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Talk about enjoying breakfast with a view of the stunning Gnarabup Beach! This little cafe had terrific views to the north of the world‐famous Surfers Point. It was here that our friends, Cory and Jasmine from Augusta Margaret River Tourism Association, joined us for a scrumptious breakfast. Beachfront dining in the Margaret River region does not get any better than this popular local hotspot.
Gnarabup Beach is a well protected beach that provides a safe swimming area for all the family and there are spectacular rocky outcrops and some long stretches of white sand. This is a picturesque area where varying surf breaks form depending on weather conditions. Located 12 kilometres from the town of Margaret River, Gnarabup Beach is only four hours drive south west of Perth.
The first diners this nice morning at White Elephant together with Cory and Jasmine
Set at the end of a beach along the cerulean blue shores of Gnarabup Bay, this charming community cafe is the hangout place of the locals. We see many early risers, some jogging along the pedestrian path and some on the beach, and others already in the sea getting a full body workout!
Run by the same owners as Margaret River’s renowned Gnarabar, White Elephant Beach Cafe keeps the standard high with its gourmet breakfast and lunch menus. This place serves everything from buttermilk pancakes, bagels with egg and bacon, to open-style omelettes, antipasto plates, Asian inspired salads, beef burgers and much more.
snorkeling in the cold water.. brrrr ! We were told that to the locals, this time of year is considered warm!
another swimmer done with his workout
A cold morning, hot cooked food with natural Aussie produce and great company provides a breakfast of champions with champions. Looking at the pictures below just makes me want to return back to the cafe right now.
When dining near seagulls, you have to watch over your food. A diner sitting near us almost lost his breakfast to a scavenging seagull when he got up to get coffee at the cafe counter. Fortunately, the rest of the diners around who were already watching the opportunistic seagulls had chased away the one who almost got the prize.
Beware opportunistic seagull.. cute but a lightning fast scavenger! Watch your food or it will be gone in a flash!
A beautiful morning, delicious breakfast, wonderful beach.. hmm.. we could live here
Cute pugs waiting for their master to get back from buying coffee
The White Elephant Cafe – Prevelly Park
Margaret River, WA, 6285
Tel: +61 8 9757 1990
Contact: Anthony Janssen, Owner
Once we were done with breakfast we headed back to Vintages Motel, to meet our masseuses for our Body Bliss Massage experience. This trip had been rush everywhere and having the opportunity rub away the aches was definitely welcomed.
Cumi needing his workout, gets some exercise with Dirty Detours after breakfast.
My massage session turned out to be the ultimate in spa indulgence – there is an extensive range of therapies available, all of which are superb, so you can just take your pick. The spa totally de-stressed me and this form of natural pampering and holistic treatments in the privacy of your own room is really just so good, for lazy people like me. After experiencing a Body Bliss massage or treatment you will feel completely relaxed, rejuvenated and radiating from the inside out.Add: Body Bliss Massage Tel: +61 409 602 547
Contact: Sonya Dorant, Owner operator
After the spa, we were off to feed the animals at Sunflowers Animal Farm. At the farm, a huge selection of both farm and native animals could be seen, patted and fed – you just needed to purchase the animal feed from the main entrance on your way in. The animals were lovely – really friendly and all just wanting to be petted and fed! Sunflowers Animal Farm also provided the option for a Farm-stay for those who absolutely love animals and want to stay in amongst the ‘ action’.
hewo lil wabbit!
ciki-dolittle, feeds and talks to the animals!
If not for the hood, the pony might have been freaked out by this overly overjoyed lil fat munkeyAdd: Sunflowers Animal Farm
5561 Caves Road
Margaret River WA 6285
Tel: +61 8 9757 3343
Contact: Debbie Jones, Owner operator
We scoffed down a quick lunch, and then it was time to head on out to do some hardcore caving and trekking. Cape to Cape Explorer Tours is relatively a new business but it is certainly making its mark having already won a swag of tourism awards. These Margaret River‐based nature specialists provide a wide range of services for hikers on the Cape to Cape Track – highly regarded as one of the best hiking experiences in Australia.
We met our first guide, Drew McKenzie, who was a biologist turned tourism operator. He led us on a short coastal walk along the magnificent Contos Ridge where we were greeted by this amazing view of the coast (ok, all the beaches here have amazing views and this one no less). While we marveled, Drew prepared a platter of grapes, cheese and crackers plus some fresh orange juice to wash it down. At this point, Drew briefed us on the ecology of the bushland and the afternoon’s program.
As you walk along the coast, the views are of alternating rugged granite headlands, sheer limestone cliffs and long stretches of wild, sandy beaches backed by extensive dune systems. The two main rock types of which the ridge is made are vastly different in form and age. The basement of the Ridge is a combination of granite, gneiss and other hard, metamorphic rocks, which are between 150 – 600 million years old.
We backtracked then began our tour into the scenic bush in the direction to Giants Cave.
One of the delights of walking the Cape to Cape Track is the variety of vegetation through which you pass. Rather than simply following the coast all the way, the Track loops inland in several places, taking you over the ridge and through different types of woodland and forest. Dense coastal heath dominates the windswept, western slopes. Pink pimelea, yellow buttercups (Hibbertia sp.) and wattles (Acacia sp.), blue fan-flower (Scaevola sp.), white beard-heaths (Leucopogon sp.) and red cockies’ tongues (Templetonia retusa) are just a few of the common flowers of the heathland. Woody species such as Rottnest tea-tree (Melaleuca lanceolata) and peppermint (Agonis flexuosa) may be pruned to less than a metre on exposed sites, but grow into tall shrubs or trees in gullies and sheltered locations.
On the sheltered, eastern side of the ridge, the country is more wooded with jarrah-marri(Eucalyptus marginata and Corymbia calophylla) mixed with sheoak (Allocasuarina fraseriana) woodland common in the northern half, and magnificent karri (Eucalyptus diversicolor) forest in the south. Sandy heathland on the east side of the ridge may be dominated by holly-leaved banksia (B. ilicifolia) or candle banksia (B. attenuata) and sheoak. Peppermint forms thickets or open groves all along the ridge, while bullich (Eucalyptus megacarpa) and yate (E. cornuta) are plentiful in some areas. Drew shows us a certain peppermint plant that can keep the bugs away if you rub it on your body.
The entire trek and caving runs would run for about 4 hours however 40 minutes into our walk, the overcast weather turned gloomy and soon began to drizzle. It was starting to get fun.. however for our safety and comfort from a heavier rainfall and lightning, Drew decided we should head back to the car to be transported to the cave.
After the track, it is time to meet our next guide, Gene Hardy, who will lead us into the depths of a legendary cave, known as Giants Cave.
There are over 300 known caves in our southwest. One of these is the amazing Giants Cave. This cave is found in the Boranup Forest, near Witchcliffe. It is located on Caves Road, and has been on records going back to the year 1900. Giants cave is one of the largest and deepest caves on the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge at 575 meters long and 86 meters deep. The Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge, is a belt of granite and limestone.
At the beginning of the cave you enter into a large 100 meter wide doline, a large crater formed by the collapse of the cave roof. Giants Cave’s doline (entrance) is very impressive with two large Karri trees growing inside this bowl like structure.
Gene comes over to meet us and to start the caving expedition with us
Deep, deep down we go, into the cave’s jaws we go. Will we come out alive? Gene says, it depends on our survival skills and how good we are, getting through “tight” spots. We are not quite sure what he means, but we nod our heads anyway.
The cave is approached via a spectacular doline entrance with a diameter of approximately 100 m. A doline is a crater formed by the collapse of a cave roof. The doline at Giants Cave was formed thousands of years ago. Entry from the doline into the cave proper is via a long, steep flight of steps. On the descent into this “twilight zone”, the effect of water and light can be seen on the ceiling above, where the combination of algal growth and calcite deposits has created natural sculptures of various colours and textures.
As you can imagine there are thousands of breathtakingly beautiful stalagmites, stalagmites, straws, and shawls. Unlike the Jewel cave, this one was really for the true cavers – no fancy lightings nor pristine platforms/railings to keep you from falling. Way more hardcore.
Strange markings on the ground resulting from bacteria?
Yet deeper we go..
Soon after entering the cave the path goes deep underneath Caves Road. The marked trail negotiates a rockpile and descends to the ‘Ballroom’ — a spectacular chamber, 40 metres long and with a flat sandy floor. This was once a stream bed, and when the water diverted away from the cave, the floor was coated with a fine layer of calcite deposit. Unfortunately, it was so fragile that it could not withstand the careless stomping of decades of thoughtless adventurers, and this delicate dusting of fine crystals has now been obliterated.
Here is the “Ballroom”, a large 70 meter chamber with sand for it’s floor. We sat in darkness when Gene, killed the lights for 10 minutes. He told us to just listen to the sound of “nothingness”. Many of us could not, and kept chatting to fill the uncomfortable silence. Kind of like in life, I suppose. Which of us is truly at ease with silence?
Ciki leads the way..
After the Ballroom you must climb vertical ladders and squeeze through some narrow space to lead you into the next area, “Arborite Chamber”, where you can easily see large calcified tree roots suspended from the roof. Then the serious adventure begins. The passages narrow substantially, and we end up having to squeeze through narrow spaces and go up ladders which were narrow and steep. Talk about being caught between a rock and a hard place. But even the largest of us, managed to pull through without turning back. We got dusty and dirty and enjoyed every minute of it. Caving is exhilarating! You must try it!
Large tyke on a bike manages to squeeze through the tiniest holes.. amazingly nibble for his size and height!
Down the rope she goes..
and up through the smallest opening..
Till at last, we emerge victorious!
Giants Cave is, for many people, the most exciting and challenging cave they will experience. The sense of adventure is matched only by the sense of achievement on emerging at the other end. Thanks Gene and Drew for a most amazing adventure!Add:
Cape to Cape Explorer Tours
Meet at Giants Cave car park, Caves Road, Map J4
Tel: +61 459 452 038
Contact: Drew & Alison Mckenzie and Gene Hardy, Owners
Next up, we near the end of our road trip in Margaret River, but not before we visit, Margaret River Providore, the lush vineyards of of Vasse Felix, Cullen wines, Knee Deep wines, and our last stop before Perth, Busselton Jetty!
The Story Thus Far: