We found the southern rural town of Millicent to be an excellent base for exploring the South Australian Limestone Coast and the nearby Coonawarra wineries. Within the town itself we discovered Lake McIntyre conservation area, one of two man made lakes.
Millicent is a major rural centre, servicing the surrounding farmlands, the regional timber industry and a large manufacturing plant. It is a typical South Australian country town, with a mix of beautiful old limestone homes and newer houses. We enjoyed driving around the wide streets admiring these graceful old buildings, many of which have been lovingly restored.
The quintessential Aussie pub stands on the customary corner. The Somerset hotel dates back to 1872. Over its history it has served as the local pub, a school and a courthouse. Today it is the perfect place to escape the searing summer heat for a cooling beverage and a relaxed counter meal.
During the summer months, the town congregates at the man made swimming lake. Set in leafy parkland, the lake has a created beach and a safe toddlers pool. The perfect place to cool off on a hot summers day, take in the sun and enjoy a picnic.
Manmade swimming lake at Millicent
Lake McIntyre Nature Reserve.
Hidden away on the outskirts of town we discovered Lake McIntyre, a conservation project which is ongoing through the work of council and local volunteers.
The beautiful native vegetation and wildlife reserve is the perfect place for a picnic and to take in a little wildlife spotting.
The project began with rehabilitation of an old quarry area, creating a lake which draws water from the naturally occurring water table. The project is ongoing, with plans to further rehabilitate a second quarry.
Lake McIntyre is a sanctuary for 50 species of water birds
Lake McIntyre has become sanctuary for the prolific bird life in the area. With over 50 species of both resident and migratory water birds, access to the lake itself is not available to the public.
However, a boardwalk and bridge take you from the main picnic area on a 20 minute walk around the lake. From the viewing platforms along the walk you can spot the birds in their natural habitat.
Lake McIntyre conservation area
Trees are included in the conservation plan, with dead trees left to provide habitat for birds, bats and other wildlife. Being a wildlife reserve, dogs are strictly prohibited and you are also required to take your rubbish away with you, as bins are not provided.
Exploring the surrounding region
From Millicent it was an easy drive to spend a day and take in some of the spectacular “Limestone Loop”. A 75 kilometre drive took us to Southend and the Canunda National Park, Beachport and its famous jetty to the cray fishing port of Robe.
From Millicent it was also a half hour drive to explore Mount Gambier and its famous blue lake and also to the historic town of Penola. We were also able to spend a morning sampling the produce at the Coonawarra wineries. Tantanoola Caves and the famous Tantanoola Tiger is another major attraction within easy distance, however unfortunately we ran out of time this visit.
Accommodation in Millicent
Millicent offers travellers two motels and bed and breakfast accommodation. The two caravan parks provide both campsites and on site cabins, where you can self-cater.