Visitors to the Margaret River Region often ask us, what is the best Margaret River cave? The answer? All of them! They're all really good in their own different ways, they all vary in difficulty, and you won't be disappointed with any of them!
However, realistically, you probably won't have to visit all of them in one visit, so if you only have time to see one Margaret River cave, I would go to one closest to where you are staying; if you're in Busselton/Dunsborough/Yallingup, go to Ngilgi Cave, if you're in Margaret River, go to Lake Cave, and if you're in Augusta, try Jewel Cave. If you're looking for great accommodation options near the caves you want to see, search here at Accommodation Margaret River Region.
Formed over a million years ago, the caves along the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge, from Busselton to Augusta, are one of the natural wonders of Australia's South West. There's actually more than 100 limestone caves all up that we know about, but only 6 are open to the public, some with guided tours, other are self-guided tours. There's no other stretch of caves like this in Western Australia!
Now that's the short version! If you'd like to find out a little bit more about each cave and some general history, read below!
Hidden in the beautiful Boranup Karri forest, Jewel Cave is the biggest show cave in Western Australia offering three massive chambers and one of the longest straw stalactites found in any tourist cave in Australia.
With over 40 percent of the cave developed for tourism it offers an easy walk cave and one of the best caves to visit with small kids.
You will also find an onsite café offering coffee, light lunches and refreshments, as well as a shop. Jewel Cave is located at the southern end of Caves Road, ten minutes north of Augusta and combines well with a trip to the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse.
Fully guided tours run for 1 hour and are conducted throughout the day starting every half hour from 9.30am, and you can buy tickets here.
CURRENTLY CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC DUE TO RECENT BUSHFIRES - EXPECTED REOPENING EASTER 2022
Lake Cave is a stunning crystal wonderland and one of the deepest caves in Margaret River Region. Entry to Lake Cave is from the floor of a sunken forest, surrounded by towering Karri trees, and is highly recommended for adults and children alike.
Lake Cave is the most 'actively dripping' cave in the Margaret River Region, and the only cave with a permanent lake on the inside which creates an incredible mirrored wonderland. Marvel at the unique 'suspended table' formation, which weighs several tonnes and seems to defy gravity as it hovers above the clear lake water.
Lake Cave is a relaxing 20-minute drive south of Margaret River, along the famous Caves road. Guided tours run for 1 hour and are conducted throughout the day starting at 9.20am, book tickets here.
Ngilgi Cave is located off Caves Road between Dunsborough and Yallingup and is rich in history, being Western Australia's first tourist attraction.
Ngilgi cave is named because of it’s association with an Aboriginal legend describing the battle between a good spirit (Ngilgi) and an evil spirit (Wolgine).
The cave offers a stunning display of stalactite, stalagmite, helictite and shawl formations plus an interpretive area detailing the cave’s rich history. Hour long semi-guided tours depart every half-hour from 9.30am, and you can book tickets here.
Mammoth Cave is for those who like to explore caves at their leisure. This self-guided cave offers the perfect opportunity to go it alone in safety.
Headphones are available which provide an informative insight into the history and features of the cave.
Wandering through Mammoth Cave conjures thoughts of this being the perfect home for a caveman. With natural light playing on the formations and an array of angles going off in all directions it is not hard to imagine this once being a liveable place.
Mammoth Cave also contains a fossil from Australia’s megafauna so make sure you don’t miss checking this out. There is also a lovely boardwalk through the forest on the way out.
Mammoth Cave is 20 minutes south of Margaret River township and the most accessible, with the first chamber being wheelchair friendly (but no prams or strollers). Bookings recommended and tickets available here.
Giants Cave is a true adventure experience as it involves climbing, crawling and maneuvering through vertical ladder climbs, rock scrambles, tight spots, gigantic chambers, a natural cave floor and constructed walkways for more than 500m in this 86m deep cave. This is a medium-level adventure and not suitable for children under 6, and you must wear fully enclosed footwear.
Giants Cave is not lit, and you are provided with helmets, head lamps and torches before you enter. Some people find this cave physically challenging, so if you are claustrophobic or suffer mobility issues, other caves may be better for you to visit.
This one takes about an hour to go through and opening hours for Giants Cave are non-standard, so please check current opening times and entry prices here before making the drive.
Calgardup is a really fun self-guided cave that you can tour at your own pace. You're provided with a torch, helmet and head-lamp and can explore the cave on your own without a guide (while keeping to the boardwalk and steps) It's easily accessible for all ages, with handrails on all boardwalks and stairs. Calgardup Cave is 27m deep and full of colorful crystals, stalactites and stalagmites and walls of flowstone.
Calgardup is probably one of the least visted caves, which makes it generally pretty quiet and not as 'touristy' as the others. You don't need to book in advance to see Calgardup Cave, but for up to date ticket prices and opening hours, click right here.
Our friends over at the Margaret River Motel made this YouTube video of their experience of Calgardup Cave too, you can watch it here.
Caving in the Margaret Region is a great all-weather activity, and also a great history lesson while you're at it! There's a cave suitable for all ages and ability levels - tell us below, which is your favourite cave?
If you're looking for great accommodation options in the region while you go caving, search here.