Situated almost halfway between Melbourne and Adelaide, Mount Gambier is part of the Limestone Coast and is known for its abundance of volcanic craters and beautiful blue lakes. Mount Gambier offers a great mid-way point to stop and relax for a couple of days, where you can experience all it has to offer.
If you need ideas or inspiration on how to spend a weekend in Mount Gambier, explore our take on what you can get up to in 48 hours.
9.30am – Start the day off right with brunch
To begin the day, we recommend a brunch and coffee at Pesto Eatery right in the centre of Mt Gambier, run by two locals – Josslyn and Lucy. Our favourite menu pick is the Knefeh French toast, complete with orange and honey syrup, pistachios and florals (for that perfect Instagram shot!).
11am – Be impressed by the Engelbrecht Caves
Divers from all over the world have visited the Engelbrecht Caves and once you’re there you will see why. From the top it looks like a national park but once you take the stairs down into the cave, you’ll be amazed by the historic rock formations, the intricate maze of water-filled passages and array of secret tunnels. On that note, you don’t need to be an experienced diver to take a walking tour around the caves and explore this geological wonderland.
2pm – Visit the Blue Lake and all its glory
The Blue Lake in Mt Gambier is the biggest crater lake in South Australia, stretching over 1km wide and is estimated to be up to 74 metres deep. There is a 3.4km walking trail stretching around the lake that’s suitable for any type of fitness, and definitely worth it for the sensational views.
6pm – Wine down at Macs Hotel
It’s been a big day and what better way to end it with a glass of wine or beverage of your choice at Macs Hotel. Macs Hotel is filled with rich history and was originally opened in 1864 but has since been updated with an eclectic dining space and an outdoor cider bar. If you head there on a Friday or Saturday, you can also take advantage of their 2-4-1 cocktails offer!
As you aren’t able to go swimming in the Blue Lake, head just a few kilometres south of Mt Gambier to the Little Blue Lake, where you can jump in and have a swim. Be mindful of your surroundings though, as Lifeguards don’t patrol the area.
Fun fact: Mt Gambier actually sits right on top of an inactive volcano, giving the town its name, as well as the picturesque volcanic landscape of lakes, sinkholes, and unique limestone attractions.
8.30am – Climb high at the Centenary Tower
The Centenary Tower boasts uninterrupted, 360-degree views and is the most popular viewpoint in Mount Gambier. With a view not to be missed, once you reach the top you’ll be able to see the Blue Lake, an abundance of other volcanic crates and if it’s a clear day, the ocean and sand dunes along the Limestone Coast.
11am – Experience the beauty of the Tantanoola caves
While the Tantanoola caves are about 25-minutes out of the main town in Mount Gambier, they are certainly worth the drive. Set into a cliff face, these caves were formed by the ocean waves’ constant thrashing against the rocks over thousands of years, which has left a spectacular formation of shells, pebbles and seal bones into its edges.
1pm – It’s lunch time at Cafe Melzar
Located in the heart of Mt Gambier, Cafe Melzar are happy to have you if you can grab a table, as it seems to be everyone’s favourite! If you’re having trouble deciding on what to pick, we recommend the open steak sandwich which is a bit on the fancier side with grilled haloumi and a chardonnay caper dressing.
2.30pm – Jump into the Umpherston Sinkhole
Not literally, but you can take in the size and depth of the Umpherston Sinkhole from the viewing stands at the top, then walk down into the sinkhole and amongst the striking and impressive sunken garden that has been flourishing since the 1800’s. If you hang around until dusk, you can feed the frenzy of possums fresh fruit who are friendly enough to take it right from your hands.
4pm – Have an afternoon siesta at the Valley Lake picnic area
Located on the edge of the Valley Lake, you’ll find a huge, grassed picnic area with covered shelters, 16 free gas barbecues and a playground. You can enjoy water sports, the cricket net facilities, or a kick of a footy with your family. However after a busy couple of days, lying in the sunshine with panoramic views doesn’t sound like such a bad idea either.
Need a place to stay?
Book your stay at the Comfort Inn The Lakes, located on the edge of the Crater Lakes in Mount Gambier with spectacular views over the city. If you feel like staying in, enjoy amenities such as the on-site gym, heated indoor pool and spa, or indulge in an internationally-inspired cuisine while overlooking the city at Thyme @ The Lakes restaurant.