Beaches, Caves and Landmarks
The South West is blessed with a pristine natural environment with many attractions both man made and natural. Most visitors are aware of the vast choice of wineries, restaurants, and local produce on offer in the area and Four Elements is right in the middle of all of that. We are also close to a lot of the natural attractions with surfing and family beaches are nearby. For those looking to unwind and escape the crowds an afternoons bushwalking in Yelverton National Park or exploring the imposing cliffs and natural springs along a section of the coastal Cape to Cape Walk Trail. We have put together some information on the attractions in the area...
Surf and Swimming Beaches
There are so many surf spots nearby that I lost count at about 25, if you want a pretty comprehensive guide try the wannasurf.com website. An easier question we are often asked about the best place to take the kids for a swim. The standout options are Smith's Beach (pictured to the left) which is about 10 minutes away and is relatively sheltered providing conditions suitable for most swimmers with small 1 and 2 foot wave only towards the western end. For those looking for millpond swimming conditions you can't go past Meelup as a family beach about 25 minutes drive. In fact pretty much any of the beaches between Dunsborough and Busselton are super calm in all but the most stormy conditions.
The region between Cape Naturaliste (Yallingup) and Cape Leeuwin (Augusta) is a limestone ridge that sits on top of a granite slab. This geology creates ideal conditions for the movement of rainwater through the limestone to form caves. There are several hundred caves in the region. There are a number of caves open to tourists, these are:
Jewel Cave, Lake Cave and Mammoth Cave. Around 40 minutes drive south of us, these caves are accessible by joining aguided tour run by the Augusta Margaret River Tourist Association. Access is generally pretty easy with stairs and walkways provided, although you will need to be able to climb quite a few stairs. Refer to the AMRTA web site here for opening times and other details.
Giants Cave and Calgardup Cave. Around 30 minutes drive south of us, these caves are access by self guided tours with an audio device providing lots of background info at various points throughout the caves. These caves are managed by the Department of Parks and Wildlife. Refer to the DPAW web site here for Giants and here for Calgardup for opening times and other details.
Ngilgi Cave (Yallingup). Around 20 minutes drive north of us, this cave is accessible by joining a guided tour run by the Geographe Bay Tourist Association (soon to merge with AMRTA). This is a very deep cave and GBTA run a variety of different tours through it. For details and online bookings refer to the GBTA web site here.
Moondyne Cave. A more adventurous experience Moondyne cave was reopened by the AMRTA in 2012, but unfortunately at the time of writing (June 2015) is closed temporarily to allow important scientific research to be undertaken. Keep an eye on the AMRTA web site here for news of its reopening. That page also has details of the tour that was operating until recently.
There are quite a number of coastal features that are definitely worth a look. Some are easily accessible by car, for example...
Canal Rocks. An awe inspiring place when a big swell is running in winter, Canal rocks is as its name suggests a natural canal formed by erosion. It is only a short drive from Four Elements and an even shorter detour if you are on your way to Smith's Beach. On a calm day it is a popular fishing spot. Theres a very informative article on the westernaustralia-travellersguide.com website here.
Sugarloaf Rock. Another massive granite formation on the coast, that is also a popular spot to fish. Sugarloaf rock is named because it supposedly looks like a sugarloaf. My grandfather told the story of it looking like an iced bun because it was covered in bird poo, I am not sure of the veracity of this story though! Again there is a great article on the westernaustralia-travellersguide.com website here.
Cape to Cape Track. For those looking to get a little further from the highway there are dozens of short walks along sections of the Cape to Cape track and in the Tuart Forest around Boranup that take in points of interest. A favourite of ours is the half hour walk from the Moses Rock road carpark across the top of the coastal cliffs to Quininup Falls - definitely worth a look particularly in Winter and Spring when the water volumes are up. If you are interested when you visit we have a number of books detailing walks around the area that we could loan you.