Sunday, 18 February 2007

Going Underground Take 2

We went to Margaret River today and had a look around the town. We browsed the market and walked the main streets stopping to have a look in few shops. We finally managed to replace our flimsy plastic wine glasses for the camper. Ours were really champagne glasses and they so easily tipped over if there was any wind. These are also plastic, but they are clear and look like glass. They also have a better shape and a bit of weight to them so hopefully no more spilled vino.

As we walked we saw a restaurant called "Relish the Experience" which we had seen on television. The program "The Real Sea Change" had featured the owners and their move to Margaret River to open the Italian Restaurant.

We had lunch at a small bustling cafe that made a great Caesar salad and had wonderful coffee. When we passed the fudge factory on the way back to the car of course we had to go in for a taste. At least I didn't answer the ad they had out front looking for staff, and believe me it was tempting!

On the way back to Augusta we visited our first Margaret River winery. It was a bit disappointing as we weren't all that impressed with their wines. They did have one special wine that we liked though. It's made from grape juice and brandy. I forget what the style is called, but we were told that although it's fairly common in Europe that there are only a few wineries in Australia that make it, and only one in Margaret River.

After the winery we decided to do what we promised we wouldn't today - visit the third cave! We went to Mammoth cave which was really interesting as they have found many bones from animals that are hundreds of years old, and often extinct. These were megafauna, or giant variations of animals that exist today in Australia - giant kangaroos, echidnas four times the size of modern day ones, etc. At one spot we saw a jawbone in a wall of the cave.

Mammoth cave is very aptly named. It is HUGE. We had been under the mistaken impression that there wasn't much of a climb. There was, but it was fine. We were able to go in unguided except for an audio guide and we really enjoyed being able to tour at our own pace, spending more time in areas that interested us the most. As I am typing this Mike just said that this was his favourite cave for that very reason. He really enjoyed being able to take the time to explore at his leisure. The entry of the cave was at ground level which made the first chamber accessible to the disabled and those unable to climb the stairs. I thought that was especially nice, and on our way in we did see a woman in a wheelchair exiting with her husband.

Once we got past the first chamber the cave opened up into a huge labyrinth of viewing areas on different levels. The cave is 500 meters long and 30 meters high. Approximately the height of a ten story building. This is the only cave we visited that had a separate entry and exit. As we continued along in the cave we walked up staircases into different areas, so we were surprised to find that when we got to the exit at the end of the cave that we still had quite a climb up to ground level. The audio guide explained that we had been walking into a hill.

When we got back to camp we saw that a new arrival had the same folding boat that we do. He has made a couple of modifications to his and we're interested in seeing them. He also wanted to have a look at ours and we've made plans to meet him and his wife for some boating on the Blackwood river in the morning.

1 comment:

Audge said...

Hi, This does look like a beatiful cave. I didn't realize how much touring you'd be doing. The town sounds nice. Yum. fudge.