16 July 2011

Margaret River - Caves and Good Stories

Margaret River is dotted with around 350 caves, hidden within limestone ridge that runs from Cape Naturaliste in the north to Cape Leeuwin in the south. A number of these caves can be found along the appropriately named, Caves Road, a country road from Dunsborough along Cape Naturaliste to the town of Augusta, at Cape Leeuwin. Note that many of the famed Margaret River wineries are located off Caves Road.

Had we not been press for time to return to our hotel, it has been a long day, a visit to one of the caves along Caves Road might make today's posting a more memorable event rather than a rest break (read into this a toilet break) from the long driving.

Though we did not see any of the caves, I thought that its existence in the region is worth a mention.

Our second rest break is at the Ngilgis Cave, also known as the Yallingup Cave, near the Yallingup township, 8km west from Dunsborough.

Ngilgi is a local Aboriginal name given to the cave; a legend recounts the Dreamtime origins of the cave in terms of a vicious fight between a bad spirits that lived inside the cave and a good spirit Ngilgi who lived in the ocean.

Just an aside, if you are one who like good stories or just curious of the Stories of the Dreaming from the many Australia's Indigenous people, click here. It is a good web-site to past the time with interesting story-telling, professionally presented, if you have the time to spare.

Ngilgi cave was discovered in 1899, by Edward Dawson, while searching for stray horses. He began taking tourists through the cave in 1900. The tours were so popular that Caves House Hotel was built to accommodate the many visitors that would travel by horse and cart from Busselton.

Today, the cave is open every day and tours are self-paced with guides available to answer questions. Visitors can view the First Chamber, the Main Chamber and the Amphitheatre but the cave is noted for its impressive Mother-of-Pearl and Oriental Shawls and the red and orange coloured Arabs Tent.

Caves Road goes through the Lake Cave Mammoth Cave Nature Reserve. The following photos show the majestic Eucalyptus trees (a.k.a. Gum trees) around the car park of one of the lesser known caves and its name escapes me. Our first rest break returning from the Cape of Leeuwin.

For more images of gum trees in Australia, click here.

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