This region in the South of South Australia is a little gem that will keep you busy for a weekend. Whether you’re an adventurous traveller, a chilled-out traveller or a foodie, you’ll find something to do that will suit your desires. We went on a roadtrip there with a few friends. Find out more about what to do and where to stay in the Mt Gambier region.
All packed and buckled up, we drove to Mount Gambier with 3 other friends (our buddy and ex-roomate Jae who saw himself renamed Joe by a tour guide during our trip ; the ‘double D’ couple, Dani & Dan). A great weekend with fun friends!
1. On the way: little accident + The Big Lobster
Good tunes blasting out of the speakers, nice sunny weather, the guys in the front of the little Peugeot hope to get some sunshine on their faces while I’m in the petit back seat. Trying to open the sunroof, they heard a weird sound like rushing air before even hitting the button. Jae, who always has a good comment to make recommended for us to fasten our seat-belts. And what a psychic he was because at that moment we hear a big “Woooooof”, and the entire sunroof is gone (glass + cardboard).
There were no broken bones and luckily nobody was driving behind us. We ended up spending the rest of the trip enjoying the fresh air of the early morning and stargazing at night. We took the car to bed covering it with our friend Dan’s ‘murderer plastic’ wrap that he luckily had in his ute (Australian truck) and black duck tape (Note: if you’re from the police, this individual lives in Henley Beach, but please don’t tell him I was your source).
Then, we met up with the Big Lobster on the way to Robe. It is a simple giant statue of a lobster next to the road. Donate to get the Big Lobster rejuvenated (Larry, that’s his little name, is already 36 years old and needs some love).
2. Port Macdonell: A unique place to stay
We did not spend the night in Mount Gambier, but instead at an old building which used to be a Post Office. This old-fashioned building was actually transformed into a really modern accommodation with high ceilings, 3 bedrooms with king size beds, a huge living room with TV & many games to keep the guests entertained.
We found this little gem on Airbnb. This is our favourite accommodation booking website, rather than getting a bedroom in a hostel or even a hotel – too common and boring for us. It is so simple to reserve a private bedroom or even an entire apartment on Airbnb. You simply need to provide enough information about yourself and it will offer you a much different perspective of travelling by meeting up with locals and beyond that you’ll be able to feel at home more easily than at a hotel.
Found this old Post Office B&B here on Airbnb.
Want $26 off your accommodation? Just click this bad boy www.airbnb.com.au/c/dliard1?s=8
3. Robe: A peaceful and stunning landscape
Cliffs and rocks characterize the city of Robe. The unique obelisk standing on an outcropping of massive rock is stunning when it gets smashed by a wave.
4. The Umpherston sinkhole: A relaxed moment close to Mother Nature
As recommended by one of my coworkers, we stopped by the “skinhole”, I mean the “sinkhole”. I kind of accidentally called it the “skinhole”, and we all joked about it for the rest of the weekend. This is a hidden little paradise delivered by our dear Mother Nature. It’s home to many flowers, plants and possum species. A good reason to take a break from driving and polluting.
5. The Blue Lake: Quite a massive tank of blue water
This is quite a touristic attraction. But this is worth the drive just to get a picture or a selfie on a beautiful sunny day. Not to mention that the blue lake is hosted by an extinct volcanic crater. The lake’s colour is usually a vibrant cobalt blue between the months of November and March aka the Summer. So make sure to plan your trip to Mt Gambier accordingly.
Sometimes, locals, interstate travellers and tourists enjoy walking or running around the lake. A 3.6km trail which offers a great view onto both the lake and the city of Mount Gambier. This day, we were lazy and had other plans, so we skipped it. Until next time!
6. Naracoorte Caves: A confined activity with old fossils
We finished our weekend with a more adventurous activity underground in the fossil caves of Naracoorte. Dressed up with our not-so-sexy dusty miner suits and headlamps, we crawled in the dirt and in-between rocks. We even got through holes that we never believed we could have fit in – yes, we are still talking about cave exploration!
The tour guide, a true speleologist and nut about caves, was a small woman, but she had a strong personality. She took us around the caves and made us move around dirt and old fossils. Sounds gross, but I can assure you that it’s a must-do activity when visiting the Mount Gambier area. You will challenge yourself and have fun with a group of strangers from 15 to 60 years old.
Our Mount Gambier weekend in figures
★ Over 10 hours of driving for about 1,000 kms
★ 1 dinner messed up when we waited too long and everything closed, but it turned out to be a yummy breakfast for dinner since our Airbnb was nice enough to have a full fridge of fresh brekkie just for us!
★ About 3 metres of duck sticky tape used for our car sunroof
★ Around 6km crawling in caves over 3 hours