View Full Version : Enter the Cave

Mad Aussie
06-16-2009, 04:56 AM
While on our recent trip to Western Australia we visited a Limestone Cave at a place called Yallingup. The 'up' in Yallingup is typical of many towns names in this region and is Aboriginal for 'Place of Water.'
Below is some shots I took (no tripods allowed so slow shutter and flash had to suffice) within the Ngilgi Cave.


The Story Of Ngilgi

Ngilgi Cave is associated with a rich Aboriginal legend describing a battle between a good and an evil spirit. The local Wardandi people tell the story as:

Ngilgi, a good warrior spirit, lived near the sea and Wolgine, an evil spirit, lived in the cave.

Concerned for the welfare of his people, Ngilgi gathered together the spirits of the waves, lightning, rain, thunder and wind and they created a huge storm. Ngilgi attacked Wolgine and he gradually drove Wolgine back through the cave. So fierce was the battle that a tunnel collapsed, cutting the cave off from the sea.

The collapsed tunnel can still be seen today as a deep gully a short distance from the cave. Eventually Wolgine was driven up through the earth creating the present entrance.

Wolgine was banished from the cave and Ngilgi claimed it as his own thus the cave became known as Ngilgis Nurilem (cave).


A solitary figure is lowered into the pitch black of a dank, mysterious underworld. For the first time light penetrates the dark of an environment formed over eons to reveal beautiful shapes and formations.

We can only imagine how that lone figure must have felt and that experience in 1899 proved to be the catalyst for the beginning of formalised tourism in the South West of Western Australia.

So taken was he with his find that Edward Dawson began to set in motion plans to open the cave to the public. The caverns at Yallingup were opened for public inspection in 1900.

There are a number of stories of how Yallingup Cave was found. The most common story tells of how Edward Dawson was out looking for stray horses and came upon the present entrance, curiosity got the better of him and the next day he returned with two friends, who assisted with the initial exploration on October 11, 1899.

Edward Dawson began conducting tours through the cave in 1900 and served as its head guide until 1937. The popularity of the tours conducted by Dawson resulted in the establishment of the Caves Hotel in 1905.

In 1903, Yallingup Cave was the first cave in Western Australia to have electric lights installed. It has been the site of two world cave sitting records, numerous weddings and it is believed that Dame Nellie Melba gave a concert before she went on to become a world famous opera singer.

This is my mate Phil descending down a steep section into a chamber below ...

Here's my wife Leanne standing on a balcony looking down into the Grand Chamber I think it was called ...

The ceiling above her

Leanne squeezes through a narrow section elsewhere in the cave system

Some of the stunning Stalactites and Stalagmites


more shortly ...

Mad Aussie
06-16-2009, 04:57 AM








06-16-2009, 07:08 AM
:clap:Wonderful series! Too cool! Photos are wonderful, absolutley love the colors in them and no tripod!!!

I am going underground in the mine on Sunday. Any tips for the underworld? :)

06-16-2009, 09:29 AM
Very nice work MA especially given the no tripod rule. Nice variety. Shot 6 in post 2 is my fave of the lot.

06-16-2009, 10:15 AM

Mad Aussie
06-16-2009, 02:36 PM
Thanks folks.
I mentioned these caves in my 'Fly with me ...' thread but then forgot to process these ones and include them.

Marko ... that shot you like is called the Jewellery Box and is a hole in the wall that leads into another small chamber. The hole is too small to fit through and the chamber is also only the size of the interior of a car I guess. Kinda cool.

Kat ... yes ... if someone pinches your bum in the darkness ... it WASN'T an accident no matter how much they tell it was! Don't go down there with someone who has just eaten a meal of beans and cabbage either. :rolleyes:

06-16-2009, 04:29 PM
Very cool! I concur with Marko on shot 6 although they are all very nice!

06-17-2009, 01:56 AM
Amazing formations. We payed a visit to Linville Caverns in the hills of North Carolina this past fall. I was totally awe struck.

Did'ja see any blind fish?

Mad Aussie
06-17-2009, 01:59 AM
Amazing formations. We payed a visit to Linville Caverns in the hills of North Carolina this past fall. I was totally awe struck.

Did'ja see any blind fish?
Ah no. No water in this cave. Barely any air. I forget the what the CO2 readings were but they monitor them closely and I can tell they aren't enough to get a decent gulp of air. It's seriously hard work walking around in there.

06-17-2009, 11:19 AM
Looks like it would have been a cool adventure, nice shots too.

Mad Aussie
06-17-2009, 02:34 PM
Thank you A.L