Nullarbor – Old Homestead Cave – September 2013

Walking out to Old HomesteadAfter leaving Forrest we drove down to Old Homestead Cave.  After the road between Weebubbie and Forrest, we found ourselves on a veritable super highway, flat, no rocks but still dusty.  Nothing much to see, just MMBA, I took a few photos of the great open spaces and one effort at an arty shot.  One wondered why they built a fence out in the middle of no-where, a lot of effort to go to, I think it was some sort of corral.

an old corral

Eventually we arrived at the cavers hut where we could shelter from the sun, and if we wanted, stay inside.  It has the remnants of an old fire place, plus one room with a platform where you could sleep  (wasn’t all that appealing).  The hut was corrugated iron and all over the walls inside people had written about their trips to Old Homestead (using black marker), it was interesting to read the entries and note the dates.

The one roomed hut at Old Homestead CaveIt was hard getting out of the wind but the hut at least offered a little shelter during the day.  The wind by now was relentless, maybe we didn’t notice it the first few days but it was always there.  That and the dust.  If it wasn’t blowing from the south in the morning, it was blowing from the north in the evening (may have got the directions wrong here but in the morning it blew one day – when the land had cooled down and in the evening it blew the other way when the desert had heated up.  The dust was awful too, very fine, you couldn’t avoid it, it sneaked in everywhere and your skin was always dried out!  Can you tell that by now we were a bit over dust and wind.

Anyway, we found places where we could get out of the wind a little, usually camped beside our vehicles, or in my case around the side of the hut.

At one point, Old Homestead was the longest explored  cave in Australia, others have since surpassed it but it is still impressive at 28k long.  The cave was originally named after a homestead that was built near its entrance, the homesteaders failed to find water in the cave which spelled the end of the homestead, but there’s a hut still there (which may or may not have been their home).  Access is via an enormous sink hole, unlike some of the other cave’s we’ve been in which have huge chambers, Old Homestead is made up of a maze of small passages.

Doline and entrance to caveAll we had to do was walk a little way down the road to the doline and cave entrance.  This cave was different from all the rest.  There were a lot of fossils there and there was all sorts of infrastructure in place, whether it was left over from when they were digging for water (unlikely) or whether it was in place to make access to the cave easier is unknown.

Wendy near the ropes going down, unsure what they were there for,  Photo courtesy of Dirk Stoffels

Wendy near the ropes going down, unsure what they were there for, Photo courtesy of Dirk Stoffels

We walked deep into the cave, all the way admiring the fossils, there were just so many of them, just more evidence that this whole area had been covered by sea, amazing really.  Many photos were taken of the fossils, but they don’t really do them justice.

Then we exited the cave and marvelled at the fossils on the outside.  Interesting but for me, not as spectacular as the other caves, those interested in fossils though thought it was one of the best caves (go figure!).

The cave entry.  Photo courtesy of Dirk Stoffels

The cave entry. Photo courtesy of Dirk Stoffels

This entry was posted in Caving, MSS. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Nullarbor – Old Homestead Cave – September 2013

  1. Pingback: Thelma & Louise and our incredible road trip to WA | Adventures with M

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.