The Limestone Coast – South Australia

Beach – Adventure – Exploration – Wine……..

Spend at least a weeks on the Limestone Coast of South Australia. The contrast of things to do here from relaxing on the idyllic beaches, wine tasting in the Coonawarra wine region to exploring the amazing geological formations means you will be busy for many days.

Credit - kaZKaptureZ

credit – KaZKaptureZ

Located about halfway between Adelaide and Melbourne it can be part of a road trip between the 2 capitals. Whatever approach you take this is a truly fascinating part of Australia.

Don’t forget to pay your respects to the traditional custodians of the land, past, present and emerging.

The Beaches

Robe

Credit – Mark Fitzpatrick

The town of Robe is a 3.5 hours drive from Adelaide.  It’s a nice place to start or finish your trip to the Limestone Coast. It’s a great place to relax and enjoy a magnificent beach. Long Beach is a 14km long white beach popular with 4WD enthusiasts.  It’s a great place to take a surfing lesson, walk, build sandcastles and reconnect with nature.

There are great restaurants, especially Seafood, as well as its own Robe Town Brewery.  Make sure you visit the Caledonian Pub, voted the best in South Australia, it’s pretty special.

Customs House Museum – is a little bit of Robe history

Take in Cape Dombey Obelisk on walks around the town.

Where to Stay – There are four great Caravan Parks, all in key locations.  Robe is a really popular destination so pre-book

 

Beachport

Credit – S.A. Tourism/Adam Bruzzone

 

Historically a Whaling town with a rich history and some architectural heritage to admire. But, it’s still a beach holiday destination first and foremost.  Beachport is surrounded by water on three sides, Rivoli Bay, the Southern Ocean and Lake George, it’s a place for surfing, 4WDing, fishing and walking. Beauty abounds.

 

 

Where to stay – There are 2 well positions Tourist Parks, book ahead.

Geological Curiosities  – The Mount Gambier Area

Limestone being a soluble rock means this area of South Australia is peppered with underground caves, sinkholes and volcanic lakes.  Limestone also makes for great drainage and in the Coonawarra where the thin layer of iron-oxide rich topsoil (terra rossa) drains to the limestone base you will find the perfect environment for making world-renowned Cabernet Sauvignon wines.

Sinkholes –  from gardens to lakes.

Umpherston Sunken garden                                                                                        Sinkhole gardens are formed when the roof chamber of an underground cavern collapses taking the topsoil with it, in the case of Umpherston it drains well so the environment for an amazing garden is created.  In 1886 James Umpherston cultivated a sinkhole on the outskirts of Mount Gambier township and created an amazing experience for locals and tourists alike. Have a picnic on the floor of the Sinkhole and save some fruit to feed the possum colony at dusk.  This is a super special destination.

 

Cave Gardens – in the centre of Mount Gambier is another manicured sinkhole and has a terrific viewing platform, in wet weather a waterfall springs to life.

Kilsby Sinkhole – only 15 minutes outside Mt Gambier, this sinkhole is full of water,  if you enjoy snorkelling or diving this is the sinkhole for you.

Caves – stalactites, fossils and diving, something for everyone.

Naracoorte – One of the worlds most important fossil sites, Naracoorte Caves are World Heritage-listed.  Palaeontologists have excavated many layers of fossils, spaning from the ice age to the arrival of humans.

Four of the 28 caves in the area are open to the public and many others are still being researched.  Some have outstanding stalactites and stalagmites, others are fossil caves with reconstructed bones of megafauna, visit the Wonambi Fossil Centre. The advice here is to take a guided tour, it’s really worth the investment.

Tantanoola – Set into the side of cliffs that were once part of the coastline,  see the remanence of prehistoric sea life.  The same advice applies here – do the guided tour!

Engelbrecht – If you are game, you can dive in some of the caves and sinkholes,  some are for novice divers others only for experienced divers.  Engelbrecht Cave is recognised as being a good general use cave.  These are fascinating unique experiences but only for the fit and healthy.

Crater Lakes 

 

limestone coast SA – credit – @Mitch.Toft

Blue Lake, Little Blue Lake and Valley Lakes – are all easy drives from Mount Gambier.  Blue Lake, the crater of a dormant volcano is the water supply for Mount Gambier.  It has a scenic 3.6km / 45min rim walk to enjoy the scenery.  The waters of both Blue Lakes is a crystal clear azure blue.  Little Blue Lake is an extremely popular local swimming spot.  Valley Lakes the home of the original Mout Gambier Botanical Gardens,  is a great crater for picnicking and swim in Brownes Lake.

 

Mount Schank – If you are fit enough head to Mount Schank, only 15 minutes from Blue Lake, walk up the 100’s to steps to the top of the cone for a 360-degree view of the region.

 

 

 

Wine – Coonawarra region.

The unique soil of the Limestone coast offers conditions that produce the best Cabernet-Sauvignon in the country.

Wynns Estate, Petaluma, Riddoch, Redman, Bowen Estate and Katnook are all famous names you may be familiar with but there are many many more cellar doors to visit on your stay here.

Combine your wine tasting with lunch and dinner at the winery restaurants along the way,  don’t look at your scales for a while!!

 

 

Convinced?  Pack your bags, grab a Motorhome and explore.

 

 

Shelley Richardson

Shelley has been working in the travel industry for over 30 years, in aviation, for tour operators and for the last three years for DriveNow. Having travelled extensively worldwide, alone, as a couple and with her family, Shelley has experience to share about how to make the most of your holiday

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