As locals know, Mount Gambier in the Limestone Coast is a fantastic place to live, surrounded by unique scenery and beautiful beaches, it is perfect for outdoor activities most of the year round.
But as autumn turns to winter, the region can get cold, wet and windy. It doesn’t last long, usually only three and a half months, from late May till early September, with an average temperature of 15 degrees. Things do get chilly in July, though, which averages between six to 12 degrees, with high rainfall.
Yet even in these colder months, Mount Gambier has so many activities to keep the whole family happy and healthy. Here’s our guide to the area’s best activities to beat the winter blues.
May is still a good month for hiking. The Crater Lakes trails are great for the whole family (and pets!), while regional walks, such as Mount Schank, Bool Lagoon Wetland, or the Germein Reserve are perfect for some alone time. Plus, there’s nothing more satisfying than warming up in front of a roaring fireplace after a long winter’s walk at one of Mount Gambier’s many restaurants or pubs.
If the weather’s dreadful, these indoor, family-entertainment centres are unbeatable. Kaboom Entertainment is THE place for family fun with a nine-hole mini-golf course, arcade games, ten-pin bowling, and a snack bar. In the same complex is Next Gen Entertainment, where you can experience a range of virtual reality simulations, including racing, roller coaster and fear challenges. This is a great place for bigger kids (and adults!).
Under the Kaboom Entertainment family brand, but at a different location is the Treehouse Play Café which can entertain kids big or small. This café is equipped with an indoor play area, one area designated for children up to 3 and another area for all ages, and also a trampoline park currently in the making. The designated café area is centre of all the fun so parents can enjoy a hot drink while the kids play and order food from their family friendly menu when time for kids to take a break from playing.
Another fun option is GolfnMore, where you can virtually play golf on some of the world’s best courses. And even though Mount Gambier’s beloved Oatmill Cinema Complex is undergoing renovations, the cinema itself is still screening all the latest Hollywood blockbusters.
If you want something more creative, head to Artscape Creatives or the Post & Rail. Artscape holds six-week oil and acrylic painting courses for adults suitable for beginners and beyond, while the Post & Rail hosts cooking, gardening and art classes and activities. Both businesses hold private functions, so get your friends and family together and get in touch to organise an event tailored to your group.
BEAUTY AND FASHION
Vanity Makeup Bar is Mount Gambier’s one-stop beauty shop, doing everything from nails to brows to ear piercing, while Little Birdy is the perfect place to unwind. They offer massages, facials, manicures, and head-to-toe spa experiences that leave you feeling brand new. Once you’re feeling pampered, contact Kellie Nobes for a styling consultation or, for a complete sartorial overhaul, book a Wardrobe Audit to look as great as you feel.
FOOD AND DRINKS
Just a 45-minute drive from Mount Gambier is the Coonawarra Wine Region. Home to numerous renowned wineries, a cellar-door wine and lunch experience at one – or many! – is a great day, or weekend trip. Our favourites are The Blok, DiGiorgio, Otelia, Hollick, Zema, and Brand’s Laira. Closer to home are two local breweries – Little Ripper Brewery and the Woolstore Brewery – offering fantastic local craft beers and food.
For casual, family dining, we recommend Metro Bakery and Café, and Presto, while you can’t beat Thyme at the Lakes , The Barn or The commodore for special occasions. For date night or drinks with friends, head to the Noky Bar for a cocktail and delicious feed or Lenny’s Lounge, which serves excellent cocktails and tapas.
HEALTH AND FITNESS
The colder weather does not need to interfere with your motivation to keep fit and healthy, pop into one of Mount Gambier’s fitness centres, such as 24fit, Jetts, Squashbrook Fitness & Leisure, or Dwyer’s Boxing Club to keep active over the colder months. If you prefer a slower-paced workout, sign up for a yoga or pilates class at The Nourish Nook, Inner Sanctuary Collective, Rise or Naturally Well Pilates Studio to focus on the mind as well as the body.
While too cold to swim in the nearby beaches or outdoor pools during winter, the newly built Wulanda Recreation and Convention Centre boasts three indoor pools and a splash zone for the little ones which is open all year round. The Centre also offers an indoor gym which includes group classes, aqua classes and free time sessions. You can also hire one of the few courts in the indoor stadium which is accessible for sports such as basketball, netball, tennis and many more. For a small town, Mount Gambier is bursting with things to do. We hope you try some of our recommendations, and let us know in the comments what your favourites are!