Renewed push to get WA’s Caves Road heritage listed

Published: August 30, 2021
caves road for grey nomads

There is a renewed push to have one of Western Australia’s most iconic drives heritage listed.

Few grey nomads who have toured on the south-west region will ever forget a trip down Margaret River’s famous Caves Road, as it wends its through a unique landscape with the limestone, the Karri forest, the rolling hills, and the vineyards.It’s more than a century since loggers and early tourists started travelleig section of the route by horse and cart to view the region’s cave systems.

However, as tourist numbers grew in line with the availability of automobiles, so too did the need for a more-suitable carriage way from Yallingup to Augusta.

Historian and author Gillian Lilleyman told the ABC that a key section of Cave Road was paved in 1921 and, with access opened up to motorists, that’s when the area really took off.

“Caves Road, as we know it now, began its life with the intention of being a tourist road,” Ms Lilleyman said. “And that’s the role it continues to serve today, albeit catering for a much larger market.”

Today, thousands of motorists travel the 110-kilometre route between the Busselton area and Augusta each and every week.

The ABC reports that calls for the road’s inclusion on state and federal heritage registers began in earnest in 2018, but these early attempts apparently lacked detail.

Back then, Shire of Augusta–Margaret River Deputy President Pauline McLeod said she was hopeful that if it passed the state hurdles, it could eventually join Victoria’s Great Ocean Road on the national heritage list.

“It’s a unique place that we don’t have anywhere else in Australia,” she said. “You’ve got 100 kilometres of this magnificent experience … I’m certain it would surpass what the Great Ocean Road can offer.” Ms McLeod says the council will now re-consider a new application in September.

“There is a lot of support to see this happen and give Caves Road the recognition we think it warrants,” Ms McLeod said. “It’s about accumulating some more stories to strengthen the case as to why that road should be heritage-listed and that is still happening.”

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John Walker
4 months ago

Just been travelling this route with a stay at Conto campsite. Indeed a great road.

4 months ago

The last time I travelled this road it was more like a goat track that was being used as a rat run for the locals who travelled it daily from one town to another for work.. Double white lines that meant nothing to people as they flew past regardless if you were going uphill or down hill on this winding road. There is no room for error with the way that the roads are contoured for water run off and pullover bays do not seem too common for those that like to let the traffic pass.. Sure, a drive through this country side is a pleasure but not with a van ..


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