Last month, the birth of our first grandchild gave us an excellent reason to take a trip down to the Mount Gambier region of South Australia.
Looking at a map, it may seem like a relatively quick trip. As I mentioned in our previous post, Australia is a very big place and the distances are vast.
Our road trip took us two 10 hour days of driving. Door to door, it took us as long to get to Mount Gambier as it takes to get to Berlin.
While not enjoying “Nanny and Grandad cuddles, we took the opportunity to explore a little around the region.
About an hour’s drive from Mount Gambier we found the seaside resort of Beachport.
Here we took a stroll on the famous Beachport jetty extending over the waters of Rivoli Bay.
Ian was tempted to join the other fishermen “dangling a line”, but today we contented ourselves with taking in the spectacular views across the Beachport Conservation Park. Endless white sandy beaches and azure blue waters.
It is easy to see why it is so popular with tourists wanting to fish, water ski, swim or just laze in the sun.
A half hour’s drive through the sand dunes brought us to Robe on Guichen Bay, an historic goldmining port dating back to the 1860’s
We stopped for lunch in the beautiful town centre, known for being one of the most attractive historic towns in South Australia. Many historic buildings still remain, and we took a drive up to the windswept headland to have a look at the ruins of the old gaol.
On the way home, we took in the dramatic, rocky coastline views, some of the most beautiful we have seen.
The Blue Lake in Mount Gambier is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the area.
Inhabiting one of the extinct volcanic craters of Mount Gambier, during the summer months the change in water temperature changes the colour of the lake to a vibrant cobalt blue.
As this is also the region’s water supply, it is strictly “view only” with waters ports of any kind strictly forbidden. The nearby Valley Lake however offers scenic walks, swimming and picnic areas.
After a cooling dip, we headed off to the Umpherstone Sinkhole.
Once a limestone cave, today it is a beautiful sunken garden made by James Umpherstone whose home was on the site in 1886.
No trip to South Australia is complete without a winery tour. We spent a morning exploring the endless vineyards of the Coonawarra wineries near Penola.
Known mostly for their reds, we did find a couple of reisling and chardonnays worth bringing home as a souvenir.
Many of the vineyards service the larger wine manufacturers and are closed to the public, but many do offer a cellar door where you can taste and purchase the local produce.
A number offer restaurants where you can pair your wine with an excellent lunch.