Mount Gambier is a thriving progressive community, with many attractions and wide range of accommodation, shopping and entertainment surrounded by volcanic craters, lakes, caves, limestone and underground aquifers. Scroll down to find out about the many things to see and do.
"The Lady Nelson" Discovery Centre
Take a tour of "The Lady Nelson" Discovery Centre - see ancient fossils and learn about our history and geology......
The Under-Sea World......Step back in time, through The Under-Sea World of fish, see the birds and animals which contributed to the making of our limestone geology 40 million years ago.
The Wetlands......Wander through The Wetlands. Learn the history of aboriginal middens. See the South East Region through the eyes of the early settlers when they first discovered and settled the district. Interact with the exhibits and share some of the experiences of the explorers and the local aboriginals. Walk through time to our country as it is today unfolding some of the mysteries of our history and geology.
Christina Smith......Relax in front of the fascinating 3D Spectravision and meet Christina Smith as her ghostly figure steps down from the photograph to tell of her experiences in the 1800s. Learn how the pastoral, forestry and tourism industries evolved. Discover some of the fascinating features and interesting characters who fashioned the Mount Gambier District of today.
The Geology Room......Venture into The Geology Room to see the neon volcano. Learn about the fascinating geological activity of the area.
HMS Lady Nelson......View the full size replica HMS Lady Nelson, originally weighing 60 tons, it was designed by Captain John Schanck to map and chart shallow waters. Lieutenant James Grant, at the age of 28, was commissioned to sail HMS Lady Nelson to Sydney. It was the first vessel to sail eastward through Bass Strait. Sailing on latitude 38o south, at 8.00am on December 3rd, 1800, the first Australian land was sighted.
The first mountain was named after Captain Schanck (Mount Schank) and the second mountain after Lord Gambier R.N. (Mount Gambier). Cape Northumberland and Cape Banks were also named. Learn about the voyage of discovery in the year 1800 and of life on this early sailing ship.
The Lady Nelson" Discovery Centre"
A World of Fascination not to be Missed
Self Guided Tours from 9.00 am - 4.15 pm Mon - Fri, 10.00am - 3.15pm Sat - Sun & Public Holidays
Museums and Heritage Sites
Take in the beauty of Mount Gambier’s Heritage Buildings constructed from local limestone and the unique pink to orange dolomite which is cut from local quarries. Stroll around the Old Town Hall precinct, with its old world charm and the re-developed modern City Hall which overlooks the Cave Gardens Museums & Heritage Sites
Built in 1866, the former Mount Gambier Gaol was operational up to 1995. Today it is available for budget accommodation with a difference. Margaret Street, 08 8723 0032
Mount Gambier Community RSL
The collection of Military Memorabilia, housed at the clubrooms in Sturt Street, is considered one of Australasia’s best RSL collections. It includes artifacts, items and photographs from 1815 to the Vietnam War. Sturt Street, 08 8725 8181
Port MacDonnell & District Maritime Museum
A large display covering 30 ships that were wrecked on the coast. View a collection of maritime artifacts and discover the early history of Port MacDonnell and information on the local fishing industry. Charles Street, Port MacDonnell 08 8738 3000
Dingley Dell, Adam Lindsay Gordon’s Cottage
Home of Adam Lindsay Gordon from 1864-67. See some of the works and personal effects of Adam Lindsay Gordon, Australia’s first poet and horseman extraordinaire. Take a short walk through Dingley Dell Conservation Park to see an abundance of wildlife.
Dingley Dell Road 08 8738 2221
Feast’s Private Classic Car Collection & Memorabilia
Take a walk down memory lane. Open when signs are out or phone for viewing. Lower Nelson Road, Port MacDonnell
0429 368 342
National Trust Old Court House
A limestone and dolomite building with original courtroom furniture. Take time out and sit in the jury box, view the judge’s chambers and inspect the cells. This fascinating 1865 Court House incorporates local history, past law records and photographic representations of past events. Bay Road, 0403 815 393
Admella Discovery Trail
A heritage and nature based touring route of 130 kms, in and around Mount Gambier. The trail passes through Robe, Beachport, Millicent, Carpenter Rocks, Port MacDonnell, Mount Gambier, Nelson and Portland. It follows 21 maritime themed interpretive trail markers which emotively recount the tale of the Wreck of The Admella. Ask at Visitor Information Centers for a full map of the Trail.
Antiques & Collectables
Extensive range of antiques and collectables, including furniture, retro items, signs, militaria, jewellery, toys, vintage electrical, pottery, porcelain. Riddoch Highway Moorak
Goods and Chattels
Antiques, bric-a-brac and furniture, collectables, china, glassware, ornaments, books, records, CD’s, are bought and sold. Elizabeth Street
Pioneer Country Furntiure
Antiques and second hand furniture, reproduction brass handles, bric-a-brac, specialising in custom made furniture using a variety of solid timbers. Allan Drive
Buys and sells a range of second-hand collectables and an assortment of furniture and household goods. Commercial Street East
The Lake Terrace Cemetery
The Lake Terrace Cemetery provides the history of some of the early settlers and a cross section of the community who have been interred since 1868. The historical wrought iron gates of the cemetery were erected in 1884 and the Gothic style Sexton’s Cottage was built in 1904.
The site of Mount Gambier’s first official cemetery which was used for interments from 1854 to 1913.
Lutheran Cemetery, Meischel Park
A plaque acknowledges the 76 burials between 1864-1907. Some original headstones from this site have been relocated to St. Martin’s Lutheran Church grounds.
Mount Gambier Gaol
The site of the three unmarked graves of inmates.
Carinya Gardens Cemetery and Crematorium
Set in approximately 7ha of gardens, has been used since 1966.
Further information on burials can be obtained from the Mount Gambier Public Library. A free comprehensive guide to the historical sites of Mount Gambier is available from "The Lady Nelson".
Heritage Walks & Drives
Church Hill Walk
Includes Mount Gambier’s earliest places of worship and many historic buildings.
Templar Terrace Walk
Covers a triangular section of the city encompassing the area between Bay Road, Lake Terrace West and O’Halloran Terrace. Highlights include the Helpmann Home, the birthplace of Sir Robert Helpmann and also the Old and New Courthouses.
City Centre Heritage Walk
Takes you through the city centre and its historic buildings, a brochure is available. Information and images are located on red gum bollards at the front of each building. Vansittart Park Walk Includes Mia Mia the home of Dr Wehl, one of the town’s first public schools, some commercial buildings including the first Commercial Bank of South Australia.
The Old Mount Gambier Gaol
The Old Mount Gambier Gaol was opened on April 4th 1866 and continued operating until 1995. It was built from pink and grey Dolomite brought in by bullock wagon from Tantanoola.
Arts, Crafts, Galleries, Souvenirs & Shopping
Shopping is easy in Mount Gambier with most major outlets in easy walking distance of the city centre. Parking is free; take the time to explore the many antique shops, galleries and markets plus numerous speciality shops, major retailers and supermarkets. Late night shopping is available Thursday evenings, and many of the major retailers are open extended hours seven days a week.
The Riddoch Art Gallery
Accessed via the Main Corner, or Commercial Street, the Gallery is located in what was once the Kings Theatre. The Gallery incorporates three exhibition spaces, and is one of the state’s finest regional public galleries. Offering a broad range of art works and national touring exhibitions, the Riddoch houses a permanent collection of 19th and 20th Century paintings, sculptures, Aboriginal Art from Central Australia as well as a research library. Free Admission. Commercial St East, 08 8723 9566
Pioneer Farm offering insight into agriculture and ordinary farm life in Australia from1900-1950, items for sale include traditional toys, personal care products, kitchen linen, confectionary, leather products, stationery, heritage items, mostly Australian made.249 Tollner Road, 08 8725 1482
Blue Lake Printworks and Gallery
Extensive range of photographic prints and souvenirs by local photographer Kelvin Ruge, featuring the Limestone Coast and surrounding areas. Personalised souvenirs and gifts using your own photo or choose one of ours. Commercial St West,
08 8725 9198
Old Courthouse Gallery
A diverse range of items, emerging and established local artists. Bay Road, 0466 155 848
Mount Gambier Rotary Community Market
Home baked cakes, fruit and vegetables, potted plants, freshly cut flowers, hand crafted local products, clothing, bric-a-brac, canteen and BBQ. Operated every Saturday by the Rotary Club of Mount Gambier. Ample parking. Free entry.
Jubilee Highway East, 0403 410 527
Mount Gambier Farmers Market
Every Saturday morning Cave Garden, fresh local produce, vegetables, fish, meat, cheese, breakfast and morning tea. Cave Garden 0428 594 306
Gourmet Food & Wine
Succulent seafood, fresh herbs, meat and game, fruit, berries, boutique cheeses, indigenous spices there is something to satisfy everyone’s tastes. Our rich, fertile volcanic soil provides food rich in intensity and flavour. Fine dining to casual eateries, gourmet food shops and markets with local homemade goodies you’ll find it all in Mount Gambier
The Apple Farm
Gardens and tea rooms set amongst grape vines and apple orchard, pick your own apples in season, light lunch, afternoon tea and coffee available. Functions, weddings, buses welcome 77 Clarke Road 08 8726 8080
Caroline Hills Vineyard
Boutique vineyard establishing a reputation for excellent Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Vineyard and winery open by appointment. Cellar door sales. Norman Road, 08 8725 8857
A family run boutique winery located on the rich volcanic soils of Moorak on the southern slopes of the Blue Lake. All grapes are hand picked following time honoured tradition. Yells Road 08 8726 8224
Open for cellar door sales, producing Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and early and late harvest Chardonnay, all grown on the rich soil surrounding the extinct volcanic crater of Mount Gambier. Square Mile Rd, 08 8725 5414
Mini winery with cellar door sales overlooking a hedge maze. Appointments for wine sales welcome. Bishop Rd, 0458 849 090
Parks & Gardens
Referred to as "the sunken garden", it was originally beautified in 1886 by James Umpherston. Today it is one of Mount Gambier’s most popular attractions. In daylight, the beauty of its landscaped gardens can be enjoyed, at night, the floodlit gardens turn into a natural noctarium as possums descend from the cave wall to feed. A popular spot for family BBQs and picnics with its covered shelter and display of early logging transport. The limestone sculpture was inspired by the geological processes that have created the sinkholes in the region. Jubilee Highway East
Early pioneers settled around this area to access the ample supply of fresh water. Today it is surrounded by beautiful gardens and is most famous for its roses. Picnic and toilet facilities are provided. The sculptures in the park, "Performance", were created by Max Lyle. Watson Tce
2 ha of spacious lawns, rose arbours, 700 roses, a variety of shrubs, annual bulbs, perennials, water features, plant nursery, old tool collection, weddings, groups and coaches welcome. Bookings essential. School Road, Kongorong, 08 8738 9269
The small sheltered public enjoyment area is situated on the outskirts of Port MacDonnell, it is one of the entrances into the Germein Reserve, and makes an ideal place for picnics. Here, the underground water bubbles up as a natural spring. Toilet facilities and wood BBQ’s provided. Springs Road, Port MacDonnell, 08 8738 2380
Provides the other entrance to Germein Reserve. An ideal place for picnics with BBQ facilities and Liberty swing. Springs Road, Port MacDonnell, 08 8738 2380
See native flora and birdlife whilst strolling on the boardwalk, just a short drive from Port MacDonnell, entrance via Clarke Park or Lions Park. Springs Road, Port MacDonnell, 08 8738 2380
Beautifully manicured gardens, bowling green, sports arena and large playground with sheltered areas, popular with families. The memorial, erected in the centre of the gardens, was unveiled in October 1922 to commemorate those men from the district who died in the Great War. The gates at the entrance were erected in May 1959 as a memorial to the fallen of the second World War. A garden for the blind and a biblical garden are recent additions. In 1991 a new rotunda was completed to house the Krupp field gun which was captured during the Great War. The Federation Arch at the entry of Vansittart Park Oval draws its inspiration from a similar arch that spanned the main intersection in the city in 1936. Wehl St North,
Valley Lake Conservation Park
Wander through the Valley Lake crater to see indigenous species of flora and fauna in a free-range environment. With lookouts and nature walks it’s an ideal place for families to enjoy many hours of fun and discovery. Valley Lake area.
Visit during the day to see the beauty of its terraced gardens, or at night to see possums venture into the floodlit sinkhole and gardens to feed. Jubilee Highway East
The Treehouse Play Café
Enjoy a coffee or snack, while the children burn off some energy, playing, exploring and learning in our unique indoor adventure playground environment, which includes two inflatable jumping castles. Best suited for children 0 – 12 years. Catering for birthday parties. Bay Road (enter via Heriot Street) 08 8723 2045
Mount Gambier Aquatic Centre
Choose from heated pools, obstacle course, beach volleyball, playground, BBQ. Margaret Street, city 08 8723 1283
Mount Gambier Central
Open 7 days a week with over 40 retailers, food court and free parking. Helen Street, 08 8725 2661
Mount Gambier Marketplace
Open 7 days a week, food court and free parking, 08 8724 8798
Oatmill Cinema Complex
A wide range of the latest release movies. Percy Street, 08 8724 9150
Free Bike Hire available from The Main Corner, The Lady Nelson Visitor and Discovery Centre & The Library. (Conditions apply).
Phone: 08 8724 9750 Toll-free: 1800 087 187
Make sure to spend time in our outstanding playgrounds in the Valley Lakes Recreation area and also at Vansittart Park.
Railway Lands Nature Play Area
A special place for children to explore and connect with nature. Balance on the rock wall, jump across the stumps, make your way through the web, climb the log pile, blaance on the stepping stones in the creek and reach for the sky.
Soak in the beauty of one of the many beaches within 30 minutes drive from the city.
Little Blue Lake
For the older and more adventurous, swim in the cool depths of the lake. Mount Salt Road
Take a canoe trip along the Glenelg River where camping sites provide facilities for day visitors.
Walk to see wombats, kangaroos, emus and many species of birds.
Take the exhilarating walk to the top of the volcano crater, for wonderful views of the surrounding area. Follow the trail around a section of the rim to the steep track to the bottom of the crater. Post Office Road
Enjoy at one of the peaceful landings along the Glenelg River or from the jetty or breakwater at Port MacDonnell.
Crater Lakes Walks
Walk 1 - Blue Lake circuit A 3.6 km walk around the circumference of the Blue Lake. Toilets are available at the Blue Lake Reception Centre. Start at the Pioneer Memorial parking area to the right of Bay Road. Walk in a clockwise direction, past the entrance to Aquifer Tours, up the track to Apex
Lookout for views of the lake. Left is the broadcasting studio of WIN Television. Further along the path dips closely towards the fence with views of The Tower and The Pumping Station. On the left the is P.J. Browne Reserve, then on to the Rotary Lookout, Mount Schank can be seen to the south.
Walk 2 - Mountain Trail. Begin this 4.2 km walk at Mark’s Lookout Car Park. Start in an anti-clockwise direction along the trail between the Valley and Leg of Mutton Lake Crater, viewing both craters from The Saddle.
Turn west towards the tower to see spectacular views of The Valley Lake and the City. Potter’s Point, the lookout built by Mount Gambier’s three Rotary Clubs and the City Council, marks the centenary of Rotary International in 2006. An optional walk leads to the RSL Lookout. Continue along the exposed ridge called the Sugarloaf overlooking the city.
At the fork, choose between The Blue Gum Trail, the easier walk to the right or The Mountain Trail which continues up to Centenary Tower. Continue to the car park and Lions Lookout and Devil’s Punch Bowl, one of several Centenary Tower is 190m above sea level, 170m above the Blue Lake, 85m above the car park, and 150m above Commercial Street. Continue to the Cactus Garden near the car park, a viewing area is provided with wheelchair access.
Past the roundabout is the Adam Lindsay Gordon Monument, marking the place where Gordon leapt on horseback, over an old guard fence onto a narrow ledge on the side of the Blue Lake. Walk down the steps near the tunnel under the road for a different view of the lake and the dolomite Pumping Station or through the tunnel to The Leg of Mutton Lake Lookout. Do not cross the road, but re-join the walk via the tunnel closest to the lake to appreciate the significance of Rook Wall which was constructed in one day by 800 men in 1918.
Walk 3 - Leg of Mutton Lake walk. Start this 1.6 km walk at the car park near the tunnel under the road. Walk down the access road to the lake past the area once used as a tree nursery. Follow the track around the circumference of the now dry lake bed. It was nearly dry in 1859, but levels rose again and the lake regained the leg of mutton shape from which it has been named. Re-join the access road to return to the car park.
Walk 4 - Rook Walk/Pepperpot Trail. Start the 1.7 km walk at the car park near the tunnel under the road. Up the steps to the stone "rest house" then continue up the steps behind the Rook Walk past the surge tank and The Stephen Henty Lookout on the the Hoo Hoo Lokout. Follow the markers past the car park, around the eastern side of the ground tank and down the hill towrards Keegan Drive.
Walking paralell to Keegan Drive, cross the lawns to meet the road at the water tower then follow the direction markers through the park down onto the track to the lowest point of The Saddle. Continue along the top of The Saddle to Mark's Lookout, The Leg of Mutton Lookout returning back to the start.
Walk 5- Valley Lake Conservation Park. Begin the 1.2 km walk at the boat ramp at the edge of the Valley Lake, enter the Conservation Park thorugh the main gates. Water birds and animals can be seen at various times of the year.
Walk back to the heart of the park. Take the track to the left for views from higher ground or to the right which leads up into the bushland area. Walk quielty in this area as many animlas inlcuding koalas may be present. Birdlife can be seen from the raised boardwalk which provides a closer look at the bushland canopy and views over the park. Follow this track down the hill, over the swamp back to the start of the walk.