Monday, December 15, 2008

The Crystal Wonderland (Lake Cave, Western Australia)

Margaret River, south of Perth in the remote south-west corner of Australia, is a travellers delight rich in great sights and experiences. Blessed with a Mediterranean climate, fine soils for wine production, world class surf beaches and towering karri forests which blaze in a kaleidoscope of colour in spring during the wildflower season, Margaret River has dramatically grown in popularity in the last ten years.

With its limestone base, nature has worked its magic over many years leaving a number of mesmerising show caves, including Lake Cave, to wander and enjoy.

Starting with a long walk down some 350 stairs (though you are reminded that this is the path out too) past groves of slender statuesque karri trees, which stand over 20 metres in height, the cave entrance beckons in a gaping collapsed cavern. It feels like entering Middle Earth with spider webs hanging from above and a deep ladder marking the first steps into the inky depths below.

As your eyes adjust from the dazzling sunshine, you can see a tranquil lake covers much of the main chamber in this underground wonderland. Upset only by the occasional drip from above, it creates a perfect mirror for the delicate expressive crystalline formations. Giant straws fall from the cave’s ceiling built over many thousands of years as a miniscule ring deposit of calcite remain from each delicate drop of the limestone-enriched water.

Undoubtedly, the highlight is the Suspended Table. A large crystalline slab supported from above by a pair of columns hangs tantalisingly a few centimetres above the subterranean lake. The floor on which it once sat was swept away leaving this five tonne formation dangling in thin air.

At the end of the cave there are seats where you can enjoy the peaceful environment, the unusual decorations and the remarkable reflections in the lake. Lights are extinguished to get a true feeling of suffocating darkness (and no, you can’t see your hand even an inch away from your face!) before an array of coloured lights transforms the cave into a fairy grotto shimmering before your eyes (see lead photo – note the suspended table in the centre of the image).

Lake Cave is one of several caves in the Margaret River region and makes for a worthwhile hour to explore this crystal fantasy world.

Other Australia Posts
Climbing the Coathanger (Sydney Harbour Bridge)
An Obsession with Size
Invasion of the Termites (The Pinnacles)
And Then There Were Eight (Great Ocean Road)
Photo of the Week - Olympics and Opera House

Other Cave Post

Underground Fantasy (Skocjan Caves, Slovenia)


juka14 said...

Hello, would you be interested in a link exchange with my blog "Beautiful Places"?

MikeC said...

Wow... that looks like a very cool place to visit. Pretty freaking cool.

Asian Traveler said...

Thanks very much for the interesting information about The Crystal Wonderland.

Mark H said...

@juka14: Interested.

@mikec: Very cool indeed.

@asiantraveler: Pleasure.

Lara Dunston said...

Well, you must be a fan of caves - I was there recently, but I must admit I was a little disappointed, and it certainly wasn't as beautifully lit as it is in your photo. But don't you love the Margaret River region?!

Mark H said...

@lara: I do like caves and make an effort to see them wherever I'm travelling. Disappointed to hear that they didn't do the lights as well - no idea why. Margaret River is a superb place with all kinds of great things to visit and enjoy (especially the food and wine).

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