This much-photographed landmark changes colour as summer approaches, switching from a steel grey blue hue to dazzling cobalt blue in November.
Experts attribute this phenomenon to the presence of microscopic calcite crystals which “scatter” the light entering the lake, and change seasonally. A chemical reaction occurs in early summer when the surface water is warmed, but the deeper water remains cold.
The crystal clear water of the Blue Lake has been filtered through limestone, passing slowly beneath the city and serves as the city’s water supply.
Walk or drive around the rim of the lake, stopping at the many lookouts along the way. At only 3.6km, it is an easy 45 minute walk.
Drive down a volcano crater to the Valley Lakes Recreation Area. While picturesque year-round, the area is majestic in autumn when the flame-like trees put on a spectacular show. Enjoy an array of activities including the free conservation park, nature walks, adventure playground, water sports and disc golf.
Bring a picnic and discover Brownes Lake. This was the site of Mount Gambier’s original botanic gardens and the area is picturesque all year round, but especially in Autumn. You’ll find covered shelters and 16 free gas barbecues within well-kept picnic areas.
This crater is only about 4,600 year old, the youngest crater in the Mount Gambier system. In the late 1800’s this area was the nursery for the then Mount Gambier forest, it was where the first Pinus Radiata was planted which now dominates forestry in South East of South Australia.
Today it is an inviting area at any time of year, with flora and fauna changing with the seasons. Although not a naturally vegetated area it has a wealth of exotic plantings over the years and is the most attractive and accessible park in the area.
An invigorating walk to Centenary Tower offers a birds-eye view of this unique landscape, as you decide where to start exploring the area. On a clear day enjoy breathtaking views of the sand dunes and ocean in the distance.
The Centenary Tower commemorates the naming and discovery of Mount Gambier by Lieutenant James Grant in December 1800. Grant undertook the first eastwards passage along the southern coast of Australia in the HMS Lady Nelson. He sighted and named Gambier’s Mountain (Mount Gambier) from the deck of his ship.
The Little Blue Lake is a popular venue for visitors and locals to enjoy a naturally cool swim in a beautiful natural water filled cenote. 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 Little Blue Lake is located in the Kanawinka volcanic area between two dormant volcanoes, Mount Schank and Mount Gambier. The cenote’s name is attributed to the fact that its water used to turn blue in colour on an annual basis similar to Mount Gambier’s Blue Lake, however in more recent times the cenote 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.
This volcano dominates the skyline south of Mount Gambier, and a 15-minute drive from the Blue Lake city will deliver you to the base of the cone.
Dubbed Australia’s ‘youngest’ volcano despite erupting 4500-5000 years ago, visitors can climb hundreds of steps to enjoy sweeping 360-degree views of the surrounding landscape with its richly textured patchwork of fertile paddocks and the ocean beyond.
A basic trail traces around the top of the crater and descends deep within the dormant landmark.