Film & TV

Cave hero Dr. Richard Harris unveils SA’s underwater wonders & megafauna fossils in new documentary

Explore the Limestone Coast’s underwater caves with Dr. Richard Harris in the new documentary ‘My Underwater World,’ premiering today on Channel 9. Dive into age-old secrets and stunning sinkholes revealed by the 2019 Australian of the Year.

Today marks the premiere of ‘My Underwater World’, a documentary created in partnership between the South Australian Tourism Commission and local production company, 57 Films. The film will feature Dr Richard Harris OAM, the 2019 Australian of the Year, exploring the submerged caves and fossils of South Australia’s Limestone Coast.

Dr Harris, renowned for his role in the 2018 Tham Luang cave rescue in Thailand, will take audiences into the depths of Mount Gambier’s underwater caves. These caves are notable for housing megafauna fossils, dating back tens-of-thousands of years, accessible only to expert divers.

The film showcases notable diving locations like Kilsby Sinkhole, celebrated for its clear waters and visibility. This sinkhole, located near Mount Gambier, is unique as it allows snorkellers, freedivers, and scuba divers to explore under the guidance of certified professionals.

Zoe Bettison, Minister for Tourism, highlighted its potential to enhance the visibility of South Australia’s natural attractions. She said, “This special documentary, and the worldwide recognition of Dr Richard Harris OAM, is an exciting opportunity to put one of our state’s tourism gems in the spotlight.”

The documentary also serves as a part of the state’s strategy to boost tourism. It aligns with the SATC’s promotional campaigns like the Southern Ocean Drive Road Trip, which encourages self-drive tours exploring South Australia’s diverse attractions.

The Limestone Coast itself is a significant contributor to the state’s tourism economy, with recent data indicating a visitor expenditure of $524 million for the year ending March 2024. Bettison noted the importance of the tourism sector in the region, emphasising ongoing efforts to attract both national and international visitors.

“Our state’s south-east offers unique natural wonders like the Naracoorte Caves and various sinkholes, making it a must-see destination for those seeking unique experiences,” Bettison added.

Dr Harris shared his personal connection to cave diving, describing the Limestone Coast’s caves as one of the “most premier diving locations anywhere in the world”. According to Harris, the appeal of these underwater worlds remains the opportunity for true exploration, an adventure that still exists on Earth primarily in cave systems.

Troy Bell, MP for Mount Gambier, also commented on the significance of the documentary in promoting the region. “The documentary ‘My Underwater World’ presents an exciting opportunity to showcase our region to a global audience,” he stated. Bell mentioned that many people are unaware of the natural wonders in the area, making productions like this critical for regional tourism.

The documentary’s national airing today could soon be followed by international broadcasts, according to Bettison. This global exposure would further enhance the profile of the Limestone Coast and its unique landscapes, potentially increasing tourist visits and spending.

The documentary can now be watched on 9Now.

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