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Oceania » Australia » Western Australia » Nannup
June 6th 2006
Published: August 12th 2006
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Jewel CaveJewel CaveJewel Cave

Jewel box
Jewel Cave was next on my agenda after the whale-watching, and as luck would have it I ended up with the same guide as I'd had at Lake Cave. She clearly had a template for her cave spiel, as there was roughly 90% commonality between her description of Jewel Cave and her description of Lake Cave. Unfortunately that also extended to her jokes. Jewel Cave was significantly larger than Lake Cave, and contained some formations not seen in the other, e.g. shawls (wafer-thin sheets of limestone), however I soon realised that I was becoming caved out (presumably better than caved in), and it's unlikely I'll be visiting any more caves in the near future.

There was a short "karri walk" near the cave, which I wandered along. Karri trees are a type of eucalyptus (like almost every other type of tree in Australia) that can grow up to 90m high, making them among the tallest trees in the world. I'll be seeing a lot more of them as I venture further into Tall Timber Country.

Nannup, a small town next to the Blackwood River, seemed like an appealing place to spend the night as it contained the Black Cockatoo lodge. This is a hostel lauded in both my guidebooks for its dedication to environmentally-sensitive living, and it was certainly unique amongst all the hostels I stayed in on my trip. Run by Garry, a Kiwi ex-commodities broker, and his partner Mamiko-san, it's chock-full of memorabilia from all over the world, with countless little unexpected touches in both the main building and the garden, e.g. a deck for yoga/pilates, wood stove for heating, outside toilet, etc. With no Internet or TV, talking or reading were the only sources of entertainment. The other residents were a young Aussie couple from Perth who were there with their baby, and a Japanese lady, Tamano-san, who was learning English while working as the cleaner.

Garry was an extremely welcoming host who had information about the area coming out of his ears. On his advice, I went for a stroll near the Blackwood River in the late afternoon, passing a tree to which markers had been attached showing the wildly differing heights that the river had reached during its periodic floods. I also picked up some fish and chips from a place he had recommended.

A pleasant post-prandial session reading in a chair in front of the stove was followed by a chat with Tamano-san, who used to work for the travel agency JTB in Japan. Little did she know how lucky she was - she was going to be sharing a dorm with my trainers but, with me having recently purchased a can of Odoreater spray, that was going to be a significantly less noxious experience than it would have been a couple of days ago.


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Jewel CaveJewel Cave
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