With summer on the way, it’s time for Mount Gambier residents to dig out our swimsuits. Mount Gambier and its surrounds have no lack of stunning spots to have a splash in the warmer months. Whether it’s a casual dip or an adventurous cave dive, the Limestone Coast has the swimming hole for you. Here are some local favourites and best-kept secrets:
Everyone in Mount Gambier knows how stunning Blue Lake is. Mount Gambier itself gets its name from the extinct volcano that boasts the enormous crater that is Blue Lake. Starting in November every year, Blue Lake takes on its arresting turquoise blue hue. The vibrant colour remains through the summer months until it slips back to its darker shade at the end of February.
Blue Lake is a fascinating historical site with informative tours available. You can learn about the Aboriginal history and the establishment of Blue Lake as the water supply for the town. Unfortunately, because it is the town’s water source, there is no swimming at Blue Lake, but you can enjoy a walk around its 3.6 km circumference. For the unmissable experience of swimming in a volcanic sinkhole, head instead to Little Blue Lake.
Little Blue Lake
Little Blue Lake is a natural sinkhole that makes an ideal swimming spot. At just 40 metres across, Little Blue Lake is like a huge and very deep swimming pool. The water plummets to depths of 41 metres, with the shallowest point being 25 metres. There are steps leading down to a pontoon to get into the water but be aware, Little Blue Lake is not for paddling. Once in the water, there is no way to stand up, so don’t venture in unless you are a confident swimmer and be careful if you are bringing children to the area.
Because of its depth, Little Blue Lake is also popular with divers. There are overhangs to explore and sites like safes, safe lids, and even an old car with a petrol bowser attached to discover in the depths.
Piccaninnie Ponds is one of the best places in Australia for freshwater diving. Being filtered through the limestone rocks makes the water in Piccaninnie Ponds crystal clear. Dive through the chasm and you can make your way to the incredible underwater “cathedral” where, at the right time of day, you can see sunlight through the reeds. This site is only for accredited divers and you’ll need to get a permit. It is also forbidden to dive past certain depths in order to protect Aboriginal heritage sites.
A ten-minute drive from here is Donovan’s, a quaint little community on the banks of the Glenelg River. Just 32km from Mount Gambier, it’s a wonderful spot for river fishing and swimming. Catch some bream, have a barbecue or stay for a peaceful weekend in one of its holiday cottages.
Kilsby Sinkhole is located on a private farm so you have to book your expedition in advance. For the less adventurous, you can organise a snorkeling tour but the real experience is diving in the crystal clear waters. Once only open to highly experienced divers, now any certified scuba diver can experience the lake portion of the Kilsby Sinkhole.
Hit the coast
And, of course, in Mount Gambier you’re also just a twenty-minute drive away from the coast. Brown Beach is a popular destination for surfing, swimming, beachcombing and fishing – and that’s just the start of the Limestone Coast’s beautiful beaches.
As most locals will no doubt be keenly aware, the public pools in Mount Gambier have been closed for some time. The good news is that the newly expanded and refurbished Aquatic Centre is set to open in 2022. With millions of dollars poured into the project, indoor and outdoor swimming facilities, and six multipurpose courts, it is destined to become a new community hub and boost the appeal of Mount Gambier even further.
A brighter summer ahead for tourism
If you’re a South Australian resident and thinking of exploring the state this summer, the South Australian tourist commission has partnered with two local travel agencies to offer discounts of $100 to tourists booking packages to the Limestone Coast valued at over $300 – be sure to tell your family and friends!
And if you’re looking for information about buying, selling or living in Mount Gambier, contact Complete Real Estate today.