Lake Cave


Useful Information

Location: Caves Road & Conto Rd, Forest Grove, WA 6285.
5 km north of Augusta on Caves Road.
(-34.078939, 115.029316)
Open: All year daily 9-17.
Tours 9:30-16, every 30 minutes.
Closed 25-DEC.
[2022]
Fee: Adults AUD 22.50, Children (4-16) AUD 11.50, Seniors AUD 20.
[2022]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave Speleologyriver cave.
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: VR=62 m, T=20 °C.
Lake Chamber: L=80 m.
Guided tours: D=60 min, MinAge=4, Min=2.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:  
Address: Your Margaret River Region, 100 Bussell Highway, Margaret River WA 6285, Tel: +61-8-9757-7411. E-mail:
Lake Cave, Caves Road & Conto Rd, Forest Grove, WA 6285.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

1867 entrance doline first recorded by Fanny Bussell.
1890 the narrow opening to the cave found.
1901 wooden staircase built to allow public access to the doline floor.
1924 stream passage blocked and cave flooded, tunnel built to release the floodwater.
1941 cave flooded again.

Description

The Lake Cave has many pure white limestone formations reflecting in the still waters of an underground stream. The entrance is on the ground of a KarstDoline A wooden staircase with 300 steps allows access to the bottom of the doline, passing giant karri trees and ferns. Inside the cave is huge cave lake which is crossed on wooden planks with a handrail on one side. At the end of the tour the visitors have to walk back up the many steps of the wooden stair.

Lake Cave is sometimes said to be the most beautiful cave of Australia. The speleothems are exceptional but the cave is rather small. The single most extraordinary speleothem is the suspended table, a huge plate of calcite with a size of some 10m². It once formed as a layer of calcite on the floor, at the foot of two massive columns. Later the material below was transported away and the columns are now holding the plate in the air, 20 cm above the surface of the cave lake.

Francis Bussell, called Fanny, was the sixteen-year-old daughter of the pioneer Alfred Bussell. In 1867, she discovered the Lake Cave entrance while out searching for cattle and reported the discovery to her family. It seems her story was not taken serious, and so it took 25 years until her brother John Bussell, Tim Connelly and others finally explored the cave. They used a rope to climb down 15 m into the doline and found a narrow opening on the floor leading into the cave. They waded through the cave lake in semi darkness, with a little light from the entrance and lanterns. Ten years later, in 1901, a wooden staircase was built to allow public access to the doline floor. The show cave was called Queen of the Earth.

In 1924, after bushfires torrential rain occurred and caused heavy run-off into the doline. The result was a rock and soil subsidence which blocked the stream passage and flooded the cave. It was necessary to construct a tunnel to release the floodwater, which took seven months. In 1941 the cave was flooded again but the water drained through this tunnel in less than three days.

Lake Cave is the location of CaveWorks, a speleological museum which calls itself eco-centre. The museum has a true size cave model, interactive multimedia displays, a crawl for kids, and a caves documentary shown regularly. It was created by the former Augusta/Margaret River Caves organization which was renamed CaveWorks. Today it is operated by the Augusta-Margaret River Tourism Association.