The Leeuwin-Naturaliste Caves

Just one visit, and you'll be lost in the magnificence of these subterranean wonderlands.  Should your torch battery expire, you'll definitely be lost, and wandering in all the magnificence.

Stalactites in the Mammoth Cave.

 

The first tourists to visit the Leeuwin-Naturaliste region, actually came down, to go down caves.  This all happened during the early 1900's, as surfing and wineries didn't establish until sixty years later.  The early tours were conducted by the light of hurricane lamps, and candles.   Most of these recreational pioneers were quite dark about this, though today we have the luxury of electric lighting.

Cavern in the Mammoth Cave.

 

Cavern in the Mammoth Cave.

Stalagmite in the Mammoth Cave.

There are over 100 caves in the region, forming a complex maze of tunnels and shafts.  Many contain streams and pools, with secret openings into the forest above.  The Leeuwin-Naturaliste ridge is composed of Tamala Limestone.  The caves developed when weak acids slowly dissolved in cracks, and other lines of weakness in the limestone.  Rainwater mixed with decaying vegetation in the forest above, to produce this acid solution.  As the newly formed limestone cavities enlarged, surface streams started to flow into them.  Eventually cave chambers developed from the water erosion.

Stalagmite in the Mammoth Cave.

 

Many of these caves are open to the public.  Some of the popular ones include the Ngilgi, Lake, Mammoth, and Jewel Caves.  Most are visited with a tour leader, though many are now self-guided.  When exploring a cave please do not touch the formations, as the natural oil on your fingers, will impede cave growth by millions of years.  If you have just snacked on salt & vinegar chips, don't even think about it.  Keep to the paths, and do not eat, drink, or play any disturbing rock music.

Opening into Mammoth Cave.

 

Sunlight entering the Mammoth Cave.

Mammoth Cave:   The cave pictured on this page is the Mammoth Cave. Discovered in 1850, it is located 21 kilometres south of Margaret River.  It was first opened to the public in 1904.  Being a self-guided cave, you can get lost in your own time. 

 

Assorted Speleothems.

 

Flowstones in the Mammoth Cave.

 
 

Calcium carbonate redepositing from solution to form speleothems.

 

Flowstones inside the
Mammoth Cave.

 
 

Forest opening into the Mammoth Cave.

 

The bones of extinct animals trapped in the cave.

 
 

Large forest trees cling to the side
 of the collapsed cave opening.

 

The preserved bones of extinct animals, which fell into the cave.

 
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