Things to do
Explore the Limestone Coast
Once a cave, formed through the dissolution of the limestone, this sinkhole was created when the top of the chamber fell to the floor of the cave, creating the perfect environment for its “sunken” garden.
Originally beautified by James Umpherston around 1886, it 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. A large undercover shelter with group seating and a free barbecue is provided.
Entry is free of charge. Guided tours are also available.
(BLUE LAKE TOUR)
Tours down into the crater of the Blue Lake operate from the Reception Centre. The 3.6 km road and walking track around the circumference of the lake provides access to many viewing points; the underpass between the Blue Lake and the Leg of Mutton Lake offers great views of both areas.
Experience this fascinating 45 minute tour which takes visitors in a glass paneled lift down the original dolomite well shaft, from where water was originally extracted. Walk 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.
Souvenirs, local crafts and refreshments available.
RIDDOCH ART GALLERY
Riddoch Art Gallery is South Australia’s premier regional art gallery, accessed via the Main Corner foyer.
This huge complex of limestone caves under the city was first explored around 1884. Cave divers, who have undertaken intense training, regularly explore this site and have provided maps showing the extent of this underground cave system.
Check at “The Lady Nelson” for a schedule of tours which take visitors down into two of the chambers where divers enter the water to dive under the city. Learn how caves are formed and how the water filters through the limestone, making its way to the Blue Lake.
THE CRATER LAKES
Comprising of three craters, the Blue Lake Crater, the Valley Lake Crater and the Leg of Mutton Lake Crater, this area is a significant site within the Kanawinka Geotrail.
The Valley Lake is very popular all year round with excellent playground and recreational areas. With well kept picnic areas, 16 free gas barbecues, covered shelters and large grassed areas, it can cater for many families.
Nearby is Browne’s Lake which is again suffering from a fall in the water level as it did in 1841. Free of charge entry. When visiting Mount Gambier, make your first stop at ‘The Lady Nelson’ Visitor Centre. The friendly staff will help you get the most out of your stay in Mount Gambier.
CAVES & SINKHOLES
There are numerous water filled caves and sinkholes in the Mount Gambier area that can be accessed for diving or snorkelling; however, most are situated on private land and are accessible only by permission of the landowner. Divers and snorkelers may enter Ewens Ponds.
Guidelines are available from The Lady Nelson Visitor Centre and The Department for Environment & Heritage. To protect the unique and fragile environment of Piccaninnie Ponds and to improve the diving and snorkelling experience, a permit and time slot system is operated by The Department for Environment & Heritage which requires the completion of an indemnity and conditions form and payment of fees.