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Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Grand Margaret River Adventure - Jewels of Nature

Jewel Cave

The Margaret River region in Perth, Australia, is an extravaganza in natural scenic sites. With the region abundant in food resources of all types, it is only expected to encounter a view of nature that is unsurpassed elsewhere in the world. We were blessed to receive complimentary tickets from the Augusta Margaret River Tourism Board to visit one of the prized gems of the region - Jewel Cave. Australia's Southwest website describes the cave in this manner:

Jewel Cave is Western Australia’s largest tourism cave. Hidden in the beautiful Karri forest of the Leeuwin Naturaliste Ridge, about 37 kilometres south of Margaret River and nine kilometres north of Augusta, this cave sinks to a reachable depth of 42 metres and is 1.9 kilometres long. Only 40 per cent of the cave has been developed for tourism and the journey for the visitor is spectacular. Jewel has giant formations and little natural light. The first descent down a long, narrow tunnel which opens at the top of the first giant cavern makes for a breathtaking introduction to the rest of the tour. Jewel Cave gives one the sensation of being under the ocean without the water. It has a soft golden glow and the sheer magnitude of its formations dwarfs its visitors. This cave has one of the longest straw stalactites found in any tourist cave in the world, measuring 580 centimetres.
A magnificent sight of the cave greets all who enter.
Some of these rock formations have their origins from thousands of years ago.
This was the original entrance that the first explorers first descended into in 1958. 
The enormity of the cave can blow your mind away just by its immenseness.
Stalactites.
You can see how the stalactites form over thousands of years. 
The "underground waterfall". 
The beauty of the rock formations lies in its intricacy and uniqueness.
Rock art!
The same scene, but under green light.
The rocks are striated and made up of different mineral compositions. 
Jewel Cave comprises several large caverns, each with different
interesting formations.
Our little family of explorers.
The 4yo bravely walked the entire journey with Daddy!
Here is our little one climbing and exploring on his own!
One for the road!

Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse

The Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse is one of the grandest in the region. Located at the southwesternmost tip of the Australian continent, the lighthouse boasts of gorgeous views from all around. The lighthouse's website provides this fascinating information about its history:

Historic Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse is situated at the most south westerly tip of Australia, standing at the point where the Indian and Southern Oceans meet - 8 kilometres west of Augusta. With a stunning blue backdrop of the ocean meeting the sky the lighthouse appears to glow in white splendour during summer, whilst during winter the awesome force of the fierce Southern Ocean and powerful Indian Ocean crashing against the Cape makes your visit a unique, awesome and contrasting experience year round.

A famous maritime landmark and important meteorological site from which data is collected, the tower stands 39 metres high from ground level and 56 metres above sea level. Its piercing beam, which has an intensity of one million candles, shines over the surrounding rugged sea and landscape for 26 nautical miles or 48 kilometres. 

Cape Leeuwin on which the lighthouse stands is also the start point for the Cape to Cape Track. Nearby is also the Old Waterwheel, a wooden water wheel that once supplied water to the lighthouse from a fresh water spring in the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge. The water wheel has now calcified from the lime in the water, and although the wheel no longer turns, water still trickles over the structure, as fresh as the day the water wheel was first erected.
The lighthouse is an imposing sight from afar.
It's truly amazing that the lighthouse is still working after
more than a hundred years!
Our 4yo at the bottom of the 176 stairs. He walked up every step on his own!
Lighthouse keepers needed to walk up and down these spiral staircases regularly.
The piece de resistance of the lighthouse.
View from the top. These are the lighthouse keepers' cottages.
Mummy and son at the top.
This is the view of the large lighthouse light from the exterior.
Having a wild time!
Lovely ocean view from the top of the lighthouse.
Gorgeous views of the Australian coastline.
Enjoying time at Cape Leeuwin.
It was a rather chilly day, but the 4yo still kept his smiles for the camera.
Artistic shot of the Lim Family.

Kong Kong & Mama with Z. 
The grand Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse
Situated at the southwesternmost part of Australia, the lighthouse has the distinction of being at the tip of two oceans!
The humble lighthouse keepers' cottage. In those days life along the coast was remote and possibly lonely.
Moo!
2yos are not allowed up the lighthouse. The boy finally got some time with Mummy.
Sundown at Cape Leeuwin.
As the evening sun slowly made its way towards the horizon, we packed ourselves back into the car, for a long drive back north along the Margaret River region. What a splendid day it was for us! With the wind in our faces and the sun at our backs; we were truly having an adventure of a lifetime!


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