Our tour around the South Australian Limestone Coast brought us to the city of Mount Gambier., Midway between Adelaide and Melbourne the city is famous for its crater lakes. The Blue Lake in Mount Gambier is the city’s most famous attraction. There is also so much to explore. From historic buildings to unique gardens, caves and of course the lakes. With only the day to explore we chose to visit a few of Mount Gambier’s natural wonders.
Mount Gambier’s blue lake.
The Blue Lake in Mount Gambier inhabits one of the extinct volcanic craters. During the summer months the change in water temperature transforms the colour of the lake to a vibrant cobalt blue. There are a number of conflicting theories as to what causes this phenomenon.
We were fortunate to visit on a day when the lake was certainly living up to its vivid reputation. During the colder months, the water turns to a steely grey and would be fairly unremarkable.
As this is also the region’s water supply, the Blue Lake is strictly “view only” with water sports of any kind strictly forbidden.
Blue Lake Mount Gambier
It is possible to take a 3.6 kilometre walk past a number of viewing platforms around the lake. However as we were visiting on a searingly hot 38 degree day, we chose to pass on that opportunity. Instead we took advantage of the viewing platforms closest to the visitor’s centre.
Valley Lake Mount Gambier
The Blue Lake is only one of a number of crater lakes surrounding Mount Gambier. The nearby Valley Lake however offers scenic walks, swimming and picnic areas and a nature conservation area on the site of Mt Gambier’s original Botanical Gardens
From the lookout carpark, a short, but steep walk brings you to Centenary tower and spectacular views over the surrounding crater lakes
A short drive brought us to the scenic lakeside picnic areas. A boardwalk takes you along natural bushland walking trails. There is also a free wildlife conservation park. However clearly the “Pawesome Foursome” weren’t allowed in this area.
Being a weekday, the park was fairly deserted, giving us the opportunity to let the furkids cool off in the swimming area without annoying anyone.
Even in 38 degree heat the water was freezing! But certainly very refreshing.
In the middle of Mount Gambier we discovered the most amazing garden. A true collaboration between the forces of nature and human cultivation.
The Umpherstone Sinkhole sunken garden is a truly amazing oasis. Once a limestone cave, the sinkhole was formed when the chamber roof collapsed. Initially the 40 metre diameter sinkhole was taken over by natural foilage.
Located in the gardens where one James Umpherstone built his home in 1886, he began to cultivate the sinkhole into a magnificent terraced garden. Greenery cascades over the walls of the garden. Ramps and stairs take you down to the terraced garden beds, planted with ferns, hydrangeas and vibrant garden displays.
All you can hear is the tinkle of the fountain in this lovely, secluded garden.
By night the gardens are floodlit, enabling you to watch the resident possums who emerge at dusk to frolic through the gardens.
We certainly look forward to spending some more time exploring the City of Mount Gambier in the future.