Overview: The Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park is one of the state's most loved and scenic holiday spots. Between Cowaramup Bay and Hamelin Bay... more »
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The Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park is one of the state's most loved and scenic holiday spots. Between Cowaramup Bay and Hamelin Bay... more », is some of the most rugged and inaccessible coastline in the park. Facing due west, the coastal cliffs and rocky shoreline bear the brunt of giant ocean swells generated across thousands of miles of ocean by the prevailing westerly and south-westerly winds. At various junctures along the coast are scenic lookouts from which to marvel at the ocean’s beauty and power.
The limestone that forms the rugged coastline is riddled with caves, with a wide variety of caving experiences on offer, from guided tourism caves to adventure caving.
The coastline that runs west of the Boranup Forest to Cape Leeuwin near Augusta offers sweeping coastal scenery, isolated fishing spots from sheer cliffs into deep water, sheltered bays for swimming, and curved beaches for combing. less «
Tracks to the more isolated surfing and fishing spots on the coast are often suitable only for four-wheel drive (4WD) vehicles,... more » because of the rough limestone that protrudes from the road surfaces. Watch out for kangaroos at dawn and dusk. Some tracks are closed to the public. Please respect all signage and barriers as they are there to protect the park.
Full accommodation, shopping, dining and entertainment facilities are available in the nearby towns of Augusta and Margaret River. Sightseeing tours, dive and fishing charters and four-wheel-drive safaris are also available. less «
Calgardup Beach is both a beautiful locality and a renowned surfing beach with the Redgate surf break.
It is also the location of the Georgette shipwreck, the finding of which is the stuff of local legend. The 46-metre 215-tonne, iron steamer, Georgette began leaking and then sinking on 1 December 1876 near Calgardup Beach, Redgate. Two women... More and five children drowned when one of the three lifeboats overturned. The wreck was seen in the breakers by Aboriginal stockman Sam Isaacs. He and his employer’s 16-year-old daughter, Grace Bussell, rode their horses into the surf and out to the capsized lifeboats. Over four hours, Sam and Grace made several trips into the surf bringing the passengers and crew—clinging to their horses and clothes—safely back to the beach. Twelve of the 50 passengers and crew lost their lives. The wreck’s location was rediscovered in 1964.Less
Calgardup is a self-guided unlit caves operated by the Department of Parks and Wildlife. People need to bring their own torches (or hire one on site), wear old clothing and sturdy footwear.
Calgardup Cave is spectacular because of the water covering the floor of three caverns. The special effects from the reflections of the water surface are... More something to see. Elevated platforms have been built through the cave so people can relax, enjoy the exquisite beauty at their own pace and without a guide. You will not get lost. Educational signs are placed throughout the cave. Adventure sections of Calgardup Cave are available with a guide and can be arranged by talking to staff at the entrance.
Entry is from 9am to 4.15pm every day except for Christmas Day. Contact the Calgardup Guide Hut on (08) 9757 7422.Less
Mammoth Cave is 21km south of Margaret River, it is extremely large with an astounding array of formations. During winter, a stream flows through it, creating reflections and giving the cave new life. The cave features stalactites, stalagmites and large columns where the two formations meet. A coloured shawl is prominent in one of the smaller... More chambers.
Mammoth Cave is home to the largest megafauna (large extinct marsupials) fossil deposits in Australia. Ten thousand specimens were recovered by the WA Museum in the early 1990s. The jawbone of an extinct marsupial Zygomaturus about the size of a cow, is visible in the wall of this cavern. Entry to the cave is from the eastern side and the exit is on the western side of Caves Road. A short bushwalk through the forest takes visitors back to their cars.
The Augusta-Margaret River Tourism Association offers self-guided tours using state of the art MP3 players as your guide. The first chamber of the cave offers partial universal access. Mammoth Cave is open daily (excluding Christmas Day) phone (08) 9757 7411 for further information.Less
Cave Works, near Lake Cave on Cave Road, is a discovery centre where visitors can walk through a cave model featuring a flowing stream. Interactive touch screens allow visitors to explore subjects such as cave speleothems (formations), bones of our distant past and historical information. Universally accessible boardwalks lead to a viewing... More platform where visitors can glimpse into the depths of Lake Cave. There is also a theatrette and tearoom onsite.
Lake Cave is one of the deepest tourist caves. A series of stairways and paths descent down through a large doline or ‘crater’ with huge karri trees growing from its depths. The lake never dries up and offers stunning reflections from the path that runs along its edge. It is heavily decorated with fragile white calcite straws, shawls, stalactites and stalagmites. A prominent feature is the Suspended Table, a large flat area of flowstone supported just above the lake from above by two large columns.
The Augusta-Margaret River Tourism Association runs Cave Works and conducts guided tours of Lake Cave daily (excluding Christmas Day) phone (08) 9757 7411.Less
Giants Cave is a self-guided unlit cave, although it was once a tourist cave around the turn of the century. People need to bring their own torches (or hire one on site), wear old clothing and sturdy footwear and ring the Calgardup Information Centre to check opening times as they vary seasonally.
Giants Cave has huge caverns and is about 800... More metres long. The cave is unique in that it is a through cave, meaning you can enter a spectacular doline and reappear out of another. Elevated platforms and marked paths are provided, so getting lost is not an issue. There are numerous spots where the caver will want to stop, relax and absorb the world-class cave formation.
Entry is from 9.30am to 3.30pm school holidays and long weekends. Enquire at Calgardup Guide Hut on (08) 9757 7422 for availability at other times.Less
Conto Campground is along Conto Road which runs off Caves Road. Facilities include toilets, barbecues, tables, water and individual sites in the bush.
Nearby Conto Springs Beach is a great place to relax, or to go surfing or fishing. The coastal scenery is stunning and most of it is accessible to two-wheel-drive.
To access Point Road Campground take the first track to the right from the northern end of Boranup Drive. 4WD vehicles are recommended. Facilities include toilets, barbecues, tables and individual sites.
Boranup Karri Forest, within the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, lies between Caves Road and the coast, and creates a powerful contrast with the rest of the coastline. Tall pale-barked karri trees, reaching heights of 50m or more, dominate the hilly slopes and valleys. Gravel roads suitable for two-wheel drive vehicles wind through the forest... More to picnic and camping spots. A short drive takes you to Boranup Lookout, which gives sweeping views over the forest and the coast west to Hamelin Bay.
Boranup is an Aboriginal word that means ‘place of the male dingo’. Sadly, however, these wild Australian dogs have now been exterminated from the Boranup area and from most of the south-west, after gaining a reputation as sheep killers.
Boranup is the furthest west that karri, the third tallest tree in the world, grows. Waterbush and karri hazel form a dense understorey beneath the giant trees, and in spring white clematis, purple hovea and coral creepers add vivid colours to the cool green of the forest.Less
This campground off the southern end of Boranup Drive has barbecues, toilets and a limited number of individual sites available on a first come, first served basis.
Hamelin Bay has numerous tiny islands, reefs and beautiful clear waters. It is well known for the friendly stingrays that patrol the shallows (see photo). A privately operated and fully serviced caravan and camping area, shaded by spreading peppermints, is less than 50m from the beach.
The Hamelin Bay jetty was built in 1882 to service a nearby ... Moretimber mill. However, Hamelin Bay is open to the north-west and the dangers of these winds caused the loss of five vessels in 1900, including three in one storm on July 22 1900. Hamelin Bay was abandoned as a timber port a few years later. The jetty became derelict and was later burnt.
Many wrecks are concentrated at Hamelin Bay, with 11 wrecks lying around its shores. The WA Maritime Museum’s Hamelin Bay Wreck Trail features four visible wrecks: the Agincourt (1882), Chaudiere (1883), Katinka (1900) and Toba (1930s/1940s). The four wrecks are visible from the coast at times and accessible by snorkel and scuba in good weather.
If you venture near the fragile limestone cliffs, it is extremely important to take heed of rock risk signs and keep out of areas that have been fenced off. Nine people tragically lost their lives when a limestone cliff collapsed at Gracetown in September 1996.Less
Cosy Corner is known for its white sandy beach, granitic headlands and limestone islands. The sprinkling of islands are surrounded by stunning reefs and drop-offs that are home to a myriad of colourful marine animals, including the giant blue groper. It is a perfect place for diving if you pick your weather conditions and are prepared to lug heavy... More scuba equipment down the steep path.
The beach at Cosy Corner is generally sheltered and is popular for swimming. The limestone platform on the beach to the south of the car park contains many blowholes able to spurt water up to 6m high on rough days.
Cosy Corner is also popular with both beach fishers and rock fishers but if you decide to try your hand fishing here please do so with an eye to your personal safety, as the rugged swells in this area will occasionally wash fishers off rocks and result in fatalities. Always wear a personal flotation device when fishing from rocks and never fish alone.
Fishers should first contact the Department of Fisheries for information on daily bag limits, minimum legal sizes and other regulations. If you catch fish that you do not intend to keep, please return them to the ocean as soon as possible and ensure minimum possible handling, to give them the maximum chance of survival. Handle fish with wet hands to minimise damage to their protective coating.Less
Eight kilometres north of Augusta is Jewel Cave. Entry is through a huge, spectacular cavern. The cave contains the longest straw of any tourist cave in the world, at just over 5.4 metres. There is also a huge area of flowstone which looks like karri forest, and a stalagmite estimated to weigh 20 tonnes. The cave was named after a smaller section ... Moreknown as the Jewel Casket and its crystal formations. Guided tours of about one hour are available. Detailed information on tour times is available from the Augusta-Margaret River Tourism Association, phone (08) 9757 7411.Less
Cape Leeuwin was named by Flinders in 1801 after the Dutch exploration ship the Leeuwin (which means ‘lioness’), which visited the area in 1622. The old lighthouse, which is still in use, is open daily for tours, and gives views west and east over the meeting place of two great oceans: the Indian Ocean to the west, and the Southern Ocean to the... More south and east. Twenty two ships were wrecked around Cape Leeuwin before the lighthouse was officially opened there by WA Premier John Forrest in 1896 and only one after this time. Built by timber tycoon Maurice Coleman Davies and John Wishart, with clockwork apparatus and kerosene lantern designed by Chance Brothers, the 39-metre-tall light operated in original condition until 1982, when it was converted to hydraulics and electricity.
Detailed information on tour times is available from the Augusta-Margaret River Tourism Association phone (08) 9757 7411.Less
The waterwheel built to power a hydraulic ram, which would pump water from the nearby swamp to supply the lighthouse and keepers cottages. It quickly became encrusted with a coatig of limestone and is now frozen in rock.
Water from the spring still flows through the sluiceway to protect this historic feature from the ravages of ageing.
At the south end of the bay, limestone was hewn for the blocks used to build the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse. The many small chips of stone which can be found at the base of the cliff, residue of this quarrying activity, are already well cemented together after only 100 years.
This small sheltered south-facing beach forms the southern side of the sandy foreland that ties Skippy Rock to the shore. Rocks also outcrop on and immediately off the beach. There is a lookout here and some interesting coastal vegetation.