Fresh from our journey through the Oondiri Caves and not far from our discovery of the Mole Creek Caves (upcoming in the free on-line mag’ RV Daily), our mind is still focused and fascinated with the Limestone Karsts of Aus’. As such, knowing that Western Australia’s SW region has large Limestone Karsts in their own right, the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Karst and the Swan Coastal Plain in particular, we started to take a good look around Perth where we are now stationed for a month or two.
Australian Karst Regions
•Cutta Cutta Caves Nature Park and Kintore Caves Conservation Reserve, Katherine, Northern Territory
•Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, near Margaret River, south west Western Australia
•Northern Swan Coastal Plain, Perth, Western Australia
This was how we made our discovery of Crystal Cave, and the caves of the Yanchep National Park, just 100 clicks north of Perth. We very much enjoy Aussie National Parks, they are a celebration in nature and we find each time we spend time in any State, we find ourselves arranging those nifty National Parks Passes, to access these wild places and enjoy the inevitable, wonderful camps they harbour for travellers.
Yanchep National park is no exception in this, however it is undoubtably exceptional. So close to Perth, it offers the ideal visiting and holidaying location. The travellers camp is spartan but generous. It is not a caravan park style camp site (thank goodness) but it does offer spartan showers, toilets and water facilities however being self contained is a huge advantage. The cost of the camp reflects this in that it is only $10 pp per day. This seems to be a common price but unfortunately it prices itself out for families with 3 or 4 kids which is the greatest of shame for the park is wonderful for families. National Parks really do need to look at their pricing scales and have more empathy for families with kids. Maybe a schedule free for children under 12ys would be more appropriate.
We have learnt a great deal during our travels about Limestone Karst’s and their magnificent caves which are born of their very existence. Australia is the only country where our limestone caves are built by subterranean water movement, ie it is the water table, its movement and emergence onto land and its path back into the subterranean depths that builds the most magnificent caves. Most of the worlds limestone caves are built by monsoonal flows or other surface water flows in that they have ‘river basins’, unlike Aus which has primarily subterranean water basins. Elsewhere, river flow drops down into the earth to meet the subterranean rivers. This produces some of the most magnificent of caves, such as can be found in Asia.
Australia though is an ancient land and largely flat as a tack so surface water movement is swift and seasonal from any rain, so much so that it is negligible, though important for sure. Instead we have whole subterranean oceans, known commonly as water tables or Artesian Basins that supply our water and these were built across the land way back in the Jurassic, which is one of the reasons fracking in Aus’ is a nightmare. We depend on these Artisan Basins for our very survival and only 23% of our water comes from rain and run-off.
Anyway… off the hobby horse and back to the beauty of the Crystal Caves and Yanchep NP. There is heaps to keep you busy, from extensive bush waking tracks to caving for the family. Wildlife is everywhere and you can find several koala’s in the on-site reserve. Given that Koala’s are nocturnal, this is a huge advantage. There is golf for the bloke, an old world Pub and a lovely tea house for the hungry and thirsty, a wetlands lake to enjoy and even an historic ghost house and ruins if your game. We are headed back for sure and are looking forward to exploring Dwerta Mia… what is that? Well I’m not telling. This is a place high on our return list… and it is gunna be soon!
Jan is a Traveller and an Author. You can find out more about her books on travel on the page dedicated to Oldies at Large, where you will also find a list of her blog postings in topic.
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