Caves of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge

Lake Cave

Lake Cave has one of the most impressive and beautiful entrances of all the Western Australian tourist caves. It is found at the bottom of a huge circular crater; called a doline. Huge karri trees grow up from the bottom of the doline, making it a spectacular climb down to the cave entrance. The cave is so named because of the underground lake which is formed by a stream flowing through the cave. Lake Cave was opened to the public in 1901. A wooden staircase was built to enable visitors to get down into the doline and an earthen pathway was laid down the centre of the cave for easy access. The cave at this time was called 'Queen of the Earth'. Lake Cave is the deepest tourist cave in the South-West with a depth of 62 metres. Lake Cave is known for a spectacular formation called the 'Suspended Table'. Two columns support a sheet of flowstone between them, which is suspended only a few centimeters above the stream.

The Suspended Table

Jewel Cave

Jewel Cave is the largest tourist cave in Western Australia; it's also one of the most recently found, lying undiscovered until 1957. A huge chamber is encountered as you enter the cave and as you reach the top platform several tree roots can be seen spiraling down from the roof. The trees above are sending their tap roots down into the depths looking for moisture within the cave. Jewel Cave contains one of the longest straw stalactites to be found anywhere in the world. This straw is 5.43 metres long. Straws are hollow tubular stalactites with diameters varying according to the size of a water droplet (approximately 2 to 9mm). Jewel Cave is an extremely well decorated cave; it contains many examples of helectites, a very large stalagmite called the 'Karri Forest', cave coral, pendulites and beautiful examples of flowstone such as the 'Frozen Waterfall' and the 'Organ Pipes'. Several Tasmanian tiger ( Thylacinus cynocephalus) skeletons have been found in Jewel Cave.

The Frozen Waterfall

Mammoth Cave

Mammoth Cave is one of the larger caves in the South-West with huge caverns and majestic formations. This awe inspiring cave is a natural time capsule and home to ancient fossil remains of extinct animals; the 'megafauna'. In the early 1900's, Mammoth Cave was also called the 'Dawn of Creation', a name which probably originated from the discovery of these fossils. Mammoth Cave was the first and one of the most important palaeontological cave sites to be found within Western Australia, with some 10,000 fossil specimens having been uncovered here. The jawbone of a Zygomaturus trilobus, a large diprotodontid species of megafauna, is still adhering to the wall of the cave. It has been dated at around 50,000 years old. A winter stream flows through Mammoth Cave from around July to October each year. This stream created the cave, slowly eroding the limestone over the past eons, creating huge caverns and large rock-piles. The cave is entered via a boardwalk through the magnificent forest of karri and marri trees.

First chamber