Caves of WitchcliffeIf you would like to go tomb raiding, the Witchcliffe area is the place
for you. Witchcliffe has the most extensive caving area in the south-west of the State. You will probably need a guide to find many of the caves and it is
important to contact CALM before you begin to explore them, as many require permits to access. The CALM
office is located on Bussell Highway, Margaret River and the phone number for the Ranger
is (09) 9780 5213 or mobile 0419 902 540.Whilst visiting the caves, remember to stay clear of any
cordoned off areas as they are probably dig areas of science or university groups.
Witchcliffe CaveFound above Boodjidup Brook at Devil's Pool, is the old Witchcliffe tourist
cave. It was believed that the cave was discovered and named by Alfred Bussell and his family. The nearby town was
also believed to be named in its honour. The cave entrance can be found at the west end of Devil's Pool, near an
overhang. Stairs lead to the entrance above the overhang, but it is wise to take a guide to find it.
Green CaveLocated near the Boranup Camp Site, this is quite a large cave. There are several
other interesting caves such as Dingo, Nannup, Strong's, Crystal and Arumvale caves also within walking distance of
the camp site. The Boranup Camp site is found off Bussell Highway. Turn right off Bussell Highway at Witchcliffe,
travel down Redgate Road and turn left onto Caves Road. Follow the road passing Calgardup, Mammoth and Giants Cave
before, veering right to Boranup Drive. The campsite is only a short distance into the forest. There are signs to
show the way.
Strong's CavePrepare to get wet! This cave is one of the finest stream caves in the area. It
has a small doline (sinkhole) with a vertical shaft. The passage inside the cave is low and there are sections that
must be carefully negotiated. The cave features the world's longest straw in the terminal chamber, calcified bones
in the cave walls and a large mass of crystalline formation of white calcite.
Dingo CaveFound downstream from Strong's Cave , Dingo Cave was originally part of the
Strong's Cave, but has been separated by collapses over the years. If you look around the cave closely you can find
a bat partly entombed in flowstone (charming!).
Arumvale Pipe and Arumvale CaveGrab your abseiling ropes for the Arumvale Pipe which is
located about 3km from the Boranup camp site. The Arumvale Cave is a little further up the hill and be warned the
entrance is very unstable. You will need several ladders to reach the 57m it takes to get to the bottom. The cave
is muddy and wet in parts, so be prepared to get wet, very wet.
Devil's LairThe Devil's Lair cave is probably the most significant of the caves in the area.
In 1972 a group of scientists excavated the cave and discovered bone fragments of five extinct animals, one of
those being the Tasmanian Tiger. In 1976, human remains were found and following intensive testing it was suggested
that the bones could date back as far as 12,000 years. This suggesting that aboriginals were living in the area
longer than first thought. Wall markings inside the cave are some of the earliest rock art discovered in Australia.
Bride CaveBride Cave was named in honour of Grace Bussell's daughter, Deborah, when she
married Winthrop Hackett, in 1905.The ex -tourist cave can be found along Caves Road. The cave has a pitch of over
50m, with the cave found at the bottom. Bride Cave is a popular abseiling cave and requires a permit from CALM
offices located in Margaret River. Some areas of the cave are cordoned off for restoration purposes, so stay well
Milligan's CaveOnce a tourist cave, Milligan's Cave now requires a guide, not only to find
it, but to assist in descending into the entrance. Caving equipment is essential as it has a 6m entrance pitch. The
cave has great examples of calcified tree roots.
Wallcliffe CaveDiscovered by Grace Bussell in 1870, the Wallcliffe Cave was also once a tourist cave. The cave is located at
the back of Wallcliffe House. Sadly, the cave has been badly vandalised by graffiti.
Blackboy Hollow CaveNamed after the grass trees (blackboys) in the area, the Blackboy Hollow
Cave is located 2km from Boodjidup Brook. A cave permit is required before you can enter the cave, as the entrance
is locked. The key is available at CALM Office in Margaret River. You will also need equipment to descend the 6m
Beenup CaveDiscovered in 1975 the Beenup Cave can be found on the hill overlooking Prevelly
Park Caravan Park. It is 300m long and requires no equipment. In the same area is the Rainbow and Foxhole Caves.
Tourist Caves of Margaret RiverNow if you don't know how to abseil, don't have a permit and
don't want to get down and dirty in the Witchcliffe caves, there are several tourist caves along Caves Road that
have safe walkways and lighting. For more about those tourist caves click here.
Important Links For Caving
Western Australian Speleology (Caving) Group
Caving permits and guidelines