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Descend into an underground oasis – Mount Gambier’s Umpherston Sinkhole – on a three-day road trip through South Australia’s Limestone Coast. From a mysterious azure lake to prehistoric caves and volcanoes, the Limestone Coast is home to some of South Australia’s most spectacular natural wonders. Grab your explorer’s hat and start the journey.
ARRIVE AT ROBE
Three-and-a-half hours’ drive away from Adelaide or six hours’ drive away from Melbourne lies the seaside town of Robe. Boasting beautiful beaches, a stunning range of boutiques, restaurants and high-end accommodation, Robe has something for everyone, whether you’re arriving in a Range Rover or trusty Commodore.
Stay the night at Aloha Robe and wake up with a morning stroll along Long Beach stretching 14km of sandy-white bliss or drive right on to the sand and spend the day enjoying the surf. Take a quick dip, then stroll along the beautiful Obelisk Coastal Trail, passing Robe’s historic Old Gaol Ruins, jetty and marina.
Cool off at Robe Town Brewery, then grab dinner
Robe is close to a number of great wineries, but for a truly unique drinking experience, you can’t go past the Robe Town Brewery. Under the eaves of the hand-made cobbled brew house, beer is made in true ye olde style with straw filtration, wood-fired kettles and open fermentation. Their limited release Moby Dick Ambergris Ale (not for the faint-hearted) is made with ambergris – the secretion that forms in the gut of a sperm whale to assist with digestion. Enjoy.
Post-beer, sample the smorgasbord of local seafood on offer (Robe is famed for its crayfish) or tuck into a well-deserved feast at Robe’s Vic Street Pizza.
VISIT MOUNT GAMBIER'S BLUE LAKE AND UMPHERSTON SINKHOLE
Spend your morning discovering geological wonders in Mount Gambier, just an hour-and-a-half’s drive away from Robe. Once an active volcano, the 72-metre-deep Blue Lake is now filled with cobalt water which mysteriously changes shade during spring. Walking trails surround the lake, enticing you to get out of your car and experience its striking blue water up-close.
Mount Gambier’s Umpherston Sinkhole is a beautiful sunken garden, right in the middle of town. Once an underground limestone cave, a giant crater was formed when the chamber’s roof collapsed many years ago. Over time, the sinkhole was transformed into a picturesque garden. It is now blanketed with flowers, plants and lush green grass.
VISIT THE PICCANINNIE PONDS CONSERVATION PARK OR THE NARACOORTE CAVES
A trip to the Limestone Coast wouldn't be complete without a visit to the Naracoorte Caves. Join a guided tour, where you’ll be led through underground chambers dripping with glistening stalactites and stalagmites. Feast your eyes on fascinating fossils and limestone formations or kick things up a notch with an adventure caving tour.
Alternatively, explore the spectacular underwater world of the Piccaninnie Ponds, just over 20 minutes’ drive away from Mount Gambier. The National Park contains three diving hotspots, all fed by crystal-clear natural springs. The ‘First Pond’ is about 10 metres deep with lush surroundings. The ‘Cathedral’ is an enclosed area with a depth of 35 metres, while the gigantic ‘Chasm’ is an incredible 100 metres deep. Please note, you’ll need a diving licence to snorkel or scuba dive.
SIP AND SAVOUR THE COONAWARRA
Known affectionately as Australia’s other Red Centre, the Coonawarra’s limestone-rich terra rossa soil produces world-famous cabernet sauvignon and shiraz. Despite its small size, the region boasts over 24 cellar doors. Spend the best part of a day sipping at Rymill Coonawarra and Katnook Coonawarra Cellar Door.
TASTE THE LEGEND AT MAYURA STATION
The Limestone Coast’s gentle rolling hills and lush green pastures produce unparalleled-quality, award-winning Wagyu beef. At Mayura Station, diners can indulge in The Tasting Room, where they’ll learn tricks of the trade from the chef before tucking into the most exclusive cuts, usually unavailable for purchase in Australia due to overseas demand.
Three days is just enough time to take-in the Limestone Coast’s natural wonders, but there’s so much more to explore. Check out our Limestone Coast essentials below and extend your stay.