What is this cave system that runs under Engelbrecht Cave all about?
On a sunny Sunday afternoon I thought I’d go and find out for myself about the mysteries under the city of Mount Gambier
And I thought well the only place for this is by going on an Engelbrecht cave tour.
Jumping on the last tour of the day at 2pm I went exploring the underworld of Mount Gambier, this unique cave was found by a local gentleman by the name of Carl Engelbrecht. He purchased the land and thinking that the sinkhole was man made, turned it into a rubbish dumb eekkkk! I couldn’t believe it.
Thankfully in 1979 the Lions Club of Mount Gambier took on the mammoth task of cleaning out 100 years’ worth of rubbish, which took them 3 years to get to the state it is today.
Once we all walked down the stairs to the bottom of the sink hole we had a look up through the solution tube to the sky above, these were formed many thousands, even millions of years ago from the rain and acids in the air and water to form amazing big holes in the limestone, I had to stick my head in have a look up through it.
The guide spoke about what we were still standing on which was still tons of old Mount Gambier’s long gone residents rubbish, which over time has been transformed into a small oasis
Into the East cave we go and looking at the way that the underground aquifer has been flowing slowly through the Limestone carving patterns a swirls, looks great.
Not going to far underground and seeing the amazing world beneath the city is defiantly worth a look the new platform takes you closer to the underground lake, and to my surprise there were four cave dives just coming out of the water, who were more than happy to answer any questions that my fellows travelers and I might have had. In the water the divers looked weightless and graceful. Not so much as they were climbing to get out wearing all their gear tanks etc.
After the excitement of the east cave, we then came out again and waked down into the west cave, this cave is best known for advanced cave diving, with diver Dave on the roof to show us all what these brave or slightly crazy divers have to wear before adventuring into the depths, By the looks of the small gap that the divers have to go down into I can see why.
This cave has also got an interesting tale to tell, the guide pointed to a great big solution tube in the middle of the cave where Mr. Engelbrecht again assuming the hole was man made dumbed the waste from his distillery and also the offal from local butchers into the cave, I still can’t believe this was a common practice wow!
The guide also points out some of the old wagon wheels, cow bones and old bottles from times gone by.
We finally make our way out of the West cave back to the top of the sink hole to the café, even though this cave system doesn’t have any stalactites or stalagmites that I thought every limestone cave would have, (so jump on a tour to find out why), I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Engelbrecht cave and my adventure underground in the Heart of Mount Gambier.
By: Mandy, a local who loves to explore