7 Reasons Why the Limestone Coast in South Australia Should Be Your Next Trip

By Hishama Hashim | 16, May, 2018
7 Reasons Why the Limestone Coast in South Australia Should Be Your Next Trip

If you’re on the lookout for a destination that offers diversity in all aspects, South Australia’s magnificent Limestone Coast is a newly discovered gem. With its pristine beaches and breath-taking coastline, vibrant wetlands, unique ecosystem and variety of wildlife, saltwater lagoons, ancient volcanoes and stunning scenery, labyrinth of World Heritage-listed caves, great seafood, picturesque seaside towns the Limestone Coast is filled to the brim with a wealth of opportunities and experiences you’re sure to remember for a lifetime!

Stretching from the beautiful Coorong National Park, along the Southern Ocean to the Victorian border, the undeniably special region also happens to be the ultimate self-drive destination. With so much to do, see and discover on the Limestone Coast, we can’t think of a better way to truly savour all of it, than a road trip! The journey there is sure to be as incredible as the destination itself.

With the Limestone Coast located halfway between Melbourne and Adelaide, you can either drive in from either of the destinations, or a great option - one of our personal favourites - is to fly into Mount Gambier on REX. Accommodating around 30 passengers at a time, the small aircraft offers unbeatable birds eye views of the region’s majestic wilderness and glorious landscapes.

No matter how long you spend exploring the region, there’s always so much more to see and experience. Prepare yourself for an abundance of natural wonders, adventure and excitement. The Limestone Coast and its treasure trove of unique discoveries await you!

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1. Magnificent Tantanoola Caves

The Limestone Coast boasts a plethora of beautiful natural attractions guaranteed to be far from anything you’ve ever seen before! Thus, seeing the impressive Tantanoola Caves in person is one of the top things to do on the Limestone Coast. Known to be one of South Australia’s most-visited destinations, the Tantanoola Caves at the Tantanoola Caves Conservation Park, is the only single-chamber dolomite cave in Australia, and features a spectacular array of lovely pink and brown decorative rock formations which were developed over thousands of years.

Your visit will begin with a guided tour of the cave, where you will be introduced to its geology and history. Once you’ve learnt everything there is to know about the attraction, you will be left to discover it at leisure, and to take as many pictures in the cavern as you like! Be sure to make time to explore the park’s cliff top walking trail which offers the most incredible views of the surrounding area, as well as to enjoy a picnic in its picturesque grounds!

 

2. Visit The Blue Lake

Any Limestone Coast visitor guide is sure to note a trip to the spectacular Blue Lake as a must. Located within a crater of the of the extinct volcano which lends its name to the city in which it is found, Mount Gambier’s Blue Lake is one of the region’s most popular spots, and sees thousands of visitors each year. While the breathtaking sight of the lake and its volcanic landscape will leave you speechless, the lake’s changing of colour will make the attraction unforgettable. Each year, in early November through March, for reasons that are still pretty much a mystery, the water in the lake changes to a magnificent cobalt blue colour. From the month of April to November, the water then turns into a shade of dark steel grey!

Get up close and personal with the lake by taking the glass panelled lift down to its surface on an Aquifer Tour, or climb to the Centenary Tower for unbeatable views of the lake and the area around it. Surrounding the lake, there is a 3.6 kilometre walking trail that offers numerous viewing points with awe-inspiring views, as well as countless camping spots that are popular amongst visitors eager to experience the magnificence of the lake at night time. If you’re looking to immerse yourself further into everything the Blue Lake has to offer along with the area and its history, there are also several fantastic guided tours available.

 

3. Uncover a garden sinkhole

While no matter where in the Mount Gambier region you go, natural beauty is a plenty, the Umpherston Sinkhole, or the Sunken Garden is an attraction you cannot miss, and a visit here will definitely complete your Limestone Coast tour. Once a regular limestone cave, whose uniqueness was created when its roof collapsed, the Umpherston Sinkhole needs to be seen to be believed. In 1886, the sinkhole was made into a garden by James Umpherston. Today, the breathtaking terraced gardens and its picturesque landscape offer visitors a one-of-a-kind experience. Not only will you be able to admire its beauty from the viewing platforms found at the top of the sinkhole, but you will also be able to venture down into the sinkhole and explore the tranquil garden.

The area features beautiful, perfectly manicured flowers and plants, hanging vines and fountains and even some sculptures inspired by the sinkhole and its formation. In our opinion, the best time to visit is at sunset, since this is when the attraction comes to life. At dusk, the floodlights come on, and you will get to see hundreds of adorable possums scamper into the garden to feed!

 

4. Taste premium grade Halal Wagyu Beef

If you’re a foodie, there’s no way you don’t know what wagyu beef is! The generic name for Japanese beef, wagyu is recognized for its high quality, and its exorbitant prices. What makes the meat so expensive is the rearing methods of the cattle as well as the strict guidelines that are followed during feeding. Mayura Station, located on the Limestone Coast, is one of South Australia’s first cattle and sheep stations and is today known to house one of the biggest full-blood wagyu cattle herds. Here, the surrounding are incredibly pristine, the scenery is stunning, the air is as clean as can be, and the cattle are fed Cadbury's chocolate. You read that right! At Mayura Station, the cattle are fed a mix of Cadbury's chocolate and other sweet treats to give their meat a unique flavour profile that is sure to make any beef lover go weak in the knees!

Offering a farm to table experience, at Mayura Station, full-blood wagyu cattle are bred to deliver the most luxurious, award-wining beef, which can be sampled at the Tasting Room. And here’s what gets us even more excited - the wagyu beef at Mayura Station is Halal! You can choose to buy meat at the station directly, or savour it at the Tasting Room. While the restaurant itself is not Halal certified, if you decide to dine in, accommodations can be made so you can indulge in a Halal wagyu experience unlike ever before!

 

5. Drive along the scenic Beachport coast

From beautiful sandy beaches to stunning scenery, coastal dunes begging to be explored and spectacular views, to even a few listed heritage sites, Beachport has it all! An isthmus with the sea on both sides, along with Lake George by it, Beachport is definitely worthy of a stop on a Limestone Coast road trip. The township may be small in size, but everything it has to offer is priceless. At the Beachport Conservation Park situated on the shores of Lake George, not only will you be able to get some serious bird watching in, but the park is also a well-known spot to enjoy some excellent windsurfing. The town also boasts one of South Australia’s longest jetties.

The second longest in the region, Beachport Jetty is a sight in itself and attracts local and visiting anglers keen to catch some salmon and whiting. One of the best ways to truly appreciate this gorgeous area of South Australia is via the Bowman Scenic Drive. The rugged coastal route will take you past and offer you glimpses at the area’s iconic attractions like the Cape Martin Light House, Penguin Island, and the blowholes at Bartlett Rocks, in addition to stunning scenery. Along the drive you’ll come across numerous lookout spots such as the Wooley Lake Lookout, Down’s Lookout and Backler’s Lookout, that offer breathtaking coastal views, so be sure to make some time to stop at at least a few of them for pictures. You won’t regret it! 

Pool of Siloam

Another thing you definitely won’t regret is a swim in the Pool of Siloam. Known to be seven times saltier than the sea, the Pool of Siloam is extremely popular amongst those suffering from rheumatism and arthritis due to its high salt concentration. If you decide to take a quick dip, there is a designated swimming area, with changing rooms and showers on site. Once you’ve explored Beachport and its wonderful hidden gems, we recommend grabbing a bite to eat at one of the town’s many great restaurants. By doing so, you’ll get to enjoy some delicious seafood, and have a friendly chat with the locals!

 

6. Take a coffee pit stop at a local brew

We would choose travel over most things on any given day. But if there was one thing we could have during every step of our travels, it would be a great steaming cup of fragrant coffee! And when we discovered Mahalia’s incredible coffee, we had to force ourselves to leave!

Mahalia Coffee in the quaint seaside town of Robe has perfected the art of coffee roasting. The multi award winning coffee roasters is a stop you have to make when discovering the Limestone Coast. Living and breathing all things coffee, master roaster, Mahalia Layzell creates unique blends that easily put most other well-known coffee brands to shame. At the Mahalia Coffee HQ, you’ll not only get the chance to learn all about coffee, but also see where the brand’s coffee is expertly roasted, and get your caffeine fix, sampling a variety of coffee blends known to be the region’s best. While here you’re also sure to fall in love with the home ware items, ceramic, souvenirs and art pieces on sale, so be prepared to bring home some goodies!

 

7. Go on a 4-wheel drive along Coorong

Boy did we save the best for last! Nothing completes a road trip to the Limestone Coast more than spending some time exploring the world-famous Coorong National Park. Spread across 130 kilometres, Coorong National Park is a protected area of important historical significance, housing amongst its lakes, lagoons, waterways and sweeping sand dunes a number of endangered flora and fauna and a variety of uncommon bird and fish species. It is also the perfect place for some outdoor activities.

You will be able to go kayaking, yachting and boating, fishing, camping on its secluded beaches, and even four-wheel driving on the second longest continuous beach in the country - the Coorong. While you can cruise the park’s dunes and lagoons on your own, we think a guided four wheel drive tour is something that will make your experience even more memorable. There are numerous tours that you could take. Most of these will allow you to see Coorong beach at its best; the guides will point out rare birds or wildlife, and even stop by uncommon flora.

They’ll also tell you everything you need to know about the park’s fascinating natural and Aboriginal history, and even give you the opportunity to learn about and experience Ngarrindjeri culture. Many tours also include a stop at a commercial fishery where you’ll be given the chance to try your hand at gahering cockles, or pipis, as they are more affectionately known in Australia. With the wind in your face and the sand at your feet, and you driving along the beautiful Coorong, we can’t think of a more incredible way to end your trip to the Limestone Coast. Can you?!

No matter how many times you visit the Limestone Coast, we can bet you that you’ll always have a plethora of new experiences! For Muslims planning to explore the area, the HalalTrip mobile app is sure to come in handy! The app will help you locate Halal food places on the Limestone Coast, as well as mosques and prayer areas, along with numerous other must-sees and must-dos. Time to get road-trip planning!

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Hishama is a Lankan born, ex-Dubai-an who enjoys all things travel. When she's not at her day job as an Online Marketing Specialist, you will find her hanging out with friends at one of the city's newest cafés, reading a Jodi Picoult novel, Netflix-ing pretty much anything, obsessing over broadway, or just dreaming of her next big adventure abroad that she wishes she could afford.