At some point last year, we were invited to spend a week with good friends in Margaret River after Christmas, and in the middle of winter, dreaming of being at the beach, we accepted the invitation and decided that we would drive over. Yes, we were going to drive from Sydney, cross country to Margaret River, and eventually Perth. All up, with deviations, stops and excursions, it was going to be almost 6000 km’s in the car. We are known for our love of road trips, but even by our standards this was pretty hard core!!! We hit the road, stopped off in Melbourne for a visit with family, and then pushed on to our first official stop on our drive west: Mount Gambier.
Mount Gambier is the half way mark between Melbourne and Adelaide, and is the second largest city in South Australia. It is probably most well known for it’s geological features; lakes and sinkholes, and the town itself is on the slopes of an extinct volcano! Mt Gambier is also BIG on timber/forestry! The roads on the way in and out of town are lined with plantations; huge trees in perfect rows for as far as the eye can see.
I don’t know that I had ever been to a sinkhole before, but was very keen to check it out, all the images I had seen online were of a beautiful, lush underground garden! Umpherston Sinkhole was once a cave formed through dissolution of limestone (The sinkhole was created when the top of the chamber collapsed). There is a series of enclosed ramps and staircases to reach the bottom, and I felt a bit like Alice going down the rabbit hole…emerging at the bottom in a beautiful sunken garden bursting with light, hydrangeas, ferns, foxgloves and bees. There was something really very special about the gardens, and I could have happily stayed there all afternoon…perhaps with a picnic, a good book and a bottle of rose!? The sinkhole is right next to the towns timber processing plant and that lovely resiny, pine scent fills the air.
Blue Lake is the most impressive of the three major lakes in town (Brownes Lake, Valley Lake and Leg of Mutton Lake are located nearby) During the warmer summer months of December through to March, the lake turns bright cobalt blue, returning to a murky grey for the rest of the year. No one can say for sure why?! You can walk all the way around the lake, an easy 45 minute walk, but with two grumpy, overtired kids, we didn’t quite make it that far!
Mount Gambier is a very well serviced town, with supermarkets and no shortage of restaurants & accommodation options, making it a very easy place to stay with small people in tow… worth stopping by!
Next stop; CLARE VALLEY!
Jubilee Highway East Mount Gambier
John Watson Drive Mount Gambier
We Stayed at
Big 4 Caravan Park Mount Gambier