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South Australia
Limestone CoastSome come for the region's unique dive sites, others to walk its ancient volcanic landscape, and then there are those who simply seek world-class dining and fresh seafood. There's something for everyone along the Limestone Coast.
The Limestone Coast is home to some of South Australia’s most remarkable natural wonders and traveller hot spots. From the limestone, volcanic landscape of Mount Gambier to the much loved Coonawarra wine region, home to some of the country’s best Cabernet Sauvignon. Adventurers come to both snorkel and dive at some of the country’s most celebrated dive sites from Umpherston and Kilsby Sinkholes to Piccaninnie Ponds while foodies come in search of world-class dining and seafood. From beautiful beaches, rugged coastline to seaside villages - the Limestone Coast is the perfect place for a week-long getaway.
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Dive Kilsby Sinkhole
Serenely located beneath a rural farming property only 15 minutes from Mount Gambier, 'Kilsby Sinkhole' is world-renowned as one of the best sinkhole dive sites due to its crystal clear water and breathtaking visibility. Kilsby Sinkhole is the only site of its kind that welcomes snorkellers, freedivers and Open Water certified scuba divers under the supervision of a licensed and industry qualified guide. Kilsby Sinkhole is also home to Sinkhole Gin, produced from crystal clear limestone-filtered water and local native botanicals. Scuba diving, snorkelling and site tours (incorporating gin tastings) are achievable by prior arrangement only. Instant bookings can be made online or by phone. All equipment is provided and water activity is completed under the supervision of an industry-certified guide.
Stroll Long Beach at Robe
Long Beach at Robe is a safe family beach with gentle surf and is unique as its one of the few beaches where you can drive your car onto the sand. A unique part of Robe's Heritage. Under most conditions, it is safe to fish the areas close to the shore from Robe jetty to Long Beach and up to one kilometre offshore. Fish that are caught in this area include whiting, flathead, salmon, mullet, garfish, and the odd snapper.
Explore Mount Gambier
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.
Visit Naracoorte
In the heart of South Australia’s hidden gem the Limestone Coast, midway between Adelaide and Melbourne, lies the town of Naracoorte. Naracoorte is home to the World Heritage-listed Naracoorte Caves which are World Heritage-listed because of the importance of the fossils at the site, preserving Australia’s most complete marsupial fossil record. Join an Adventure Caving tour at the Naracoorte Caves or choose the leisurely option of a walk through Wet Cave. Enjoy the magnificent scenery and listen for the creatures of the wetlands at Bool Lagoon, a Ramsar Wetland of International Significance. The Lagoon is home to wildlife and is an essential refuge for birds. A boardwalk over the wetlands, gives the feeling of walking on water. Popular events are the Taste the Limestone Coast Festival and Frances Folk Gathering in February, Lucindale’s South East Field Days in March and Yakka Park Music Festival in April and the Naracoorte Swap Meet in May and the Taskforce 72 Regatta in November. Other places of interest are the Naracoorte Regional Art Gallery, the Sheep’s Back Museum and the Naracoorte Swimming Lake, described as ‘one of the greatest swims in the world’. Naracoorte is known for its open green spaces and selection of unique shops, has a wide range of dining, accommodation and everyday requirements. Naracoorte has a stunning 18-hole, fully watered golf course, which is included in Golf Australia’s Top 100 public access golf courses. The Market Square Recreation Area, Memorial Parklands and Naracoorte Creek Walk offer something for everyone. Centrally located in the Limestone Coast, Naracoorte is a great place to base yourself and unearth the treasures of the Limestone Coast.
Go for a swim at Little Blue Lake
The Little Blue Lake is a popular venue for visitors and locals to enjoy a naturally cool swim in a beautiful natural water-filled sinkhole. Stairs and a floating pontoon, to improve safety and public access to the water’s edge, have been installed via an artificial cutting in the south side of the cliff. The Lake is located in the Kanawinka volcanic area between two dormant volcanoes, Mount Schank and Mount Gambier. The sinkhole's name is attributed to the fact that its water used to turn blue on an annual basis similar to Mount Gambier's Blue Lake, however in more recent times the sinkhole generally remains green in colour. The lake has a diameter of about 40 metres, with cliffs approaching a height of about 8 metres above water level and a maximum depth of about 47 metres. The shallowest point is a depth of about 25 metres. Access for cave diving is limited to holders of the CDAA Deep Cavern grade. Camping is NOT permitted at the Little Blue Lake or in the car park. Experienced swimmers only due to depth of water. Cliff jumping is dangerous and prohibited.
Millicent National Trust Museum
The Millicent National Trust Museum is one of South Australia's largest and best local museums. It captures the stories of the Limestone Coast brilliantly. The museum's extensive layout leads you from the Aboriginal history and culture of the Limestone Coast to the perils of the sea. It takes in a fine collection of horse-drawn carriages and wagons; tells the story of early Millicent days; and explains how the swamps surrounding the town were drained. There are very small items: a hexagonal fabric piece in a quilt from one of Queen Victoria's gowns, an Emu egg football cup and a set of scales has weighed nearly every baby born in Millicent. The museum houses the town's Visitor Information Centre and a Craft Gallery. This showpiece museum was one of the first two museums in South Australia to receive full accreditation from the History Trust of South Australia.
Visit 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 the 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.
Explore the wine region of Coonawarra
Coonawarra is located approximately 10kms north of Penola on the Riddoch Highway. Coonawarra is part of the Limestone Coast Wine Region. Its secret lies in the magical marriage of rich red terra rossa soil, limestone, pure underground water and a long cool ripening season. Coonawarra offers visitors wine tasting at, over, twenty cellar doors. The local industries of Coonawarra are viticulture, agriculture, horticulture and tourism. In 1890 John Riddoch subdivided 1000 acres, which he sold to local people to establish the Penola Fruit Colony. Riddochs first vintage was in 1897. The Penola Fruit Colony became known as Coonawarra. Riddochs original cellars, now Wynns Coonawarra Estate, is a local landmark and popular tourist attraction. Millions of years ago, Nature began crafting our wines, so that today we simply add the finishing touches. Think Coonawarra, and thoughts of sumptuous reds spring to mind – from the rich rust-colored Terra Rossa soil for which it’s internationally recognized, to the prized red wines that have made it famous.
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