After breakfast and filling our water tank, we departed our campsite to once more head below ground, this time to Mammoth Cave. Despite checking everyone’s wallets and pockets, we could not locate our two cave pass bought yesterday, when we arrived at the cave. Prepared to have to shell out another entry fee, the Cave Man very kindly allowed us to enter based on our honest faces and viable tale of lost tickets! This was a self-guided tour, with a few less stairs than Lake Cave, but none the less a steep entry and exit to the dolite.
Many fossilised bones of long extinct species have been found in this cave, including giant short faced kangaroos, huge wombats, giant echidna and various marsupial lions. Many of these were on display and in one section of the cave a fossilised jaw bone of the giant roo was still in situ, preserved behind a lit glass screen.
Mammoth Cave was much bigger than Lake Cave, consisting of four separate caverns interlinked through narrow crevices. The many types of structures decorating the interior were on a grander scale than Lake, and in particular a fabulous shawl formation, backlit to show the various colours, was particularly impressive. There were many fully formed pillars, where stalactites and stalagmites had met, as well as incredible areas of crystal flow and many chandeliers of straw like “young” stalactites. It was a chilly 12 degrees throughout the cave, so it was wonderful to exit into the warm air and begin to warm up.
After climbing out of the cave to exit, we were in need of sustenance and headed to Boranup Cafe for lunch on the recommendation of the cave man. It was a delightful short drive through the forest, with an impressive stand of giant, beautiful Karri trees in one particular area. The cafe was great, and we booked our Augusta campsite as we ate lunch.
We decided that we should look for a winery after lunch, as our red supplies were low in Pilgrim, but each of the first two we stopped at were closed. Third time lucky though, McLeod Creek Estate welcomed us, with just 3 wines to try and a winner of a 2013 Merlot. After this, we all felt pretty lazy and decided to head for Augusta and our camp site. On the way, having missed the turning for the site, we drove out to Augusta boat harbour, a small, seawall protected marina which looked brand new. We had a little walk around to check it out, nipped to town to buy supplies, then checked in to our camp site.
The Flinders Bay caravan park was delightful. On the shores of Cape Leeuwin and near the estuary of the Blackwood River, the park is right on the beach. We were a thirty second walk to the beach from the van, in a site that was hedged and so really private. Pete was going to cook us pasta for dinner, so after a little walk on the beach, we settled in for a quiet evening, and delicious pasta a la Pete, with the cheeky McLeod’s Creek merlot – mmmmm.