Mount Gambier and the Blue Lake
Four Days: 25th – 28th November 2019
Twin Share: $1149 per person. Sole Use: $1265 per person.
- Home pick-ups & set downs (most metro areas – please contact us for details)
- Picnic-style morning teas & all meals as per the itinerary
- All accommodation & admissions to all attractions
- Experienced & informative tour driver/guide.
Nestled on a picturesque volcanic landscape and surrounded by vast pine tree plantations, Mt Gambier is a beautiful place to relax and explore. From the still waters of the lake to the rugged coast at Cape Northumberland, there is no shortage of things to see. At this time of year, the Lake takes on its brilliant blue colour and we enjoy one of the best views possible. We also make the most of Spring with a visit to the spectacular gardens at the Umpherston Sinkhole and a scenic luncheon cruise on the Glenelg River. This special break to the Limestone Coast is the perfect four day escape.
Day One – MONDAY 25 NOVEMBER 2019
(includes light lunch and three course dinner)
After completing home pick-ups (limited areas*), we begin our festive journey by travelling through the Mount Lofty Ranges to the Murray River. We stop for morning tea at Tailem Bend before turning south and travelling through Meningie beside Lake Albert, then along the shores of the Coorong.
We reach Kingston SE in time for our light lunch, before a pleasant afternoon’s drive takes us to the popular seaside town of Robe. We take the opportunity to drive around to see the variety of historic buildings and beautiful scenery before continuing.
Continuing our journey, we pass through Millicent before reaching the city of Mount Gambier, nestled on a picturesque volcanic landscape and surrounded by vast pine tree plantations.
Our accommodation is at the Comfort Inn Silver Birch (Ph. 08 8725 5122). As we are staying here for the entire time, we have the chance to unpack and settle into our comfortable rooms before coming together for dinner.
Day Two — TUESDAY 26 NOVEMBER 2019
(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)
The famous Blue Lake is the largest of a number of crater lakes in the area and is the water supply for Mount Gambier’s population. This morning we head out for a fascinating Blue Lake Aquifer Tour which takes visitors in a glass-panelled lift down the original dolomite well shaft (from which water was originally extracted), and then through a tunnel to see the Blue Lake at close proximity. We will learn about the hydrology of Mount Gambier’s water supply, the aquifer system and hear the interesting stories of local history, European settlement, folklore and Aboriginal legend.
After the tour we head to Valley Lake, the second largest crater and a lovely spot for our morning tea.
Upon leaving the crater we head south east out of Mount Gambier and just a short distance over the Victorian border, we reach Nelson. It is here that the Glenelg River, which flows through the Lower Glenelg National Park, enters the Southern Ocean. We have a splendid two hour luncheon cruise in a fully enclosed boat, travelling upstream as this beautiful river meanders over the South Australian/Victorian border.
After disembarking, we drive back into South Australia and along the coast to Port MacDonnell. The limestone coast here is spectacular, and we enjoy a scenic drive through the Cape Northumberland Heritage and Nature Park. This is South Australia’s most southerly point and has a rugged coastline with natural vegetation, uninterrupted views and a historical lighthouse site.
This afternoon we visit Dingley Dell – the former home of poet Adam Lindsay Gordon. The curator will entertain us with some of the late poet’s work, as we learn about his wild adventures and see the restored cottage in which he lived.
The return journey to our accommodation is through pretty farming country, passing Mount Schank rising over the edge of Mount Gambier itself. On arrival we can relax before dinner and a good night’s rest.
Day Three — WEDNESDAY 27 NOVEMBER 2019
(includes cooked breakfast, picnic lunch and three course dinner)
After breakfast we visit the Umpherston Sinkhole, also known as ‘The Sunken Garden’. It was once a cave formed through dissolution of the limestone, then the sinkhole was created when the top of the chamber collapsed downwards. Now the topsoil on the floor of the cave forms the perfect environment for this unique sunken garden. It features beautiful terraced gardens with ferns, hydrangeas and lots of other plants.
After morning tea we visit the Lady Nelson Discovery Centre where we learn about the history of the area, and how it was before European settlement. There is also an under-sea world where visitors can see marine creatures and a variety of interactive displays.
Following our visit we head west to the coast at Carpenters Rocks to enjoy our picnic lunch with a stunning view.
Mount Gambier is surrounded by Radiata Pine Forests; in fact 80% of the state’s forest plantations grow here. Radiata pine has grown well in this area because of the high rainfall and good drainage in the soil. This afternoon we visit the Nangwarry Forestry and Logging Museum which covers all aspects of the timber industry and provides a well-presented insight into the history and importance that forestry has in the area. This museum features a fascinating array of mill machinery and fire-fighting equipment from a bygone era with displays which also include many historical artefacts, maps and photographs. We have a short talk and some free time for a wander around the exhibits.
We take a scenic drive back to Mount Gambier for dinner together on the final night of our tour.
Day Four — THURSDAY 28 NOVEMBER 2019
(includes cooked breakfast and two course lunch)
It is time to farewell our hosts in Mount Gambier and return home. We travel through plantations on the way to Penola before entering the famous Coonawarra wine region and the Father Woods Park. We’ll make a short stop here to appreciate the sculptures by Kevin Gilders, which are dedicated to the memory of Farther Julian Tenison Woods, who served in the Penola region in the mid 1800’s and co-founded the Sisters of St Joseph with Mary MacKillop.
We continue our journey, travelling through fertile farming country to Naracoorte, and it is here that we pause for morning tea.
The beautiful countryside continues as we travel north, passing through Padthaway and on to Keith for a hearty two-course lunch.
The afternoon takes us along the Dukes Highway, through Tintinara and Coonalpyn before having a comfort stop at Tailem Bend. Before long we are travelling through the Adelaide Hills and back to our homes, after a relaxing Christmas break in such a beautiful part of South Australia.