Margaret River-Busselton Tourism Association’s Lake Cave opens again after December Calgardup bushfire

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
Carpenters replacing fire-damaged stairs at Lake Cave.
Camera IconCarpenters replacing fire-damaged stairs at Lake Cave. Credit: Tim Campbell

Six months after a devastating bushfire raged through the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, one of the region’s signature tourism offerings is back in business.

The Margaret River-Busselton Tourism Association this week confirmed its Lake Cave interpretive centre had re-opened after extensive work to repair stairways and fixtures destroyed in the December blaze.

“While the cave itself was unaffected by the fire, the scale of the damage to above-the-ground infrastructure required most of the 325 timber stairs from the top of the doline to the cave entrance to be rebuilt before tours could recommence,” chief executive Sharna Kearney said.

“The painstaking work has been led by our specialist in-house carpenter, Tim Brown, who was responsible for constructing the original staircase.”

Repairs to the suspended deck would be next.

Wallcliffe Volunteer Bushfire Brigade was among those who staved off the worst of the fire damage in December, but lamented not being able to protect the extensive wooden staircases.

A brigade spokesman said volunteers put in “a marathon effort” during the blaze, including extensive hose relays down into the Lake Cave structure.

“They (firefighters) worked tirelessly over multiple shifts to extinguish active fire and ember attack, but unfortunately despite their efforts, the fire won the day,” he said.

MRBTA is offering a reduced tour schedule and recommends advance bookings.

Tours include taking visitors through the fire-damaged sections and regenerating bushland.

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