The prospect of a visit to Mammoth Cave, located in Margaret River, was met with dismay by my three-year-old. 'There might be bears,' she protested, unconvinced by my lie that the cave was home only to fairies.
So it was with some foreboding that we handed over a wad of cash to explore said cave, receiving MP3 audio sets to guide us.
The boardwalk to the entrance is surrounded by towering and impressive Karri forest.
As we entered the cave, the temperature dropped along with the last of the daylight, which was reflected in an underground stream. Ahead stretched a narrow, many-staired walkway surrounded by stalagmites and stalactites.
The rock formations are dimly lit with a yellow-ish light – perhaps more authentic than the brightly colored lights of other caves I have visited, but also less magical.
Mammoth Cave is 500 metres long and 30 metres deep.
Fossils dating back more than 35,000 years have been found there, including that of a Tasmanian Tiger. The jaw bone of a giant wombat-like marsupial called a Zygomaturus is visible on the cave wall according to a sign – although I couldn't see it.
The conventional end to a tour of the cave is a walk up 170 steps to the surface followed by a scenic walk through Marri forest.
We, however, took the easier option – returning through the cave back the way we came, for a trip time of about 40 minutes in total.
Mammoth Cave is about 20km south of Margaret River on the appropriately-named Caves Road.
Those for whom one cave is not enough can buy a more expensive group ticket ($48 adult, $22 child) which allows entry to Lake Cave and Jewel Cave as well as Mammoth.
There are a few picnic tables outside the cave entrance.