After a day of looking around the Swan Valley we moved on and away from Perth to start our journey down to the South of Western Australia (Not the south of Australia just the South of the Western State) I say this because if anything this adventure taught me… It was just how big Australia is!! You can fit the whole of Europe into Australia and with WA being one of the biggest states you can imagine just how big it is and how far you have to travel to get to some areas!
We set of for our first location which was Margaret River… a 270km drive from Perth! To ease the journey we decided to take a few stops along the way including Bunbury and The Ngilgi Caves in Yallingyup. We arrived in Bunbury at lunch time and set up a picnic on the beach overlooking a beautiful bay. As we had stopped right beside it we decided to stretch our legs before the next long car ride and had a look in the Dolphin Discovery Centre. We walked in and paid our $10 admission fee only to be told…
‘We don’t actually have any dolphins in the centre, they come into the bay at the back. They are actually none here at the moment but if they come today then we will let you know’
So a Dolphin Discovery Centre that has no dolphins…. hmmm!! Walking through the centre we had a look at the various displays and the ‘aquarium’ or in Bunbury terms…. a few average size fish tanks! Was all rather strange! Having looked about for a while and no call of dolphins we decided to scram! I am sure if there were dolphins in that day it would have been lovely but $10 to look at some fish tanks is rather weird and a bit of a rip off! However with each ticket we go t 2 extra admission’s each so if anyone would like to know give me a shout!
Back in the car we headed another hour or so just past Yallingyup to visit the Ngilgi Caves. I will admit that I wasn’t keen on the caves and tried to convince Andy to just keep going straight to Margaret River. I mean once you had seen one cave you had kind of seen them all right?! I will put my hands up and admit that I was SO wrong!!
The Ngilgi Caves are unbelievable, with stalactite’s (Rocks that hang from the roof of the cave) weighing in at 2 tonnes, massive rock formations and stalagmite’s (Rocks coming from the floor of the cave up) all lit up to display them the cave was quite breath-taking!
Going down the stairs to the cave the guide gave us the history on the caves with Edward Dawson discovering it way back in 1899 right down to the Aboriginal legends which had led it to becoming a sacred aboriginal site. Edward Dawson clearly was a brave man as he ventured down in the dark through a small hole with no stairs into the unknown… you could tell he had never seen ‘The Decent’ film!! She explained the different parts of the cave and with that we were off exploring!
Now obviously with 4 grown adults exploring these wonderful caves there was only one clear path to start at…. the kids section!!! Climbing though a tight space in a giant rock we got to a long pitch black steep tunnel right through the middle of a rock, great fun sliding down… hard work to get out of! It got us all laughing at least! (mainly at the light source which was the white of my mum’s legs!!)
Going through the cave was so impressive as all around us were massive spike like rocks coming from the top of the cave. Going down the steps deeper into the cave we noticed the change in the air as there was 20% more Carbon Dioxide that usual, might not sound much but it was enough to make us all slightly breathless!
The final part of the caves was the main chamber. The guide had told us to experience this at its best we had to go to the bottom and lie on our backs, close our eyes for a minute then open them. She also explained that the caves and amazing acoustics and opera singers and church choirs have come down to record music in the main chamber! Not the kind of people to miss out on an opportunity we all headed down the steps as my dad belted out ‘Flower of Scotland’ to test the acoustics…. I have to say it was quite impressive!!
We got onto our backs and lay down shutting our eyes ready to me amazed. As we opened them it was crazy!! With all the stalactites from the ceiling lit up in all different colours it was as though you were travelling at warp speed!! The longer you glanced up at the ceiling the more spectacular it became as you began to take in more. It was something that is very hard to put down in words!!
Leaving the caves we noticed that you can do a full on cave tour for 4 hours travelling even further down, through even narrower gaps for $149… That’s a steal in WA!!! The caves may seem expensive to do ($21 per adult although we got a family pass for $54) it is worth every penny as it would be hard not to be impressed by just how beautiful and amazing this natural wonder is.
With all of us happy with the break from sitting in the car we go back in and set off for Margaret River where we stopped over for the night in preparation for our first Wine Tour the next day!!