AugustaOctober 9, 2017 in Australia
Under (more!) grey skies, we headed further south down Caves Road through beautiful towering Karri forests to our next destination - the beachside town of Augusta. We arrived at Flinders Bay Caravan Park to find it virtually empty - a nice change from the last couple of weeks!
The kids were keen to try out some fishing from the beach but the seaweed and rocks got the better of everyone, however they did spot a seal lounging in the rocks! Roy was a bit concerned about it so reported it to the Visitors Centre in town the next day as we headed out to Jewel Cave.
Jewel Cave was the last cave we'd opted to include in our "3 cave pass" and it ended up being our favourite. It was a spectacular cave with numerous chambers and features including a Karri tree root which had wound its way down through 12m of limestone into the cave in search of water and the 450 year old skeleton of an unfortunate possum! Owing to the fact school holidays had finished, we only had one other couple on the guided tour with us and we scored Karen, a super-enthusiastic Scottish guide we'd overheard at Lake Cave. Her knowledge and obvious fascination with all things cave-related really made the tour great - she had the kids (and us!) hooked on her every word! We discovered the history of the cave and saw some amazing formations that we hadn't seen in either of the other 2 caves.
Following the Cave tour, we headed to nearby Hamelin Bay for morning tea and hoped to see some sting rays that frequent the area. The Augusta Visitors Centre had warned us that the water was too cold at the moment and we were unlikely to see any - unfortunately they were right but we did enjoy a windy break on the beach! There was a lookout over the clear water which would be a fabulous ray viewing spot when the conditions were right.
Roy and the kids attempted more fishing in the afternoon (no luck, even with good-fishing-luck-charm Finn with them!) and Jen walked in to town around the inlet and stocked up on some new books for the kids at the secondhand book store (great quality and really cheap!).
On our last morning we headed to Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse. The kids had been nagging to do a lighthouse tour and we figured this was the perfect place to do it - tallest lighthouse on the Australian mainland and a view of where the Southern Ocean meets the Indian Ocean. It was particularly windy (by our standards, not by Cape Leeuwin standards!) but at least there were some patches of blue in the sky. We did the self-guided audio tour around the buildings at the base of the Lighthouse which was interesting and then we joined a guided tour to head up the 176 stairs inside the lighthouse for a great view over the treacherous ocean and headland behind us.
As we headed out of the caravan park towards our next stop, we noticed the Rangers at the beach where we'd seen the seal. We pulled over and were pleased to hear that the seal was in good health, just understandably worn out from its long journey - it was a South Antarctic Fur Seal, more than 5000km from home! Apparently some had also been spotted as far north as Busselton and the Rangers speculated that there must have been some wild weather recently for them to end up this far north.Read more