Caves of Margaret RiverThe area around Margaret River and Witchcliffe has one of the most extensive cave
systems in the State's South West region. There are over 350 caves
hidden below the surface of the Margaret River region. The main reason for this large cave system, is the
water, which over years, had seaped through the limestone ridge which stretches some 80kms along the
coast.Understandably some of these caves are not open to the public, due to safety reasons, but there are
several tourist caves ready to be explored along Caves Road.
Brief HistoryThe first recorded discovery of a cave in the Margaret River area, was in
1848 and was presumedly the Old Kudardup Cave, near Augusta . In the 1880's, following the clearing of
forests by the M.C. Davies Timber Co, a series of caves were
discovered. The Bussell family who were early pioneers of the area, were also responsible for the discovery
of many caves. In fact, the Brides cave was named in honour of Grace Bussell's daughter. The town of
Witchcliffe was also named after a cave of the same name in the area.
In the early 1900's a Caves Board was established by J.W.Hackett to manage
and protect 14 caves for the intended tourist possibilities. The first cave to be opened to the general public
was the Yallingup Cave in 1902. With great success the Caves board began an extensive advertising campaign to
attract both local and international tourists to Western Australia's south-west region. By 1910 the Caves
Board was partly abolished and the caves fell into neglect. The demise of the tourist caves continued for the
next 20 years due to vandalism,
graffiti, flooding and bush fires.
By the 1950's there were only five caves still open to the general public. However around the same
time the Jewel Cave was discovered, which reignited interest in caving and tourism. Sir David Brand officially
opened the Jewel Cave to the public in 1959.
During the 1960's many new caves were discovered by cavers including the Labyrinth Cave, Strong's
Cave, Christmas Star Cave, Terry Cave, Winjan's Cave, Boya Booka Cave and Beenup Cave. None of these caves are open
to the general public and require special caving permits.Information about the permits can be found at CALM.
Jewel CaveThe Jewel Cave, which is probably the most spectacular of all the tourist caves in
the area, boasts the longest straw stalactites to be found in any tourist cave in the world.
Mammoth CaveThe Mammoth Cave is a self guiding cave and you can wander through at your own
leisure. You are even supplied with you own self guiding audio headset. It also features partial disabled access.
Inside the cave are fascinating formations and nicely displayed remains of extinct animals, such as the Thylacine
(Tasmanian Tiger / Nannup Tiger ). There are some interesting formations such as the crocodile head which for the
life of me I couldn't see (until it was pointed out to me, by a 6 year old!).
Lake CaveThe Lake Cave features a tranquil lake which reflects the formations suspended from
the roof of the cave. The cave is only accessible by tour guide . Be warned there are only limited tours thoughout
the day, so it is important to check times and days before you go, as it may save you a long wait. There is a cafe
and gift shop at the caves entrance.
And There Is MoreOkay, you now know about the tourist caves of Margaret River, but did you
know that there are many other caves to explore in the Witchcliffe area. Click here for more
information caves of Witchcliffe.
Important Links For Tourist Caves