Mount Gambier and the Blue Lake
(South Coast Departure)
Four Days: 27th – 30th November 2020
Twin Share: $1149 per person. Sole Use: $1295 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 and do. 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 drive through the stunning countryside that surrounds Nangwarry and the Coonawarra. This special break to the Limestone Coast is the perfect four day escape.
Day One – FRIDAY 27 NOVEMBER 2020
(includes light lunch and two course dinner)
After completing home pick-ups (limited areas*), we begin our journey by travelling through Currency Creek and Strathalbyn. After a comfort stop along the way, we continue to the Murray River and catch the ferry at Wellington.
Travelling south, we stop for morning tea at Meningie beside Lake Albert, before continuing to the South East, following 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. While here we take the opportunity for a drive around to see the variety of historic buildings and beautiful scenery this coastal town has to offer.
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 for the next three nights is at The Henty (Ph. 08 8725 5122) and we have the chance to unpack and settle into our comfortable rooms before coming together for dinner.
Day Two – SATURDAY 28 NOVEMBER 2020
(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and two 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.
We return to Mount Gambier and the Umpherston Sinkhole. Once a typical limestone cave formed through the corrosion of rocks due to the waves crashing against them, 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 a variety of other plants. There are great views from the top, or you can take the stairs down into the sinkhole to view the garden at closer range.
From here we drive south to the coast arriving at Port MacDonnell in time for lunch. This stretch of the coast 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 the coastline is rugged, with uninterrupted views, natural vegetation and a historical lighthouse site.
Before returning to Mount Gambier, we journey further north along the coast to Carpenter Rocks and take in more stunning views.
Back in Mount Gambier 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.
Late afternoon, there is time to relax at our accommodation before dinner.
Day Three – SUNDAY 29 NOVEMBER 2020
(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and two course dinner)
Mount Gambier is surrounded by Radiata Pine Forests. In fact, 80% of the state’s forest plantations grow here. The pine grows well in this area because of the high rainfall and good drainage in the soil. This morning 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.
After morning tea, we continue to Penola, the southern gateway to the Coonawarra region. We visit the Mary MacKillop Interpretive Centre and Woods MacKillop Schoolhouse, which commemorate the lives of Blessed Mary MacKillop and Father Julian Tenison Woods with displays, photographs, artefacts and history. These two special people founded the first free Catholic school for children of the poor. Here in the Interpretive Centre, we can learn about this legacy that still lives on, as well as about Penola and the district. The schoolhouse is a heritage-listed building which is now exhibited as a schoolroom of the 1860s with living quarters at the rear.
After lunch 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.
On our journey back to Mount Gambier we detour to Glencoe. In the 1840’s, the Leake brothers came to South Australia from Tasmania and brought with them Saxon Merino sheep. They established a sheep shearing station and later in 1863, built the Glencoe Woolshed. The building still stands today and was never upgraded to a mechanised shearing shed, making it the ideal location for a museum to commemorate the early pioneer pastoralists.
We arrive back in Mount Gambier with time to relax before dinner on the final night of our tour.
Day Four – MONDAY 30 NOVEMBER 2020
(includes cooked breakfast and two course lunch)
It is time to farewell our hosts in Mount Gambier and return home. We travel back through Penola and the vineyards of the Coonawarra region, this time stopping at Father Woods Park. Here we see the work of Kevin Gilders in a series of sculptures dedicated to the memory of Farther Julian Tenison Woods
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 our two course lunch.
The afternoon takes us along the Dukes Highway, through Tintinara and Coonalpyn, where we pass the silo mural, and onto Tailem Bend, where we stop to stretch our legs. Before long we are travelling on the South Eastern Freeway. Turning off at Callington, we travel through Woodchester and Strathalbyn on our way back home, after a relaxing break in such a beautiful part of South Australia.