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What to do in SA’s Limestone Coast region

How does this region not earn more attention??

Put simply, this glittering patch of southeast SA hoards a treasure chest stuffed with incredible natural wonders.

And that’s just the start, as you’ll soon discover. 

It’s time to reveal all…

Mt Gambier's Blue Lake is a regional icon. Credit: Jaxon Foale.

Amazing natural attractions

An ancient volcanic landscape and prehistoric caves dominate these surrounds, leading to a feast of eye-popping sights. The headline acts include:

  • Blue Lake, Mt Gambier: Planted within an extinct volcanic crater. Mysteriously varies colour depending on time of year.
  • Umpherston Sinkhole, Mt Gambier: This striking feature once was a limestone cave before it collapsed and was turned into a (not-so-natural) picturesque sunken garden.
  • Naracoorte Caves: SA’s only World Heritage wonder. Fascinating and full of fossils and stunning stalactites and stalagmites.
  • Tantanoola Caves, near Millicent: Its story of discovery is captivating.

Naracoorte Caves are simply spectacular. Credit: Mike Haines.

  • Engelbrecht Cave, Mt Gambier: Incredible sight, home to unique dry cave formations
  • Pool of Siloam, Beachport: This photogenic salt lake is suited to swimming.
  • Little Blue Lake, Mt Gambier: The volcanic sinkhole doubles as a popular swimming spot.
  • Hells Hole, Caveton: Yet another spectacular sinkhole in the region. Surrounded by forest, which adds to its intrigue.

Hells Hole is an eye-catcher. Credit: Michael Waterhouse Photography.

More photo ops

If you're searching for more eye candy, note the following:

  • Cape Dombey, Robe: Home to dramatic cliffs and a landmark obelisk.
  • Funky formations, Port MacDonnell: SA’s southernmost town has a series of captivating creations that include Rhino Rock and Frog Rock.
  • The Big Lobster, Kingston SE: Always happy to pose for an obligatory 'big thing' selfie.

Head to Cape Dombey at Robe and uncover postcard-worthy views.

Limestone Coast national parks 

Two beauties command attention. They are:

Coorong National Park: This long, thin strip of turf is flanked by water on both sides and features epic sand dunes, a wetland of international significance, and myriad bird life. It’s rich with Aboriginal culture, too. Accessed from: Kingston SE.

Canunda National Park: Also surrounded by water, Canunda has a rugged coastline that reveals towering limestone cliffs and alluring beaches that draw surfers. Accessed from: Millicent.

Conservation parks abound in the region, too.

Sand dunes dominate the long, thin strip that is Coorong National Park.

Limestone Coast beaches

There are plenty of sparkling strips of sand to explore in these parts. Keep these locations in mind:

Robe: The place to go with a series of beaches that suit a wide assortment of water-based fun, including swimming, surfing, and kayaking. Crowds flock to Town Beach while Long Beach and West Beach are renowned surfing spots.

Long Beach in Robe is a sparkling stretch of sand. Credit: Carly Kruger.

Beachport: The historical town is home to Surf Beach, which lives up to its name.

Port MacDonnell: Has a cluster of beaches that welcome swimming, surfing, diving, and more. 

Giddy up: Port MacDonnell beaches are winners. Credit: Ockert le Roux.

Limestone Coast wine regions

The biggest name in the Limestone Coast is the Coonawarra, one of Australia's best grape-growing areas. Just minutes from Penola, its terra rossa soil is ideal for producing distinctive, rich reds – led by cabernet sauvignon and shiraz. Dozens of wineries are dotted here for effortless cellar-door hopping.

The answer is in the soil: Coonawarra reds are distinctive, and tasty.

Further north and easily accessible from Naracoorte is Padthaway where shiraz and chardonnay lead the way. And emerging from the shadows are the wine regions of Robe, Mt Benson, Wrattonbully, and even Mt Gambier.

Don't skip a visit to Padthaway. Credit: John Montesi.

Rainy day activities on the Limestone Coast

Whether it’s too wet, windy, or hot – or just a damn fine day – there is ample history and culture to immerse yourself in. Try some of these attractions:

  • Mount Gambier Visitor Centre: Comprehensively explores various historical themes through a wealth of engaging displays.
  • Riddoch Arts and Cultural Centre, Mt Gambier: Headlined by a sizeable gallery with a keen focus on local and 20th century Australian art.
  • Sheep’s Back Museum, Naracoorte: An excellent journey detailing the history of the Australian wool industry.

Regional star: Riddoch Art Gallery. Credit: South Australian Tourism Commission/Adam Bruzzone.

  • Mary MacKillop Penola Centre: Enjoy a saintly experience loaded with inspiration.
  • Millicent Museum: More interesting local heritage to lap up.
  • Port MacDonnell & District Maritime Museum: Coverage of the area’s shipwrecks is particularly fascinating.

Go marching in: The Mary MacKillop Penola Centre. Credit: Mike Haines.

Family-friendly activities

Among top picks is the Valley Lake area in Mt Gambier. It’s home to a free wildlife conservation park with kangaroos and koalas, an adventure playground, and the Centenary Tower where sparkling views are on offer from up high. Throw in free BBQs, and you have the perfect picnic spot.

Family favourite: The Valley Lake area. Credit: City of Mount Gambier.

In warmer months, Naracoorte Swimming Lake and Millicent Swimming Lake are super inviting for a refreshing dip.

Naracoorte Swimming Lake is a magnet in warmer months.

Something different...

Admire the incredibly detailed sculptures within Father Woods Park, near Penola. Carved from trees, these creations are well worth checking out and are dedicated to the inspiring lives of Catholic priest, Father Julian Tenison Woods, and Australia’s first saint, Mary MacKillop.

The impressive carvings at Father Woods Park warrant a stop, located just off the highway.

Limestone Coast accommodation

BIG4 parks are planted in two prime Limestone Coast locations. Take a peek below.

Related Parks

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