Known for its vintage wines, beautiful scenery and spectacular sinkhole diving opportunities, Mount Gambier is one of Australia’s finest inland holiday destinations.
The major natural attraction of the town is its extraordinary sinkholes. These natural features descend far into the ground, and many are filled with water, making them perfect for scuba exploration. Be sure to secure the services of a guide before diving though.
The region’s wineries are another intoxicating attraction. Visitors to Mount Gambier can easily reach the prestigious Penola and Coonawarra regions, where they can taste local wines with the expert assistance of the producers themselves.
The region offers plenty of other outdoor attractions as well. Try paintballing, picnic by the waters of Blue Lake (located in a volcanic crater), rent mountain bikes or tackle the slopes of Mount Schank.
For families, the town offers constant excitement. There is a fine bowling alley, the cultural appeal of the Sir Robert Helpmann Theatre as well as the cinema at the Oatmill Centre. During October, the town also hosts a lively funfair and cultural show, with rides and music for all the family to enjoy.
The wildlife park at Mount Gambier is also a great way to get to know the animal and plant life of Australia, providing a chance to get close to world-famous locals such as koala bears. The Cave Garden is another fine attraction – hosting light and sound shows every night where visitors can hear Aboriginal “dreamtime” stories in a beautiful natural setting.
Mount Gambier is also a boating centre, providing even more chances to relax. Hire a boat and cruise the peaceful waters of Blue Lake or take a cruise down the River Glenelg. There are also a number of charter fishing companies who will arrange for local guides to take you out from harbours like Port MacDonnell.
Most people will prefer to visit Mount Gambier during South Australia’s dry season, which lasts from approximately May to September. During this time, the temperature will be mild to warm, and rainfall will be minimal. Bargains can be secured in May before the outback season really starts. Alternatively, the “wet season” from November to February will be very warm, but not too wet – if you can deal with extreme heat.
In Australia, renting a car is recommended due to the distance between attractions and Mount Gambier is no exception. However, if you don’t mind being limited to nearby caves and parks, then taxis will be perfectly adequate, and the town itself is small enough to walk around easily.