Ngilgi (pronounced nil-gi) is one of four tourist caves situated in the Margaret River Region of Western Australia. The others are Mammoth Cave, Lake Cave and Jewel Cave. There is over 100 caves in the region all of which are formed from water running through the limestone. For this post we will focus on Ngilgi Cave.
Previously known as Yallingup Cave, it was discovered by Edward Dawson in 1899. He turned it into the first Tourist attraction in Western Australia, taking people on tours until 1937. He named it Yallingup cave after the local town of Yallingup where he lived.
Changing the name
Later once the aboriginal story of the cave had been discovered the name was changed to Ngilgi. The story talks about the good spirit of Ngilgi over coming the evil spirit of Wolgine. Wolgine terrorised the local aboriginals and forced them to hide in the cave entrance.
There is a board in the waiting area outside the cave entrance with the full story.
Inside the Cave
To visit the cave you must go a semi-guided tour. The tour consists of a guide taking you from the waiting area into the first chamber. They explain a little bit about the history of the cave and provide directions on how to navigate it. From here you are allowed to explore the cave at your own pace. Inside the main chamber is another guide who is waiting and is happy to answer any questions. There is also plenty of information boards scattered along the path.
The first chamber is a huge open space. The ceiling is covered with thousands of stalactites dropping down. Although a number of them are very big none have yet connected with the even bigger stalagmites which are slowly climbing to meet them. This chamber is often used for concerts because the acoustics are said to be spectacular.
The second chamber has more sheets of stalactites falling from ridges on the wall. There is a dark hole below these which drops out of sight.
From here the path starts to descend to approximately 37 meters. The path gets very narrow and there are few places where you will need to watch your head.
At the bottom you arrive at cupids corner. Named so because in the early years of tourists exploring the cave it was very popular with honey moon couples who would hide away in this part of the cave.
Eventually you arrive in the main chamber. This room is larger than the first but feels smaller because of all the stalagmites, stalactites, pillars, sheets, curtains, and straws. In here there are some amazing features such as sheets of different colours.
The fairy cave.
Large stalagmites which look like mushrooms.
And one stalactite which weighs the same as a 4 wheel drive.
Should you visit Ngilgi cave?
In conclusion if you are in the area this is defiantly worth doing. I was worried that it was going to be overcrowded but our tour group was small and we took it slow. As a result most of the group were already on their way out before we were even in the main chamber.
It is a good idea to take water with you and wear cool clothes because there is not good ventilation and there is a lot of steps to climb. Expect to spend one hour inside the cave. The tours seem to be every hour so there is no need to book.
Prices (as of March 2017)
Single Cave Entry – Ngilgi (show cave), Jewel, Lake, or Mammoth
Child (4-16yrs): $12.00
Family (2 adults + 2 Children): $58.00
Additional Children: $6.00
Children prices are based on ages 4 – 16 years.
Under 4s are free of charge.
Children under 17 must be accompanied by an adult.
Ngilgi Cave is 5 minutes drive from Yallingup, or 10 minutes drive from Dunsborough along Caves Road.