Big Brook Arboretum – Donnelly River – Augusta – Cape Leeuwin – Jewel Cave – Boranup Campground

Paula at Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse

Paula at Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse

I left the Arboretum this morning and made my way to Augusta via the Karri Forest Explorer drive to the Vasse Highway. This took me through some magnificent Karri country – massive straight trees with no bark (they shed in summer). The road is gravel but well maintained, but I’m pleased to reach the highway and bitumen.  The highway takes me into Donnelly River country (a relative – I’m sure!!)  This is beautiful rich country and the start of vineyards and fruit growing as well as the actual Donnelly River.  There are chalets and cabins to stay in as well as farm stays advertised.

Just past the Donnelly River, I am fascinated by the change in the forest – the trees have obviously been burnt some time ago and there are masses of Black Boy trees – groves of them amongst the tall timbers. I’m out of the Karri country now and heading for the turnoff to Augusta.  I stopped for morning tea at a parking area just past the turnoff and stretched my legs – a really pleasant stop with a nice outlook.

On arrival at Augusta I head to the Visitor Information Centre to get my tickets for the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse tour and the Caves tour.  This is a very well serviced coastal town – it has a nice feel to it. The harbour is just down the hill so easy to explore.  There are boat cruises, but I’ve decided on the Lighthouse and Jewel Cave.

I set off to Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse via a scenic coastal road – checking out the new boat harbour being built and the fishermen on the rocks before arriving at the Lighthouse.  Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse is Australia’s Tallest Lighthouse (built in 1895 from local stone).  The light stands 56 metres above mean tide level and the original lens is still used today.  78 steps to reach to top and the most magnificent view – 360 degrees and two oceans meeting – the Southern Ocean meets the Indian Ocean. Whales are in Flinders Bay from May until September – some were spotted near the horizon while we were in the Lighthouse. This is on the extreme South West point in Australia and the Leeuwin Current flows by here – the water temperature is 24 degrees – amazing I thought it would be freezing. The Lighthouse precinct is heritage listed and the tour allows access to the grounds.  There is a memorial to 10 sailors lost from HMAS Nizram close to Cape Leeuwin, a sundial pointing to places of interest and information boards on the Lighthouse’s history. The Keepers cottages have pointed rooves to cope with the strong winds. I really enjoyed the tour as it was very informative. There is an historic Water Wheel which supplied the water for the builders from a spring in the wetland between the lighthouse and Quarry Bay where the limestone was cut for the building of the lighthouse. It travelled along the wooden flume and as the water flowed over, the wheel activated the pump which pumped the water to the lighthouse. Even though the wheel is encrusted with limestone, I find it fascinating – what amazing technology – over 120 years ago!!

After the Lighthouse, I head back into Augusta to investigate the Nurses Memorial I’d noticed the sign for on the way out – the memorial is for all Australian Army Nursing Sisters who paid the ultimate sacrifice – their names are listed on one plaque and beside it is another with their names listed under the columns of how they perished.  This was a fitting tribute to these often forgotten women, and I felt extremely moved. I then took myself on a self-drive tour of Augusta before heading to Jewel Cave for the afternoon tour.

Jewel Cave is magnificent – the largest of Western Australian Show Caves.  There are over 500 steps to the bottom of the cave 42 metres down, through the most amazing Karst landscape imaginable – all types of stalagmite, flow stone, shawls and cave coral.  Some of the longest straw stalactites are in Jewel Cave. The Bridal Veil is incredibly beautiful but to pick a favourite would be impossible – the entire experience and the tour guides’ stories and insight made it a great experience – albeit a challenge getting back up the 500 steps. We were shown a fossil on the floor of the cave and the natural entry (A hole in the ceiling of the cave where a caver lowered himself in and discovered this wonderland)

After Jewel Cave, I went for a drive to Hamelin Bay and on to the Campground at Boranup Forest for the night.

Donnelly River Karri

Donnelly River Karri

Donnelly River

Donnelly River

Donnelly River Vineyards

Donnelly River Vineyards

Augusta Inlet

Augusta Inlet

Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse

Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse

Flinders Bay

Flinders Bay

Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse View

Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse View

Lighthouse Steps

Lighthouse Steps

Lighthouse Keeper's Cottage

Lighthouse Keeper’s Cottage

Two Oceans Meet Information

Two Oceans Meet Information

Water Wheel

Water Wheel

Water Wheel Wooden Flume

Water Wheel Wooden Flume

Historic Water Wheel Information

Historic Water Wheel Information

Jewel Cave Bridal Veil

Jewel Cave Bridal Veil

Jewel Cave Light Show

Jewel Cave Light Show

Jewel Cave Coral

Jewel Cave Coral

Jewel Cave Organ Pipes

Jewel Cave Organ Pipes

Hamelin Bay Sign

Hamelin Bay Sign

Hamelin Bay

Hamelin Bay

Boranup Forest Map

Boranup Forest Map

Advertisements