With our time in Australia running out we decided to head back down Ngilgi caves to do the ‘Ultimate Cave Tour’. After visiting Ngilgi caves with my parents back in September we were keen to go back to do the proper ‘ultimate’ tour which involved climbing through the caves, squeezing through the tight parts and seeing parts of the cave not many people get to through… all with only the light on our head torches!
We went down on the Thursday night so we could do a wine tour on the Friday in Margaret River which is only a 40km drive from the caves. As the Cave adventure started early morning we would have had a long drive to get there from Perth on the day.
We set off for the caves and traveled down the same path we took with my parents 6 months previously was quite a case of déjà vu! The difference this time is we were the first tour down, which meant all the lights that were on last time were off! So with our head torches on we followed the trail through the caves until we came to a point where we climbed over the safety rail and veered off the track.
Our guide showed us where we were going… and it pretty much looked like a tiny gap that could collapse at any moment! We squeezed though the hole in the rock which took us to a very small passage in the rocks.
As we went our guide pointed out things to us that you do not see in the walking tour such as the dog-tooth crystals that have formed in certain areas where there has been pools of water. He also pointed out the fossil remains of a frog that they think are about 10,000 years old… if I had seen it without the guide I would have thought it was a leaf or something!
The passage opened out and our guide explained our next move… over black eye rock, a name which is because of the amount of people who give themselves a black eye while crossing it!! You have to pull yourself up however due to a large rock sticking out it is very easy to hit yourself in the face with it! I never considered myself short however all the climbs were quite steep if you have short legs like mine!
We crawled down the other side and landed on the old river bed which was now just sand. Around the floor of the bed there are rock circles dotted around, we were told that these were to stop people destroying the stalactites which have started to form on the ground and would have taken years to get to the stage they were at.
One of the noticeable differences down here were the crystals hanging down, as the volume of people in this part of the cave is much lower, the crystals have not been contaminated and are pure white, it is quite beautiful. We had to use our hands on the rocks to help us move which is where the gloves came in, to keep the crystals white they cannot be touched by human hands as the oils in our hands turn them black!
For us to reach the next part we had to climb through the sand on our stomachs as the roof was so low. The sand is full of rich nutrients which the trees above would love to get to, so all around long tree roots are trying their best to reach the sand. On our stomachs looking to your left you could see loads of stalactites and stalagmites, pure white hanging down from the extremely low roof which once was a river bed. Some have even reached the floor and have begun to make a pool of crystal on the sand bed.
Our cave tour continued and as we went deeper we began to see bones of animals that had died down here either from falling down the caves or being washed down the river which once ran along the bottom of the cave. I have to say there was something quite eerie about this, down in a dark cave with no easy escape route and bones of animals on the floor…. felt like something out a horror movie and I was sure something was going to jump out at me at any point!
We reached ‘double crush’ a point of the cave that required a very tricky move to get through. If you get claustrophobic this would defiantly be your biggest test so far as it involves wedging yourself between two rocks while being suspended horizontal in order to squeeze through. However all the effort is worth it as once you are through the cave opens up into another old river bed with MASSIVE stalagmites and one of the longest ‘straws’ in the caves which is the start of a stalagmite. It is hard to describe just how beautiful it is!
There is also a large waterfall which has now frozen over into crystal. The whole area is quite spooky and was about to get even spookier! Our guide got us to sit on the sand floor in a circle and then turn our head lamps off. After the initial childish games of grabbing each other in the dark and trying to scare one another we settled in for a ghost story. It is difficult to explain how dark it is down in the cave and after the story we had to sit in the dark completely quiet for twenty minutes. The cave is SILENT all around you can hear nothing but the occasional drop of water.
Our guide explained that after a while many people start to hallucinate, especially younger children. I have to say I never saw anything weird however after ten minutes my eyes started making white clouds of where things were in the cave, where the overhang was, where the giant frozen waterfall was and where the boys were sitting. As though my brain was trying to fill in the gaps of what I was meant to see! Was quite surreal! It does make you think about the old tours that came down to the caves with only candle light… if the light went out you were in trouble!!
Heading back out the cave we had a choice to take the normal route back or go a very hard, tight and squashed way… and I mean tight! We opted on the harder way and were taken up to a very small, small opening. (Big enough to crawl through on your stomach. However this involved climbing to get to it while squeezing through while also trying to pull yourself up!!) We all had to go single file until we reached the next one which again involved moving along and up the rock only on your stomach. I thought this was great however if you do not like small spaces or the feeling of being trapped then this is not for you!!
The final squeeze took us right to the main room of the cave, where the normal tour reaches and another guide was waiting on us. We walked back through the normal route and up out the cave. The tour is $149 each and lasts for roughly four hours…. although I was unsure about the price of doing it, it turned out to be worth every penny!!