Christmas in the South East
Five Days: 23rd – 27th December 2019
Twin Share: $1695 per person. Sole Use: $1895 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.
The Limestone Coast of South Australia offers an idyllic combination of stunning coastline, natural wonders, tempting local produce and a rich, vibrant history, the perfect location for a Christmas tour with friends. We base ourselves in Naracoorte, at the heart of the Limestone Coast and explore the surrounding areas. From the beautiful beaches of the coastal towns of Robe and Beachport, to the World Heritage Listed fossils of Naracoorte Caves, this tour offers a diverse range of memorable experiences. So join us as we discover the treasures of the beautiful south east region and celebrate Christmas with Endeavour Tours.
Day One – MONDAY 23 DECEMBER 2019
(includes light lunch and three course dinner)
After completing home pick-ups (limited areas*), we begin our journey by travelling through the Mount Lofty Ranges. We stop for morning tea at Tailem Bend before continuing on towards the Tatiara. Travelling through Coonalpyn and Tintinara we reach the small farming town of Keith where we enjoy a light lunch.
We continue south through beautiful wine country on our way to our destination at Naracoorte, which lies in the centre of the Limestone Coast region, and makes the perfect base for our exploration of the area.
On arrival, we call into the Visitor Information Centre, housed in an 1870’s flour mill. As well as the centre and craft shop, we will find the Sheep’s Back Museum which tells the stories of the Australian wool industry, its people and their importance in the Naracoorte/Lucindale district. There is also the Big Shed, which houses the ‘Robotic Shearer’, a rather unique piece of technology developed in South Australia. It represents the climax of the evolution of technology in the shearing industry over 200 years. We have time to browse the centre and museums, as well as the Limestone Landscapes Gallery which explains how the natural landscape has developed and influenced Aboriginal and European activities.
At the conclusion of our visit, we make our way to our accommodation for the next four nights at the William MacIntosh Motor Lodge (Ph. 08 8762 1644). We will have time to unpack and settle in before coming together for our three course dinner.
Day Two – TUESDAY 24 DECEMBER 2019
(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)
After breakfast, we journey south out of Naracoorte, detouring to the famous Naracoorte Caves National Park, South Australia’s only World Heritage listed area. It was officially recognised in 1994 for its extensive fossil record and is one of the world’s most important fossil sites. The caves, acting as pitfall traps and roosting sites, preserved the bones of mega fauna that became extinct thousands of years ago. It is Australia’s most complete fossil record spanning several ice ages, the arrival of humans and the extinction of mega fauna.
Here we have the opportunity for a self-guided tour through one of the caves or for those not keen to go underground, a look around the Wonambi Fossil Centre. The caves, remain at a constant temperature of 17 degrees and are quite accessible, yet they have an ‘out-of-this-world’ quality about them, with majestic limestone columns, stalactites hanging from the ceiling and glimpses of sunlight through the chambers.
After enjoying morning tea, we journey towards Penola, the southern gateway to the Coonawarra region. Along the way, we stop at Father Woods Park to view the magnificent wood sculptures. Carved by chain-saw, they were created by artist Kevin Gilders as a memorial to Father Julian Tenison Woods, who served in the Penola region in the mid 1800’s, co-founding the Sisters of St Joseph with Mary MacKillop.
On arrival in Penola, we enjoy lunch and visit the Mary MacKillop Interpretive Centre and Woods MacKillop Schoolhouse, which commemorate the lives of Blessed Mary MacKillop and Father Julian Tenison Woods. These two special people also co-founded the first free Catholic school for children of the poor and we can learn about their legacy, plus discover more about Penola and the surrounding district. The Interpretive Centre has a variety of displays, photographs, artefacts and history for us to browse and the schoolhouse is a heritage-listed building which is now exhibited as a schoolroom of the 1860s with living quarters at the rear.
This afternoon we drive through the famous Coonawarra wine-growing district. Based on a cigar-shaped strip of land, the secret of this area lies in a magical combination of rich, red terra rossa soil, pure underground water and a long, cool ripening season. This gives rise to wines known and respected throughout the world for their unique flavour and quality. We visit Wynn’s Coonawarra Estate, the oldest winery in the region, founded in 1896. Here we enjoy a tasting at their award winning cellar door.
We return to our accommodation with much to talk about over dinner this evening.
Day Three – WEDNESDAY 25 DECEMBER 2019
(includes cooked breakfast, traditional Christmas lunch and light evening meal)
Merry Christmas to all! We wake to a special day of fun, friendship and relaxation!
For those who wish, there is an opportunity to attend local Christmas Day church services this morning. Others can spend some free time strolling the parks and beautiful setting of Naracoorte, or perhaps enjoy an easy morning relaxing at the motel.
At lunch time we gather together for a magnificent three course meal prepared by our hosts in the motel restaurant. Our Christmas lunch will have all the decorations and traditional trimmings and will be a wonderful feast to enjoy with friends!
Full and contented we enjoy some scenic touring around the region with our tour driver this afternoon. Just south of Naracoorte is one of the largest and most diverse freshwater lagoon systems in southern Australia. Bool Lagoon is a seasonal wetland home to a wide range of wildlife and provides refuge from droughts for over 150 species of birds, many of which are rare and endangered. We drive around here and Hacks Lagoon that adjoins the main basin of Bool Lagoon Game Reserve.
Returning to our accommodation, there will be time to relax before dinner. Our meal this evening will be a light dinner and a lovely end to a spectacular Christmas Day!
Day Four – THURSDAY 26 DECEMBER 2019
(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)
This morning we head to the coast once more, but en-route, we will stop at the peaceful regional town of Millicent. This prosperous and vibrant town has become a significant rural centre with its increasing number of farmlands, timber industries and horticulture. Just out of Millicent is Lake McIntyre, a native wildlife and vegetation reserve that was created from an old quarry. This man-made lake attracts a number of native and migratory birds and has boardwalks and viewing areas where you can stop to admire the scenery.
We continue our journey to the southern end of Rivoli Bay and the aptly named village of Southend. This was the first seaport in the Limestone Coast and it now hosts one of the largest fleet of Rock Lobster fishing vessels in the region. Southend also attracts holiday makers with its beautiful white sandy beaches.
At the opposite end of Rivoli Bay is Beachport, a sheltered area where local fishing boats are moored. The town is known for having the second longest jetty in South Australia, which at 772 metres, was necessary because of the shallow waters in the Bay. We’ll take a look around the town and journey along the Bowman Scenic Drive with its spectacular views of the rugged coastline. This drive also takes us past the Pool of Siloam, said to be seven times saltier than the ocean. This unique lake is known for its unusual buoyancy and reputation for healing.
As we continue our journey north along the coast, we reach the town of Robe on Guichen Bay. Once the third largest port in South Australia, it is now a favourite holiday destination, with pristine swimming beaches and spectacular cliff top scenery.
We enjoy lunch on arrival before our driver takes us on a tour of the town. The town boasts an array of historic buildings, including the Old Gaol which held prisoners until 1881, Karatta House and the Ormorod Cottages, all circa 1860. The Robe Lighthouse is a star-shaped concrete tower which was built in 1972 to replace the now defunct Cape Jaffa Lighthouse near Kingston. Nearby we view the 160 year old Obelisk which was a safety beacon for generations of south east mariners. The obelisk was built in 1855, after about 30 individual ships came to grief in Robe’s notorious Guichen Bay in 1853. The distinctive red and white striped pyramid was visible from 16 kilometres away and guided fishermen and their vessels to safety. The beaches around this area and the views over the ocean are also spectacular.
Before departing Robe, we’ll call into Beacon Hill Lookout Tower, originally an old navigational point. Built as part of Robe’s 150 Jubilee year celebrations, the tower offers stunning views across the town to the ocean and bay.
Mid-afternoon we relax and enjoy the journey back to Naracoorte.
Day Five – FRIDAY 27 DECEMBER 2019
(includes cooked breakfast and two course lunch)
After breakfast we farewell our hosts here in Naracoorte to begin our journey home. We travel west until we reach the coast at Cape Jaffa, where the headland boasts some wonderful coastal views. The settlement is located on the north side of the headland overlooking Lacepede Bay and includes a jetty and a marina development.
From here we continue along the coast to Kingston SE, on the foreshore of Lacapede Bay. The most striking feature of this holiday town is the historic Cape Jaffa Lighthouse. Originally built on Margaret Brock Reef off Cape Jaffa, it was deactivated in 1973 when a new lighthouse at Robe began operation and the lighthouse tower was moved to its present location in 1976 where it became a museum.
We’ll enjoy morning tea before farewelling ‘Larry’ the giant lobster and continuing north towards home. As we travel alongside the Coorong through Salt Creek and Policeman Point, we’ll marvel at the vast wetland ecosystem that consists of freshwater lakes, estuaries and saline lagoons. Travelling along the Princes Highway, we arrive in Meningie, where our two course lunch will be waiting for us.
This afternoon’s drive takes us to Tailem Bend where we have a comfort stop before continuing towards home. On arrival in Adelaide we are taken to our homes with memories of fantastic scenery on our wonderful Christmas holiday in the state’s beautiful and diverse south east.