Due to time constraint and also partly cuz we couldn’t be bothered, we left 3 interesting activities unexplored. You would have realized that we skipped the cave explorations, the Tuart forest and also the lighthouses.
Prior to the trip, these were on my agenda. However, 4D3N in Margaret River ain’t enough and we decided to cut the caves off because we didn’t like stairs and there’s lots of steps through the caves. The thought of babywearing the kids while struggling with stairs ain’t too appealing. Plus caves are echo-y and Ez is going through this shouting phase where he deliberately make weird noises just to hear echoes. Stopping him is beyond my control. So for everyone’s sanity, we sacrifice.
There’s 4 different caves to explore and 2 lighthouses.
Ngilgi Cave: pronounced as neelgee. There’s a semi-guided tour that takes about an hour and then you get to roam on your own. You will learn more about the Australian Aboriginal mythology from the visit. (Sounds like something the kids can’t appreciate. Yet.)
Mammoth cave: A limestone cave that’s within the Leeuwin Naturaliste National Park featuring fossils of extinct animals (jawbones of marsupial species!). Initial tours were conducted by lamplights until 1904! Can’t imagine the tourists then being able to see much. Wheelchair accessible for part of the tour. Free for children under 4 years old.
Lake cave: This is my favourite and I really wanted to have a look. What deterred us?! The 325 steps each way! Goodness! I don’t think I’m fit enough to do this anymore. Expect to see a breathtaking lake that reflects the formations, a suspended table that weights tonnes and also stalactites as one descend through a sunken Karri forest. Nice. Not suitable for young kids as you are supposed to be quiet in order to listen to the dripping sound. Try telling the kids this.
Jewel Cave: The largest show cave in Western Australia with a depth of 42m. This cave contains one of the longest straw stalactites at 5.43m. Not much of a geography student so the formation of this cave eludes me. Sand cemented together to form limestone by the action of rainwater. Interesting. One is also expected to stick to the group the entire duration. But again, I doubt Ez and Lè meimei are interested in listening about sand and rainwater.
Two iconic lighthouses marked the start and finish of the cape to cape track in Margaret River.
Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse is situated at the most south-westerly tip of Australia where the Indian Ocean meets their Southern counterpart. One must climb up 176 narrow and winding steps to get a view of the seascape. However, children under 4 years old are not permitted on the tour.
Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse is thus more suitable for families with little kids like ours because there’s only 59 steps to the top. There’s also a new observation platform where you can enjoy the coastal landscape.
Tuart Forest National Park has the last remaining Tuart forest in the world. These trees only grow on coastal limestone. I would love to check this out but somehow I doubt Ez and Lè meimei would be impressed by them. Coupled with the bad weather and the lack of time, we gave this amazing piece of nature a miss too.
So many places to go, so little time. Perhaps the reason why it’s cool to bring little children overseas is just so that we can have an excuse to double back just so we get to complete what we missed. Looks like we are coming back to Margaret River again. Maybe not in the near future but WE WILL BE BACK!