My husband and I did a recent short trip to Margaret River for 3 days 2 nights weekend stay. We booked our hotel quite last minute and managed to reserve a room at Quality Inn. Our short journey began at 9am after collecting our rented car through Budget. Our first stop on the 3 hours drive was at Busselton and we stopped by the beachside area to refill our stomach at Equinox Fish and Chips. After our quick lunch, I took some shots after lunch of the famous Busselton Jetty and then we continued our journey to Margaret River, which was another one hour drive.
As our journey took us closer to Margaret River, we passed by a little town called Cowaramup and most shops around here takes on the “Cow” theme – be it the name of the shop, the products/services etc. As we drove slightly further into the town our first stop was at Millers Ice Cream cafe. There was no one around when we arrived (we suspected the weather was too cold to have ice cream for the local folks) so we practically had the entire place to ourselves.
There were aplenty of ice cream flavours to choose from, starting with the usual suspects like Strawberry, Chocolate, Vanilla to funky flavours like Panna Cota, Mango Coconut, Rum & Raisins, Wild Berries, Salted Caramel etc. The lady was refilling the Salted Caramel tub when we arrived so immediately I picked the flavour, while hubby chose the Wild Berries instead. Personally I like hubby’s Wild Berries better as the berries flavour was subtly sourish and contrasted the rich velvety creamy ice cream very well. I find the Salted Caramel laced ice cream wasn’t as salty nor sweet as I wanted it but it paired well when eaten together with the Wild Berries one.
After our little ice cream break, we continued our journey and finally reached Margaret River in the next 20 minutes or so. We checked into our rooms at Quality Inn and did a quick freshen up before hitting the road again. Our plan was to go for a cave hike before the sun goes down. Looking at our choices, the nearest to the town was either Mammoth or Lake Cave, which is approximately 30 minutes drive down south through Caves Road. We decided to go with Mammoth Cave as it was a self-guided tour rather than a fixed time as we have missed the hourly interval of the guided tour for Lake Cave.
The entry fee to Mammoth Cave was $22 each person, and we were given a mp3 player with headphones to listen along the way when hiking in the cave. We were explained that the cave walk could be a quick 30 minutes or up to an hour if we stop at each of the numbered junction and listen closely to the recorded information – which we had to enter the number on the mp3 player to playback the recordings for that junction.
Being a first timer on a cave hike, it was really an interesting and eye opening experience for me. Mammoth cave is well-lit with lots of dim lights along the crooks and nooks of the stalactites and stalagmites. It felt rather chilly inside the cave and water was still flowing through the mini streams on the bed of the cave. There was also water droplets from the ceiling as we walked along the really narrow staircase built inside the cave. There was this formation of stalagmites which really caught my attention (picture below) as it looked like a holy statue sitting on on a lotus position, quietly meditating.
Mammoth cave as explained, was a great discovery which uncovered many ancient fossil remains of extinct megafauna when it was first discovered in the early early 1900. As we continue walking there was other interesting formations but because the cave was too dark I did not attempt to take shots where I needed to use flash as it would have ruined the mysterious silhouettes of the rock formation. I even caught a glimpse of this birdlike fossil foot print on one of the stone in the darkness except it was 4 toes, not 3 (like a bird’s). Can you see me making my way out of the cave in the picture below?
To exit the cave we had to go back halfway using the same route as we entered the cave except turn into the exit route. The exit route had lesser staircases and we had to walk through wetter grounds. Exiting the cave was a magnificent view itself – very much like in the movies where the ray of sunlight pierced through the thick walls, giving life to a long journey of still air and fearful darkness.
After we had exited the cave hike we had a choice of either a 200m walk through the car park area or via a 700m walk through Marri forest. We decided the latter as we felt a little more adventurous after the cave hike. The forest trail was a long walk among the bush and we came across this gigantic thousand, if not hundred years old tree that had a lot of markings and carving of names left by previous hikers. Poor old tree that had become the object of vandalism!
On our way back to the city centre, we took a quick detour to Hamelin Bay but the weather had quickly turned gloomy and super windy. Sadly to say we didn’t manage to see any sting rays as planned as the waves were building up and getting notorious. Sorry, no magical sunset romantic walk, rather a quick run for our lives and to save my camera from being showered upon.
After Hamelin bay we went back to the hotel to rest our tired bodies after a long day. And that was it, the end of day one. I will share the itinerary for day two in my next post. Stay tune!