Unique Limestone Caves

Cave formations have taken thousands of years to develop.

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Caving is the recreational pastime of exploring cave systems.

The challenges involved in the activity depend on the cave being visited, but often include the negotiation of pitches, squeezes and water (although actual cave diving is a separate, and much more dangerous, sub-specialty undertaken by very few cavers). 

In recent decades, caving has changed considerably due to the availability of modern protective wear and equipment. The beauty of caving is that it does not require a great deal of equipment or training to get started.

Are you ready?.

The better shape you are in physically, the more you will get out of caving, but you do not have to be ready to scale the Matterhorn to begin enjoying underground exploration. A typical cave trip will consist of walking on uneven terrain, crawling (and squeezing) through low passageways or tunnels, and climbing up or down into whatever rooms the cave may feature. A good four to five hour trip has the potential to work every major muscle group in your body.

Many cave formations have taken thousands of years to develop. A careless nudge can destroy them in an instant. Do not use chalk or spray paint to write 'This way out' or other directions on the cave walls.

Mammoth Cave

Mammoth Cave is extremely large with an astounding array of formations. During winter, a stream flows through it, creating reflections and giving the cave new life.

The cave features stalactites, stalagmites and large columns where the two formations meet. A coloured shawl is prominent in one of the smaller chambers.

 The Augusta-Margaret River Tourism Association offers self-guided tours interpreted by MP3 players. The first chamber of the cave offers partial universal access. Mammoth Cave is open daily (excluding Christmas Day) phone (08) 9757 7411 for further information. Entry to the cave is from the eastern side and the exit is on the western side of Caves Road. A short bushwalk through the forest takes visitors back to their cars.

Mammoth Cave is home to the largest Megafauna (large extinct marsupials) fossil deposits in Australia. Ten thousand specimens were recovered by the WA Museum in the early 1990s. The jawbone of an extinct marsupial Zygomaturus about the size of a cow, is visible in the wall of this cavern.

Jewel Cave

Jewel Cave features the longest straw of any tourist cave in the world, a huge area of flowstone that resembles a karri forest, and a stalagmite weighing some 20 tonnes.

Entry to Jewel Cave is through a huge, spectacular cavern. It boasts the longest straw of any tourist cave in the world, at just over 5.4 metres. 

The cave was named after a smaller section known as the Jewel Casket and its crystal formations.

Guided tours of about one hour are available. Detailed information on tour times is available from the Augusta-Margaret River Tourism Association, phone (08) 9757 7411.

Giants Cave

Giants Cave has huge caverns and is about 600 metres long. It is a through cave, meaning you can enter a spectacular doline and reappear out of another.

Giants Cave is a self-guided unlit cave, although it was once a tourist cave around the turn of the century. People need to bring their own torches (or hire one on site), wear old clothing and sturdy footwear and ring the Calgardup Information Centre to check opening times as they vary seasonally.

Elevated platforms and marked paths are provided, so getting lost isn’t an issue. There are numerous spots where the caver can stop, relax and absorb the world-class cave formations.

Entry is from 9.30am to 3.30pm school holidays and long weekends. Enquire at Calgardup Guide Hut on (08) 9757 7422 for opening hours at other times.

Calgardup Cave

Calgardup Cave is spectacular because of the water covering the floor of three caverns. The special effects from the reflections of the water surface are something to see.

Calgardup Cave is a self-guided unlit cave operated by the Department of Parks and Wildlife. Torch hire is included in the the entry fee.

Elevated boardwalks have been built throughout the cave so people can relax and enjoy the exquisite beauty of the cave formations at their own pace and without a guide. Entry is from 9am to 4.15pm every day except Christmas and Boxing day.

Contact the Calgardup Guide Hut on (08)97577422

Cave Works - Lake Cave

The Cave Works discovery centre is well worth a visit, as is Lake Cave, one of the deepest tourist caves in Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park.

At Cave Works, visitors can walk through a cave model featuring a flowing stream. Interactive touch screens allow visitors to explore subjects such as cave speleothems (formations), bones of our distant past and historical information. Universally accessible boardwalks lead to a viewing platform where visitors can glimpse into the depths of Lake Cave. There is also a theatrette and tearoom onsite.

Lake Cave has a series of stairways and paths that descend through a large doline or ‘crater’ with huge karri trees growing from its depths. 

The cave’s lake never dries up and offers stunning reflections from the path that runs along its edge. It is heavily decorated with fragile white calcite straws, shawls, stalactites and stalagmites. A prominent feature is the Suspended Table, a large flat area of flowstone supported just above the lake from above by two large columns.

The Augusta-Margaret River Tourism Association runs Cave Works and conducts guided tours of Lake Cave daily (excluding Christmas Day) phone (08) 9757 7411.

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