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South Australia
Mount GambierIn the heart of the Limestone Coast, you will find the second largest town in South Australia, home to the spectacular sapphire waters of Blue Lake and an array of world-famous dive sites.
Described as the city of 'craters, lakes and caves', Mount Gambier was built on the slopes of an extinct volcano. See the remarkable Blue Lake. It has filled the largest of three volcanic craters and puts on a real show from November when the water becomes a brilliant turquoise blue. Begin your visit at 'The Lady Nelson' Visitor and Discovery Centre, where staff will provide you with all the information you require for your holiday. They will help you to choose the most suitable activities for yourself and your family. Be sure to take a self-guided tour of the Discovery Centre, which presents the history and geology of the area, using a series of exciting interactive displays. Mount Gambier is an ideal family holiday destination, with many free-of-charge fun attractions. Walk to the Centenary Tower for a remarkable view. Picnic at the Valley Lake Crater, with its wildlife park and boardwalk. Stroll among the beautiful roses in the Cave Gardens. Marvel as the possums come out for an evening feed at the Umpherston Sinkhole. Take the City Centre Walk and discover an impressive array of heritage buildings, while catching a glimpse of Mount Gambier's history. On your journey, stop and explore the many art galleries, studios and markets and sample local wines and cheese. Boasting a wide range of accommodation types, extensive and modern shopping precincts, a variety of restaurants, pubs and cafes, adventure playgrounds, boat and canoe hire and more; Mount Gambier truly is a splendid family destination and an ideal base for your next holiday to the Limestone Coast.
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Things to do
Explore Umpherston Sinkhole
The beauty of the Umpherston Sinkhole has to be seen to be believed. Appreciate its size and depth from the viewing platforms at the top of the sinkhole, then walk down into the sinkhole, along the terraces and behind the hanging vines. The resident colony of possums make an appearance at dusk and enjoy being fed fresh fruit (no bread please). A large undercover shelter with group seating and free barbecue is provided. The kiosk on-site offers coffee, snacks, ice creams and souvenirs. Umpherston Sinkhole, also known, as the sunken garden was once a cave formed through dissolution of the limestone. The sinkhole was created when the top of the chamber collapsed downwards. Now the topsoil down on the floor forms the perfect environment for the sunken garden. The sinkhole is open at all times and from dusk each evening the area comes alive with possums as they venture into the floodlit gardens to feed. The geological processes that have created the sinkholes in the region inspired the sculpture at Umpherston. Umpherston Possum Tours are available during peak periods as well.
Visit Blue Lake
The Blue Lake in Mount Gambier occupies one of the craters of the extinct volcano after which the city has been named. Early each November, the lake's sombre blue, which is in evidence during the winter months, mysteriously changes to an intense deep turquoise blue almost overnight. The colouring remains until late February when it gradually changes. From late March, it returns to a distinct sombre blue colouring that remains until the following November. The 3.6-kilometre road and walking track around the circumference of the Blue Lake provides access to many viewing points, the most popular being the underpass between the Blue Lake and the Leg of Mutton Lake. Aquifer Tours operate a fascinating 45-minute tour which takes visitors in a glass panelled lift down the original dolomite well shaft, from which water was originally extracted, through a tunnel to see the Blue Lake at close proximity. Learn about the hydrology of Mount Gambier's water supply and the aquifer system. Hear the interesting stories of local history, European settlement, folklore and Aboriginal legend. Daily tours are available, contact the Mount Gambier Visitor Centre for further information.
Go diving or snorkelling!
We offer Snorkelling and SCUBA diving tours, training and equipment hire in the Mt Gambier region. We are the only business in Australia licensed by the DEWNR to conduct diving tours and training in the Piccaninnie Ponds and Ewens Ponds National Parks. We provide modern high-quality snorkelling and scuba diving gear for sale or hire and our guides are extremely knowledgeable on the Flora, Fauna and ecology of these ponds as well as the broader Cave diving in the region.
Walk or ride the Mount Gambier Crater Lakes Trail
Enjoy walking, running or cycling through spectacular scenery set among Mount Gambier's extinct volcanic crater lakes, on the Crater Lakes Mountain Bike Trail. Starting near the water tower on Keegan Drive, the first leg of the trail is quite adventurous, riding on a narrow track with views down steep cliffs to the bottom of the craters. Choose between the short ride from the water tower or the shared walking trail. Take the designated mountain bike trail to the left, which winds past Devil's Punchbowl. Continue on this track around the bottom of the mountain veering to the right to join the walking trail again across the top of the cemetery. Either turn left at the second punch bowl to head down off the mountain near Tenison Woods College, or turn right to continue on the walking track along the crater edge, past the Pines, finishing at the water tank near Potters Point Lookout.
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