Journey into an ancient underworld and see spectacular limestone and crystal formations that date back to over 350,000 years ago.
The Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge in the Margaret River Region is dotted with over 150 limestone caves. Explore caves open to the public, including Ngilgi, Lake, Mammoth and Jewel cave. There are guided or self-guided tours, which take you along the boardwalks into the beautiful underground caves. For the more adventurous, you can take a journey by torchlight to explore deeper, hidden pathways.
Beneath the limestone ridge which forms Cape Naturaliste is Ngilgi Cave, providing a fascinating interplay of Aboriginal legend and nature.
Located off Caves Road between Dunsborough and Yallingup, Ngilgi Cave is named because of its association with a rich Aboriginal legend describing the battle between a good spirit (Ngilgi) and an evil spirit (Wolgine). Indigenous tour operator Koomal Dreaming offers several tours to explore the Aboriginal connection with the cave.
Discovered in 1899, Ngilgi Cave (formerly Yallingup Cave) remains one of the Margaret River region’s most visited attractions.
The cave offers a stunning display of stalactite, stalagmite, helictite and shawl formations plus an interpretive area detailing the cave’s rich history. Today you can enjoy semi-guided tours and a range of other experiences including awesome adventure caving and torchlight tours. A cafe, children's playground, barbecue facilities and walk trails make a visit to Ngilgi Cave an excellent family outing. Note: Adventure tours must be booked in advance.
For those who like to explore caves at their leisure, Mammoth Cave offers the perfect opportunity to go it alone in safety. An audio self-guiding system provides a climate of independence for the Mammoth Cave visitor.
Mammoth is a wonderfully wild cave and conjures thoughts of this being the perfect home for cavemen. An array of formations angles off in all directions and the natural light protruding through the entrance and exit give this cave a liveable feel. In this cave, you can see all of nature’s fantastic forces at work. It is truly remarkable.
Entry is made via a wide boardwalk which allows some disabled access into the first cavern. This awe-inspiring cave is a natural time capsule and home to ancient fossil remains of extinct animals. Formations include the Mammoth shawl and the “Karri Forest” flowstone which seems to resemble the unique karri trees of the Margaret River region.
A visit to Mammoth Cave is not complete without taking a stroll along the wonderful Marri Walk Trail. Mammoth Cave is 15 minutes south of Margaret River along Caves Road.
Lake Cave is a stunning crystal wonderland which plays on the mind of the child in all of us. It’s highly recommended for children and adults, especially those new to the cave experience.
Descend a staircase in time to gaze up at towering karri trees from a primeval lost world before entering one of the most stunning limestone caves in Western Australia. A testament to nature’s beauty, the mirrored reflections give a sense of peace in this cave. It’s easy to see why it was originally named by its first tour guide, Tim Connelly, as “The Queen of the Earth.” A light show highlights the many different features and visitors also get a taste of sitting in the underground darkness.
Lake Cave is relaxing 20 minutes’ drive south of Margaret River, along the famous Caves Road.
Jewel Cave is Western Australia’s largest tourism cave. Hidden in the beautiful Karri forest of the Leeuwin Naturaliste Ridge, about 37 kilometres south of Margaret River and nine kilometres north of Augusta, this cave sinks to a depth of 42 metres and is 1.9 kilometres long.
Only 40 per cent of the cave has been developed for tourism and the journey for the visitor is spectacular. Jewel has giant formations and little natural light. The first descent down a long, narrow tunnel which opens at the top of the first giant cavern makes for a breathtaking introduction to the rest of the tour.
Jewel Cave gives one the sensation of being under the ocean without the water. It has a soft golden glow and the sheer magnitude of its formations dwarfs its visitors. This cave has one of the longest straw stalactites found in any tourist cave in the world, measuring 580 centimetres.
For more information on the caves, please visit www.margaretriver.com