Tree Top and Caving Adventure in Augusta and Margaret River

Winery at Margaret River

South Western Highway starts from Walpole townsite and continues for a distance of approximately 105 km | 1 h 15 mins, before splitting the road with Vassey Highway on the left.

Depending on your itinerary, if you continue the journey along South Western Highway, the road will lead you to Bunbury townsite. From there, you can travel back to Perth via Forrest Highway and Kwinana Highway.

In this article, we will concentrate our route along Vassey Highway towards Augusta and Margaret River. Before turning into Vassey Highway, we will do a slight diversion towards Manjimup townsite, which both attractions, Diamond Tree and King Jarrah Tree lookout are situated.

Manjimup

Diamond Tree Lookout – the lookout is a short distance drive of 5.9 km | 4 min from the intersection with Vassey Highway on the left side of South Western Highway.

Diamond Tree is an old 51m Karri Tree, which has a wooden cabin built on the top to use as a fire lookout on the region since 1941 to 1973. The tree is pegged with 130 metal pegs, which visitors can climb all the way up to the wooden cabin for a view on the surrounding.

The climbing can be challenging for some and definitely not for the faint of heart. There is no handle on the side of the metal pegs, so you will need to grab on to the metal pegs to make your way up.

King Jarrah Lookout – situated within Manjimup townsite, the lookout is another short drive from Diamond Tree Lookout via South Western Highway, follows by a right turn into Perup Road. Total time taken is 13.6 km | 12 min.

There are picnics, parking lot and toilet facilities around the area. The trail is only 650m long and suitable for all ages and disabled to explore the Jarrah Forest, particularly the 500 – 600 years old King Jarrah, being the centre of attractions.

Pemberton

Located 35.8 km | 27 min from Manjimup, Pemberton, a small “green” town along Vassey Highway, is surrounded by towering Karri Forest.

Gloucester National Park on the south of the town, renowned the famous Gloucester Tree. It is located 2.9 km | 5 min from the townsite via Burma Road.

Gloucester Tree Lookout – standing at a height of 72m, it is the second-tallest fire lookout in the world.

Same as Diamond Tree Lookout, the only way to go in is by the metal stairs pegged into the tree. For safety reason, the wooden cabin on the top is demolished in 1973 and replaced with a steel and aluminium material. The view from the top is magnificent but the climb needs a lot of courage especially when some of the section is almost vertical and narrow.

Gloucester Tree at Gloucester National Park
Gloucester Tree at Gloucester National Park

Beedelup Falls – situated in Beedelup National Park along Old Vassey Road, west of Pemberton via Vassey Highway (19.5 km | 16 min).

Beedelup Falls is a small rock-cascade waterfall, which is part of the 4.5km loop trail. The platform on the top of the waterfall offers a top-down view of the water cascades to the bottom. The rest of the trail meadows through thick Karri Forest and eventually leads back to the starting point.

From Augusta to Margaret River

Located on the furthest south-west corner of Western Australia, the town is the gateway to Cape Leeuwin, which the Indian Ocean meets the Southern.

During June to September, migrating Humpback Whales and Southern-sided Whale can be spotted along Flinders Bay. Besides, the town also has some of the most pristine beaches, which are suitable for swimming, fishing and diving.

A short drive to the north of the town lies the Jewel Cave and Hamelin Bay.

Jewel Cave – 8.3 km | 7 min drive along Bussell Highway, follows by Caves Road on the left and second left turn along Jewel Caves Road.

Of all the 130 limestones caves in the region, only 40% has been developed and open to the public. Being one of the largest cave in Australia, Jewel Cave housed the largest straw stalactite with a height of 580cm and numerous interesting crystalline formation such as the Organ Pipe and Frozen Waterfall.

Jewel Cave near Margaret River
Frozen Waterfalls at Jewel Cave near Margaret River

The cave is well-lid with the soft orange spotlights with safety handle secured beside the walking platform to prevent any accidents.

The walk starts by descending down a long and narrow tunnel, before reaching the first giant cavern, which the guide will provide a brief introduction to the rest of the tour. One interest discovery about the tour is the history about how an ancient Tasmanian Tiger has fallen and trapped in the cave until its fossil is discovered.

The new Jewel Cave Preservation Centre outside the cave offers facilities such as a cafe, retail and a visual educational area which visitors can learn more about the history of the cave and its surrounding.

Single Entry to Jewel Cave:
Adult – AUD22.50
Children – AUD12.00

Tickets can be purchased at the entry of the cave; Margaret River, Augusta, Busselton or Dunsborough visitor centre.

Hamelin Bay – Further north of Jewel Cave lies the Hamelin Bay, which can be reached by continue Northward along Caves Road, follows by a left turn into Hamelin Bay Road. Total time taken is 11 km | 12 min.

Hamelin bay is a bay between Cape Leeuwin and Cape Naturaliste. Every year, many visitors will come to the bay, where friendly Sting Rays can be spotted swimming in the shallow water waiting to be fed.

Hamelin Bay near Margaret River
Hamelin Bay near Margaret River

Summer will be one of the best seasons as the water is calm and crystal clear. You can still try your luck during Winter, but the sea will be rougher and difficult to spot them.

Although the Sting Rays can be friendly, please be mindful that they are still wild animals. Do not attempt to harm or provoke them, as their tail spines are venomous. A gentle pat on their body or allow them to swim under your feet should provide you with enough close encounters with this gentle beast. Best of all, you do not need to pay a single cent for such an experience.

Lake Cave – a stunning wonderland with a big chamber sits at the bottom of a huge circular crater. It is the home to the infamous “suspended table”, which consists of two columns weighing several tonnes, supporting the crystal formation and hanging from the ceiling to few centimetre above the permanent lake.

Lake Cave near Margaret River
Lake Cave near Margaret River

While inside, the geographical history of the cave will be explained by the guide. There will also a light show that will showcase some of the cave’s delicate features.

Outside the cave, Lake Cave Teahouse provides a quick meal or snack, before you continue the journey to your next destination.

Lake Cave can be reached from Hamelin Bay for a short drive via Caves Road, 23 km | 20 min.

Single Entry to Lake Cave:
Adult – AUD22.50
Children – AUD12.00

Tickets can be purchased at the entry of the cave; Margaret River, Augusta, Busselton or Dunsborough visitor centre.

Mammoth Cave – located 2.6 km | 2 min in Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, the cave can be reached from Lake Cave via Cave Road.

It is one of the most easily accessible self-guided cave, which disabled in wheelchairs are able to enter the cave until the first chamber.

Visitors are allowed to wander around the cave using the designated platforms. Player and headset will be provided to explain the history and geology of the cave.

Mammoth Cave is also one of the few caves in the region, which fossil deposits still can be found.

Single Entry to Lake Cave:
Adult – AUD22.50
Children – AUD12.00

Tickets can be purchased at the entry of the cave; Margaret River, Augusta, Busselton or Dunsborough visitor centre.

Beyond Margaret River

Located North of Margaret River in the Yallingup Region are two attractions, which are worthwhile to visit, before calling it a day in Margaret River.

Injidup Natural Spa – if you are craving for a  relaxing dip in the pool, Injidup Natural Spa is definitely a must, after a long day drive.

Injidup Natural Spa
Injidup Natural Spa

Injidup Natural Spa can be reached from Mammoth Cave by driving northward along Caves Road, follows by a left turn onto Wyadup Road until the end of the road. The spa is situated along Cape to Cape Track on a small and unsealed footpath on the left. Total time taken is 48.7 km | 38 min.

Canal Rocks – Part of Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, Canal Rocks are a series of granites that extends out into the Indian Ocean, with the channel of canals formed by the strong force of the sea.

From the parking lot, the timber boardwalk meanders among the rocks which will lead to a bridge.
From here, you can experience the power of nature with strong waves crashing viciously on the rocks and flows under the bridge. Along the boardwalk, marine creatures such as crabs and starfish can also be found in little pools formed between rocks.

Canal Rocks Yallingup
Canal Rocks Yallingup

Although the boardwalk ends on the bridge, walking on the rocks are still possible. However, do not take nature for granted. Be mindful that the waves might turn strong at any time, so standing near the edges are strongly not advisable.

Canal Rocks can be reached from Injidup Natural Spa by turning left into Caves Road, off Wyadup Road, follows by a left turn onto Canal Rocks Road. Total time taken is 10.3 km | 11 min.

Margaret River

A small town, known for its breweries and wineries, it is situated 14.4 km | 13 min from Mammoth Cave, along Bussell Highway.

Margaret River offers numerous accommodations, which is a perfect place to stay for a day or so, and spend time tasting different type of wines every day, before heading back to Perth.

 

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