Let your first stop be beneath the streets of Mount Gambier in Engelbrecht Cave. Be guided on a tour down into the cave and learn about the region’s underground water system. See where the qualified cave divers explore the secret tunnels of Engelbrecht Cave, carefully weaving their way through an intricate maze of water-filled passages while the world passes by overhead.
Take advantage of the gorgeous green surrounds of the Valley Lake with a picnic made up of fresh local produce. Stock up on some of the region’s award-winning produce at She’s Apples Market including boutique cheese, olive oil, artisan bread and toffee treats.
Make the most of your visit into the crater by exploring the Valley Lake Conservation Park and testing your arm at one of Australia’s best disc golf courses, the Crater Lakes Disc Golf Park. Discs are available for hire and purchase at the Mount Gambier Visitor Centre. Join locals on one of the most popular walks in the city, the Crater Lakes Trail. Follow 4.2km trail around the rim of the Valley Lakes crater, stopping at the Centenary Tower to take in the breath-taking panoramic views.
Check in to your new home for the next two nights, Delgattie Estate. The recently renovated 1902 property delivers the perfect combination of antique charm and boutique luxury, ideal for a couple’s retreat.
At dusk, head to Umpherston Sinkhole to meet the friendly possums as they venture out from the cave walls to play. With fresh fruit and veggies in hand, it won’t take long for them to become your best friends. Amongst the action, don’t forget to take a moment to enjoy Umpherston Sinkhole in a different light.
End the night with beers, bowling and some friendly competition at Kaboom Entertainment.
What better way to spend the morning than with a cruisy 3.6km walk around the famous Blue Lake. Enjoy remarkable views from the lookouts along the way. But first, coffee. Mount Gambier is a city of coffee lovers, with more than one boutique coffee shop to choose from. Grab a coffee to go on the way up to the lake.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head to Commercial Street for brunch at one of the many trendy cafes in town. With Presto Eatery serving up their mouth-watering Chilli Scrambled Eggs and Metro Bakery and Café satisfying sweet tooths with their Brioche French Toast, the choice is yours.
Across the road lies the Cave Garden, a sinkhole once known as Mount Gambier’s original water source. A good downpour of rain in the days before your arrival will guarantee an impressive view as the waterfall cascades down into the sinkhole.
Head next door to immerse yourself in South Australia’s largest regional art gallery, the Riddoch Arts and Cultural Centre. While you’re there catch one of the daily screenings of Volcano, The story of Earth, Fire and Water.
Ditch the car for the afternoon and explore the city on two wheels. Follow the 12.4km Rail Trail through the city or soak in some history on the City Heritage Trail. Free bike hire is available at the Mount Gambier Visitor Centre, Riddoch Arts and Cultural Centre and the
Mount Gambier Library.
The combination of pure limestone-filtered water, rich volcanic soil and cool climate delivers unique conditions for winemakers in the region. To enjoy a drop of Mount Gambier’s red and white specialties, visit local family-run cellar doors including Herbert Vineyard, Caroline Hills, Haig Vineyard and Noski Wines.
Head 10 minutes out of town for an evening of fine wine and beautifully aged steak at The Barn Steakhouse. Enjoy pre-dinner drinks in the Piano Bar before being seated for dinner.
Today the adventure lies just out of Mount Gambier, but first fuel up on your way out of town at ScRoll Queen. Whether you’re leaning towards their savoury cheese and chive scroll or sweet Tim Tam Scroll, you won’t be disappointed. Wash these sticky temptations down with a cup of coffee from Badenochs Deli next door.
Only 15 minutes from Mount Gambier lies Mount Schank, famous for being Australia’s youngest volcano. Take the 900m hike up to the top and continue around the rim or choose to rest and enjoy uninterrupted views of the surrounding landscape.
The next stop will have you feeling like you’re floating on air. Kilsby Sinkhole is rated as one of the best sinkhole dive sites in the world. Snorkel the surface to see the crystal-clear depths of this natural cenote. Not quite ready to take the plunge? Have your experience with two feet on the ground on an above the water tour.
If you can’t get enough of Mount Gambier’s natural cenotes, stop off at the Little Blue Lake on the way back to Mount Gambier for a dip. After a jam-packed day of exploring, check in for a night of glamping under the stars at Pine Country Caravan Park. Sit back and enjoy the sunset with a glass of local bubbles in hand.
Start your morning off with a dose of cuteness at Echo Farm. Follow the farm trail, meet the animals, chat to the farmers and step back in time as you explore the old outbuildings!
Spend your last few moments in Mount Gambier uncovering a couple of hidden gems, tucked away within the pine forests. Hells Hole and Caroline Sinkhole are the perfect places to take in the last of your cenote experience.
You’re not going to want to forget your camera on this trip. Remember to take your time, enjoy every moment and consider staying another day in Mount Gambier.
Feature image: Umpherston Sinkhole, Limestone Coast, South Australian Tourism Commission/Adam Bruzzone