This is such a lovely part of Australia, literally full of hidden jewels. And one such gem is actually called the Jewell Cave.
Now I haven’t been game to go down under the ground, let along into a cave for a very long time, not since the Waitomo Glow-worm caves as a child in NZ and then in my twenties when a group of us skittled down an Austrian salt mine on a wheeled trolley!
So it actually took a bit of nerve to go into the Jewell Cave, but I am so glad I made the effort as it was very special.
Ours was a mixed group, an American couple with two young children who were enthralled by the whole experience, and another three older couples – and me.
Our guide assured us that the CO2 levels had been tested first thing in the morning and that the cave was ‘breathing in’ and the CO2 levels were very low. This particular cave is a million years old; there are no living things there like insects or animals as there is nothing for them to eat. Apparently the bones of a Tasmanian tiger were found in the cave and the poor animal had supposedly fallen down into the cave through a hole in the ground, and, not being able to find anything to eat, had perished.
So down the 250 steps we all went, stopping at each viewing platform on the way to take photos and admire the crystal formations. We had been told beforehand that we were not allowed to touch any of the crystals as even the moisture from a hand could damage them.
There used to be a deep pool of water right at the very bottom of the cave but because the cave is so dry the water eventually disappeared.
The trip back up the 250 steps was not so easy and a few of us had to stop half way and catch our breath.
After emerging from the depths of the Jewell Cave I drove on towards Margaret River where I stopped for lunch. This part of Australia overflows with national parks and trees. There have been fires in this area and in some parts many of the trees are showing signs of having been burnt and the re-growth looks quite eerie; a mix of blackened tree trunks, brown leaves and then green foilage.
Margaret River was bustling with tourists. It’s the end of the school holidays here in WA so the roads were busy today with people making their way back home.
Continued to Bunbury and booked into my place for the weekend. It’s a little one bedroom house in Withers and is very well set up. First thing I did was unload Bluebird and do some washing. I now need to sort the car out properly so that I’m not bringing in excess bags each time I stop for the night.
It was great to catch up with Val again. We met in Broome five years ago when we stayed in the same resort.
Val is a nurse at the hospital in Bunbury and her daughter Amanda lives with her. Both care for Amanda’s son, 12 year-old Toby who is high-functioning Autistic – and to her immense credit, Amanda home-schools him.
They are all Vegans and Val cooked exactly what she promised – a very tasty and delicious stir fry and we spent a few lovely hours reminiscing.
It was actually the first time I had driven in the dark since leaving Melbourne as I have only been driving in daylight hours, and not knowing where I was going was a tad difficult. Thank goodness for Gertie, my faithful GPS.
Also, there was a motorcyclist in front of me with P plates who didn’t have his lights on – so dangerous.
I spent two days in Bunbury which has a beautiful harbour and beach. The weather has also been nice and warm – high twenties.