Yallingup is a small coastal hamlet nestled into the hillside, overlooking one of the region’s well-known surf beaches. The coastline here is dramatic. Jagged rocks and high cliff faces are met by a haze of sea spray from the swell below. It has been touted that Yallingup means ‘Place of Love’ in the local Aboriginal dialect, a rumour that sprouted due to the popularity of Yallingup as a wedding and honeymoon location. In fact, Yallingup means ‘Place of Caves’, as the town sits above an extensive cave network in the Leeuwin Naturaliste Ridge.
Tourism officially began in the south west in the early 1900s with the discovery of Ngilgi Cave by European Settlers. From that point on, holiday makers and honeymooners would take the trip to Yallingup to explore the cave by candlelight and the nearby Caves House was built by the Government to service demand. Fast forward to the mid-century, when surfers first discovered Yallingup. Since then, the area has become a breeding ground for some of the world’s best surfers.
The Spirit of Ngilgi
This area and nearby Dunsborough are significant locations for Aboriginal heritage, and many cave burial sites are located beneath the limestone ridge which forms Cape Naturaliste. The most popular cave in this area, and the only one open to the public is Ngilgi Cave, with its striking display of stalagmite, stalactite, helictite and shawl formations.
The name acknowledges Australian Aboriginal mythology, as Ngilgi was a good spirit who triumphed in battle against an evil spirit Wolgine. The story is part of the heritage of the Wardandi people, who are the traditional custodians of the cave and the wider south west region. You can learn more about the mythology and stories on a tour of the cave with indigenous tour company Koomal Dreaming, or alternatively, take a self-guided tour.
Top things to do around Yallingup
- Watch the sun set over the ocean from Yallingup, which has gained the reputation as a ‘place of love’.
- Take a hike to the beautiful Quinninup Falls, 10kms south of Yallingup, from here you can walk south on the Cape to Cape Walk.
- Take a walk over the bridge to view Canal Rocks, a series of protruding rocks popular with fishermen and photographers. It’s beautiful on a still day and awesome when it’s rough.
- Discover the Injidup Spa, a beautiful natural rock pool which is popular with locals and visitors. Scramble over the rocks and walk down into the protected pool.
- Learn to surf. Yallingup is one of the most famous breaks in the South West. There’s surf schools or board hire available. Alternatively, sit and watch the pros from any of the vantage points.