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  • Caves in Australia

    Posted by Brett Jones December 17, 2013 - 458 views - 0 comments - 0 likes

    Continuing on with my theme of unexpected sides of Australia; today I'll be focusing on caves.  It's no big secret that Australia has a thriving mining industry, with millions of dollars of minerals being mined from all over the land, from the small temporary communities of miners in the middle of the outback where companies fly miners to work there a few weeks at a time, to the more densely populated areas with long histories of mining bringing wealth.


    I come from an important town in Australian mining history, Bendigo.  Bendigo is located in the centre of Victoria, and also in the centre of the "Goldfields", an area which, living up to its name, has huge deposits of gold.  Bendigo and other towns such as Ballarat were founded on the Gold Rush of the 1850s, where people came from all over the country and world hoping to strike it rich in the lands with so much gold that at the time, you could find nuggets by just looking around the bushland ground for a while, if you were lucky.  Many found wealth through gold-panning and even now you can go to the stream at Sovereign Hill in Ballarat and expect to find some tiny deposits of gold, not enough to make money, but as a great souvenir.


    But that's enough advertising for the Goldfields. The area I'll be talking about today doesn't have as much gold, but has plenty of limestone.  Limestone is what serves as the basis for most cave features, it helps form the stalactites, stalagmites and other formations that make caves so beautiful. I could explain further how caves work, but I'll leave it for the cave guides so I don't spoil the learning if you happen to go. While there are some caves in Victoria and all around the country, the place I remember for its outstanding quality and quantity of caves is South-West Western Australia.


    With the town of Margaret River serving as the centre of the region and where most tourists stay, there is about 5 well known caves and maybe around another 5 to explore, all within an hours drive. The more well-known caves have friendly tour guides to teach you about caves and the region.  I might upload pictures of some of these caves later, but as cave guides don't usually allow professional methods of photography, they won't be exceptional.


    Margaret River and the South-West of Western Australia was the destination for my most recent Australian holiday, and so with memories fresh in my mind, I have plenty more to write about that region (and photos!). I'll try to keep the topics to my "unexpected sides of Australia" theme, but I might get side-tracked with the more normal sides as well, after all, Margaret River is a surfer's town!