitude, it now
has a new preservation centre
and interpretation area, shop
and cafe. The eco-friendly
changes were designed to protect
and preserve the stunning
which also has a beautiful forest
backdrop. With improved access
and a new lighting system, it’s a
first-rate visitor experience. The
caverns sink to 42m deep and
stretch for 1.9km, but guided
tours will see you negotiating a
far more manageable 700m of
walkways and stairs through
several large caverns.
Tours run daily (except Christmas
Day) every hour from 9.30am –
3.30pm. Tours of Jewel Cave can
be booked through Caveworks on
(08) 9757 7411.
With no artificial lighting and
easy access, Calgardup is ideal for
families who want a more natural
experience. Included in the entry
fee is the use of a helmet and
torch, and information on
the dos and don’ts of cave
etiquette. You are free to explore
the cave at your own pace, so
why not take a break on the
seats provided and listen to
the trickling of the water in an
otherwise silent space? Or, if
you dare, turn off your torch
and feel the blackness close in
on you. You will find Calgardup
on Caves Road about 20km from
Margaret River, just before the
Conto Road turn-off.
Open daily from 9am to 4.15pm.
Bride Cave (Photography Ross Anderson).
The boardwalk inside Calgardup Cave (Photography Ross Anderson).
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