Exploring South Australia is something every South Aussie should put on their agenda.
Our incredible state is bursting with amazing experiences, and whilst we’re often starstruck with things in and around Adelaide, there’s certainly more than enough wonderful things happening in the regions to lure us out of our comfort zone.
Take the picture perfect Limestone Coast for example. Local Josh Lynagh has put together a list, with the help of his community, to give us the insider tips on the best things to do while you’re in the area.
1. Play a round of Disc Golf inside the volcanic crater lake precinct
Who can say they have ever played disc golf inside a Volcano? In Mount Gambier, you can. Located in the Valley Lakes precinct, it’s the only disc golf course in the world inside a Volcano. Find out more here.
2. Feed possums and experience the sunken garden at Umpherston Sinkhole in Mount Gambier
Mount Gambier’s green oasis is a natural wonder unlike anything else in the region. Appreciate the beauty of the Umpherston Sinkhole’s hanging vines and flowery pops from a viewing point, or grab a snack from the kiosk and take a walk. Pop by at twilight and feed the hungry resident possums fresh fruit.
3. Explore the Naracoorte Caves, which are recognised as one of the world’s most important fossil sites
A World Heritage site, the Naracoorte Caves trace fossil history as far back as 500,000 years. Four caves are open to the public, with twenty four others used for scientific research. Year-round visitors can be lead through the caves on guided adventure tours, or can make their own way thanks to self-guided maps. An affordable family day-out, the adult entry fee is $10.50.
4. See the world-famous Blue Lake of Mount Gambier
Flooding the crater of Mount Gambier’s volcanic namesake, every November to late February, the Blue Lake turns into an awe-inspiring (blue) pool ready for your Instagram feed.
Chuck on your sneakers and spend half a day wandering around a 3.6km circuit. Those wanting to learn more about the site can enjoy a historic tour of the lake and its surrounds by Aquifer Tours.
5. Go snorkelling in the crystal clear waters of Ewens and Picanninnie Ponds
The crystal clear waters have been slowly filtering through the limestone and forming the features of the ponds over thousands of years.
Snorkel across the top of The Chasm and peer down into the dark depths below or dive down into the large underwater cavern known as The Cathedral.
Explore the spectacular underwater world of Piccaninnie Ponds, which is recognised as a wetland of international importance. For more info, click here.
6. Climb Australia’s most recently active volcano and visit the Centenary Tower
For the ultimate view of the South East, make the hike up the hill and enjoy uninterrupted, 360 degree panoramas. Take a photo of the Valley Lake and view other volcanic craters from 190 metres above sea level. On a clear day, enjoy breathtaking views of the sand dunes and ocean in the distance. For more info click here.
7. Visit the stunning Coonawarra wine region
The Coonawarra wine region is situated around the town of Coonawarra on the Limestone Coast zone of South Australia. It is traditionally known for its Cabernet Sauvignon due to the specific type of soil in the area. Find out more here.
8. See the wildlife at Echo Farm in Mount Gambier
Spend your time walking around the tranquil Echo Farm. You can also feed and pet most of the animals, enjoy a picnic, and explore the restored farmhouse. Find out more here.
9. Go diving at Kilsby Sinkhole
This is not quite what you’d expect to be nestled among a sheep farm just 14km south of Mount Gambier.
Go on a snorkelling tour of the sinkhole, or go scuba diving. Also available is a gin tasting crafted from botanicals sourced from the local area, creating a unique Australian product. Have a look at more information here.
10. Visit Penola’s Petticoat Lane
Walk down the historic lane to experience and appreciate the 19th century cottages and learn about their history. There is also a herb and veggie garden where produce is available to buy for a gold coin donation. Find out more here.
11. Swim in the Beachport Pool of Siloam, seven times saltier than sea water
The salt lake can be found along the Bowman Scene Drive. Its high salt content means it is incredibly buoyant, and supposedly has many therapeutic health benefits. Find out more here.
12. See the Obelisk at Robe
Robe is a small coastal town off the South Australian coast. The Obelisk was erected in 1852 in order to mark the entrance into Guichen Bay as well as to store produce. Find out more here.
13. Visit The Big Lobster (Larry) in Kingston
The Big Lobster made headlines in 2016 when money was needed to restore the landmark which has been there since 1979.
Now, still standing, Larry the Lobster has a restaurant and wine tasting at the base, making it a perfect roadside stop off.
14. Explore the Coorong
Bird watching, boating, kayaking, fishing, camping, walking, 4WDriving and cultural history are just a few of the draw cards of this internationally important wetland.
There is something for all ages and interests in the Coorong. The serenity, the sheer diversity, and the proximity to Adelaide make it an immensely popular park.
Visitors come for bird watching, boating, kayaking, fishing, camping, walking, four-wheel driving and history. Find out more here.
15. Take part in a fishing charter at Port MacDonnell
Established in 2000, Port MacDonnell Fishing Charters welcome singles, groups and private personalised charters and offers fishing all year round (subject to weather and fishing conditions).
Port MacDonnell, on the Limestone Coast, is the southern-most port in South Australia. At 450 km south-east of Adelaide and 460 km west of Melbourne, these fishing experiences are only a hop, skip and a jump away from capital cities.
Best of all, each of the charters can be personalised. Find out more here.
16. Swim in the Little Blue Lake, just outside of Mount Gambier
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. Find out more here.
17. Experience the magic of Ghost Mushroom Lane near Glencoe
Luminous mushrooms can be found growing in South East pine forest during the colder months and ForestrySA is giving you the chance to see the glow first hand.
Ghost Mushroom Lane is a free night-time forest experience only available during May and June annually. Find out more here.
18. Explore Mount Gambier’s Engelbrecht Cave and learn about the cave system under the city
Visitors will find various lookout spots to stop and enjoy the stunning natural beauty of the limestone caves.
Onsite, there are tours available, as well as a cafe, and opportunities to cave dive. Find out more here.
19. Check out the pristine rose garden at Mount Gambier’s Cave Gardens
Situated in the centre of the city, the Cave Garden features a sinkhole that was the original source of water for the early settlers. Its beauty and significance can be appreciated from the viewing platforms which hang dramatically over the sinkhole. A bonus in wet weather is the spectacular waterfall.
Beautiful roses are a stunning feature of the famous Cave Garden, a state heritage area. With its historic garden flowing deep into the sinkhole, this area is a great meeting place for locals. Read more here.
20. Enjoy an award-winning steak at The Barn Steakhouse in Mount Gambier
Run by the Cleves family, The Barn Steakhouse has been open since 1988. The team who work there are passionate about the Hereford cattle that they breed and finish on their properties throughout the region.
The business has also expanded to include accomodation onsite, which consists of a set of suites situated within five acres of manicured English style gardens. Have a look at their website here.
21. Try some award-winning Wagyu beef from Mayura Station in Millicent
Dining at The Tasting Room is a paddock-to-plate experience. Dinner is available Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings with a single dinner sitting at 6:45pm.
Bookings are essential at their high quality Wagyu Beef Steak House. Find out more here.
22. Stop for ice cream at Badenoch’s Deli on the way back in to Mount Gambier from Port Mac
The perfect roadside stopover for an ice cream is Badenoch’s Deli. Just a short drive south of the Blue Lake, this famous ice cream deli is a must-do. Find it at 155C Bay Rd, Moorak SA.
23. Experience the newly-established Fringe Mount Gambier in the heart of the city
The Fringe Mount Gambier is the largest regional arts festival in South Australia. Much like the Adelaide Fringe, it embraces unique and artistic performers from all over the globe.
This year, the festival will run from 20-29 of March, and is set to include roving acts, cabaret, dance, comedy, live music, visual art and magic shows.
Check out the offical website here for updates on performances and set times.
24. Explore shipwrecks on the Southern Ocean Shipwreck Trail at Port MacDonnell
Drive the southern coast from the Victorian border to the mouth of the River Murray. See shipwreck sites including the Admella, the state’s worst sea tragedy.
You can visit many sites and towns along the way including Canunda National Park. Stop for fresh seafood at Robe. Find out more here.
25. Climb Mount Schank and take in the beauty of the surrounding area from the top, or walk down right into the centre
Hike around the rim of Mt Schank, after completing the Car Park to Crater Rim Hike. From the rim, experience 360 views into the crater and of the surrounding countryside.
26. Attend the Generations in Jazz festival
Generations In Jazz is an annual weekend jazz festival held in Mount Gambier.
It is held in May and brings together many young jazz musicians from all over Australia and New Zealand, to participate and compete for awards and scholarships. Find out more here.
27. See the white kangaroos at the Bordertown Wildlife Park
The famous Bordertown Wildlife Park was developed in 1968 and is situated just near the turn-off from the Dukes Highway at the eastern entrance of the town.
In the park are Western Grey Kangaroos and Dama Wallabies, as well as a variety of birdlife. The park is most famous for its mob of White Kangaroos that are a genetic strain of the Western Grey. Find out more here.
28. See the silo art at Coonalpyn
The silo art in Coonalpyn was painted by Brisbane artist, Guido van Helten. He brought the huge silos to life with the amazing artwork that covers the 30m high infrastructure.
This larger than life celebration of the youth and promise of children is worth stopping to admire.
Have we missed anything? For inclusions, please email [email protected]