Caves & Sinkholes
There are roughly 800 caves in the Limestone Coast, a handful of which are open to the public. In Mount Gambier, Engelbrecht Cave, in the centre of a mountain, can be visited by experienced divers. An hour-long drive north and accessible by foot is Naracoorte Caves National Park, one of South Australia’s only World-Heritage sites, containing incredible fossil records of ancient animals that once roamed the area. Tantanoola Caves Conservation Park are spectacular caves set into a cliff face.
The area is also home to roughly 50 sinkholes. Kilsby Sinkhole is known as one of the best sinkhole dive sites in the world (you can snorkel here too), while Cave Gardens, the Umpherston Sinkhole, Blanche Cave and Hells Hole are other sinkholes also worth visiting.
History & Culture
The Boandik people lived in the Mount Gambier region for at least 50,000 years until European settlers invaded their lands in 1840. Learn the stories of these traditional custodians of the land through an evening light show at the Cave Gardens precinct that sees images projected onto buildings. Or do a 4.5-kilometre-long self-guided walk passing various heritage buildings. Download a map online or pick one up at the Lady Nelson Visitor & Discovery Centre.
You can’t visit Mount Gambier and not see the Blue Lake. One of four crater lakes around the city, it stretches over 1000 metres wide, is thought to be on average 72 metres deep and in summer, turns a jaw-dropping cobalt blue. And while you can’t swim in it (you can swim in nearby Little Blue Lake), you can do a 3.6-kilometre-long walk around it, admiring it from all angles. Another sight not to miss is the Piccaninnie Ponds. Snorkel or dive it. Or stroll alongside it to see its freshwater springs bubbling up onto the sand. Keen to feed pigs, emu, sheep, chicken and geese? Take a self-guided walk at Echo Farm, a 10-minute drive from town.