Sunday, October 29, 2017


When we bought our ticket to do the tour at the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse on Saturday, for an extra $15 we were able to purchase a ticket to tour the Ngilgi Caves as well.  This seemed a good deal to us as normally the caves tour cost $22.50, so we ended up purchasing the joint ticket.  

We ran out of time on Saturday to do both, so this morning we are heading off to go through the cave.   I was a little uncertain about doing this cave tour as there are 750 steps down into this cave, and I wasn’t sure how my hip and knee would survive.
We did the yellow tour...
We left home just after 8.30am to head out to the caves which is probably a good 20 minute drive from where we are staying.  We also had a list of other places we wanted to visit in the vicinity so we knew we were in for a big day.
The Aboriginal legend for the caves.

The caves were really quite spectacular. It was a self paced tour through the caves and everything was well marked and lit. 

Ngilgi Caves was previously known as Yallingup Cave.  It is a Karst cave and was discovered by European settlers when Edward Dawson went searching for stray horses in 1899 and came upon the present entrance.  Curiosity got the better of him and the next day he returned with two friends, who assisted with the initial exploration on October 11, 1899.
So taken was he with his find that Edward Dawson began to set in motion plans to open the cave to the public.
Heading down into the cave
750 steps in this cave takes you 34m underground.
The caverns at Yallingup were opened for public inspection in 1900.  Edward Dawson began conducting tours through the cave in 1900 and served as its head guide until 1937.   He promoted the caves as a great honeymoon destination for Perth couples, and we were painted the picture of men arriving in 3 piece suits, and women with wide hooped skirts climbing down a rope ladder into the caves.  The exploration of the caves back in those days would take several hours.  These tours were also conducted by candlelight.  So popular were the tours conducted by Dawson, that they resulted in the establishment of the Caves Hotel in 1905.

These were step, rough and uneven steps and there were 100s of them

 In 1903, Yallingup Cave  as it was known then, was the first cave in Western Australia to have electric lights installed. It has been the site of two world cave sitting records, numerous weddings and it is believed that Dame Nellie Melba gave a concert before she went on to become a world famous opera singer.

 The cave is home to stunning stalactite, stalagmite, helicitite and shawl formations.

At times the passage ways and steps were narrow, but fortunately they had rails with most of the steps which at least made me feel a little more secure as I went down.   It was definitely worth checking out, so much so that I am now keen to see Jewel Cave which is closer to Augusta.  I figure that if I could manage the 750 steps here, the 550 at Jewel Cave won’t be a problem at all.  
The natural cave opening...

We spent a good two hours in the cave before finally surfacing again.  By now it was after 11am, so after buying a few postcards we were off to find the Cape Lavendar Tea House where we had hoped to stop for morning tea.

 On the way to the Tea House we detoured off the main road to drive into Yallingup as it was only a km or two off the main road.  Yallingup is a popular tourist destination because of its beaches and limestone caves, and proximity to Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park

Very creative pot plants...
Super playground at Yallingup

More beautiful wildflowers
Looking back onto Yallingup Beach
 Yallingup is named after an Australian Aboriginal word that means "Place of Love"

It is a pretty little coastal town not overly commercialised which adds to the charm of the place.  They have an awesome kids playground right on the beach front, and we found the most unusual pot plant holders at the local café.  So much so that I had to take a photo of them. 

Canal Rocks was the other tourist attraction that we wanted to visit today, and as the Cape Lavender Tea House was situated on the turn off road down to the Canal Rocks, we decided to stop here for morning tea, well really it was probably lunch.
Cape Lavender Tea House

 The Tea House was a very pretty little tea house where most things on the menu involved some form of lavender.  We ordered the Devonshire Tea which consisted of Lavender scones (HUGE) with Raspberry and Lavender Jam and cream with your choice of Tea, Coffee or Hot Chocolate, and then as a treat we ordered a bowl of Lavender Ice-Cream which we all shared.

Little cow milk jug...

Our drinks and food were served on beautiful china which had pictures of Lavender on it along with purple serviettes and a little vase of lavender on the table.  Also a bit like a high tea.  Still we did enjoy it and our surroundings, and it was nice to treat ourselves to something nice. 

Smith's Beach

On our way to Canal Rocks we saw a side road to Smith’s Beach so in we went to explore this lovely beach.  With its powdery white sand which stretches along the long and spacious Smiths Beach, it is a  beautiful bay known for big waves and clear waters. It is definitely one of the region's most popular beaches for swimming, surfing, body boarding, sunbaking and walking and probably one of my favourite beaches that we have visited also.  

From here we made our way down to Canal Rocks.  These were quite stunning with lots of rock on land and in the water.  The rocks on land were quite pretty with the wild flowers growing all around them and through them.  
Canal Rocks are granitic rocks that jut into the ocean and are separated by a series of canals carved by the sea.  They are essentially an open air museum of the geological features and rocks of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge, which you can experience while surrounded by the powerful forces of both wind and water that has helped to carve and shape them.

We were able to cross the canals via some recently ungraded narrow bridges, and you could then carefully clamber over the rocks to marvel at the Ocean’s power.    Steve clambered out over the rocks and took some stunning photos, whilst the rest of us remained on the narrow bridges. The views were amazing, and the water crystal clear.  From the bridges, we were able to see schools of fish swimming below, and spent some time just admiring them and watching them swim in and out of the sea grasses that were in this area. 
There is just so much to see in this area of WA, and we are loving our time here….
It was quite late by the time we got home, Steve was still keen to head to the beach for a fish, but he only had about half an hour until sunset.  Still he wasn’t going to miss his chance to cast out a line.  He didn’t have any luck though, it seems the squid are biting more than the fish here at the moment. 
It’s been a great day… We are having lots of these lately.  This is definitely area to base yourself.  So much to do in this region, and not a lot of kms to travel to see it all.  We are off on another adventure again tomorrow.  This time to see cows and wine…..


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