The Top 5 Tourist Caves to Visit in Western Australia
Western Australia has one of the oldest landscapes in the world. There are amazing rock formations, ginormous gorges and spooky underground caves spread out in the whole region. Most of these landscapes have shown evidence of fossils of animals from the prehistoric ages. A 350-million-year-old fossilised reef was found at Windjana Gorge National Park. At Mount Augustus, there is the world's largest rock formation which is twice the size of the Uluru (which is a large sandstone formation also known as Ayers Rock). The colour-changing Wave Rock at Hyden is over 2700 million years old and the limestone pillars in the Pinnacles Desert are over 6,000 years old.
Beneath the surface of the ground there exist more amazing landscapes made up of limestone rocks, underground streams, waterfalls and large caverns. A few of these natural caves have become tourist attractions, while the majority of them are not open to the public due to the fragile structures and dangerous terrain within the caverns. The tourist caves are some of the top places to see in Perth, WA.
Margaret River is situated three hundred kilometres south of Perth. It is famous for its wine production, beaches, food and tourism. In the Margaret River region, there are more than 150 caves beneath the Leeuwin Naturaliste Ridge and Karri forest. Most of the caves that lie underground in the area have complex and fragile landscapes. They belong to the karst system which is the formation of layers of soluble limestone or dolomite. A visit to one of these caves will leave you with one of the most memorable experiences of your holiday.
1. Jewel Cave
Jewel Cave lies 38 kilometres south of Margaret River. It is the largest tourist cave in Western Australia with one of the longest stalactites in the world. The cave tour will bring you on a descent down a narrow tunnel. At the end of this long tunnel is a giant cavern with a golden glow. Visitors to this giant cavern will be mesmerised by the magnitude of this cave and the beautiful formations of long straw stalactites and giant stalagmites. Some of the formations resemble organ pipes, a Jedi, a ghost, a frozen waterfall and a giant shawl.
2. Lake Cave
Lake Cave is located 13 kilometres south of southeast of Margaret River on the Leeuwin Naturaliste Ridge. This is one of the most stunning limestone caves in Western Australia. Visitors also get to experience being underground in the darkness. In this cave, there is a tranquil underground lake. Above this lake are stunning cave formations which are reflected on the lake in a display of light shows.
3. Mammoth Cave
Also located in the Margaret River region is the Mammoth Cave, which is 500 metres long and 30 metres in depth. This cave is gothic-like and has been described as a perfect dwelling place for a caveman. There have been discoveries of animal bones and fossils in this cave, which once belonged to giant mammals, extinct animals, the Tasmanian tiger and Zygomaturus which resembled a huge wombat. Formations in the Mammoth Cave include the Mammoth shawl and Karri Forest.
4. Ngilgi Cave
To the north of Margaret River is the small town of Yallingup, which faces the Indian Ocean. Here, you can find many attractions like the wineries, breweries, galleries, restaurants and beautiful beaches which are popular among surfers.
The Ngilgi Cave was formerly called Yallingup Cave. This is also a karst cave located northeast of Yallingup. The caves found in this area are very young caves formed from young limestones. There have been excavations of fossils and remains of animals like the Tasmanian tiger, bats, kangaroos and possums have been found here.
There are many exciting tours available for visitors. Apart from the guided tours for less adventurous cave visitors, this cave offers exciting tours for those who do not mind getting down on their hands, knees and bellies. There are tight gaps underground to crawl and squeeze through that will lead you to some of the most beautiful spots in the cave.
5. Crystal Cave
The town of Yanchep is only 45 minutes north of Perth. Here, visitors can enjoy horseriding, sailing, swimming, surfing, scuba diving and bushwalking. In spring, there are some sightings of migrating whales in the areas near the beaches.
The Yanchep National Park has some unique flora and fauna which are some of the attractions bringing visitors to this small town. There are also several hundred limestone caves in Yanchep National Park and the Crystal Cave is a show cave open to visitors. Great formations in this cave include Sleeping Beauty, Queen Victoria and some hugging polar bears. There are narrow tunnels and crevices to crawl through and some parts require climbing to get to the large caverns, streams and pools. Fossil remains have also been found in the Crystal Cave.
Caves to Visit in Western Australia
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Questions & Answers
I am going to Australia in March. Any suggestions for tours?
Most hotels have local tour brochures at the reception area. You can book directly with the local tour operators when you are there.
I am looking for the best but also child friendliest caves to visit, any recommendations?
There are risks involved when entering caves but most tourist caves are safe for the general public. If you have young children please check with the staff on-site if they have any restrictions for young visitors.
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