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Visitor Servicing Model FAQs

FAQs

The ‘hub and spoke’ model concept includes a central point (hub), working in tandem with other sites, branching out like the spokes on a wheel. In this case the Visitor Centre hub will be located at the main corner entrance of the Riddoch building with visitor servicing spoke sites at Engelbrecht Cave, Umpherston Sinkhole/Balumbul, the Blue Lake Welcome Centre and the Lady Nelson.

The visitor economy is an important and valuable economic driver for Mount Gambier. Council will implement a ‘hub and spoke’ visitor servicing model to further position the city as a destination. This model aligns with recommendations from leading tourism bodies to ensure our visitor economy continues to provide a positive impact for Mount Gambier.

After 10 years of service, Engelbrecht Cave Licensee Jan Coleman decided to hand back the keys at the end of her lease at the end of June 2024. This was the catalyst for Council to activate Engelbrecht Cave as the first spoke site in the implementation of the hub and spoke model for visitor servicing. Council has closed the site briefly to undertake maintenance work. Operations at Engelbrecht Cave will then resume with tour guided experiences, visitor servicing, Mount Gambier branded merchandise and light refreshments and will be open seven days a week.

Yes, tour guided experiences will be offered at Engelbrecht Cave. Take a tour-guided experience down into the eastern and western caves for a journey through the history, the geology, and the underground magic of Engelbrecht Cave, with views of the crystal clear waters that accredited divers enter to further explore the water-filled passages underneath the city.

A 30 minute guided experience that is uniquely and distinctively Mount Gambier. Book here.

There will be no change for accredited cave divers using the site.

The Blue Lake Welcome Centre has been operating in a part time capacity, mostly on weekends and public holidays, since late 2021. Visitation data collected at the site continues to be analysed, which will help inform Council’s future decision making process regarding further activation at the site. The introduction of the hub and spoke visitor servicing model will provide the flexibility to be able to service the needs of each site in accordance with demand, eg. peak visitation periods.

The hub and spoke visitor servicing model will be destination placemaking in action. Placemaking is a collaborative process to create public spaces that people love and feel connected to. We are proud of our natural assets and want to provide a professional and engaging visitor information service to travellers at our hub and spoke sites. We will do this through cohesive storytelling, making digital and physical information more accessible to travellers, providing strategic asset and land management, boosting extra, unplanned economic benefit to the community and creating a strong tourism product to take out to the international market (trade export).

Council recently endorsed a position to prioritise Umpherston Sinkhole/Balumbul as the first site (out of four) to be master planned. With work on the master planning process to begin shortly alongside a regenerative maintenance plan, Council seeks to further understand the value of this space to the community, its State Heritage Place status, as well as appreciating it’s value to our travellers. While master planning work is underway, Umpherston Sinkhole/Balumbul will be activated as a spoke site when the current Umpherston Sinkhole Kiosk and Souvenirs operator Julie Holdsworth retires at the end of her lease in October, to ensure continuity of servicing.

In line with our strategic plan and recent community consultation as part of the Mount Gambier 2035 community vision project, we recognise the desire within our community to focus on activation, revitalisation and placemaking in our CBD. The Visitor Centre Hub will draw travellers into the heart of our city all year-round creating opportunity and increased economic impact for surrounding businesses. As the hub is in a central location, there is adequate car parking available nearby and walkability is vital for the CBD to prosper and for the visitor economy to support the economic and social development of our city.

The caravanning market segment traditionally ‘unhitch’ their van at their place of accommodation prior to seeking visitor information servicing. But, for the small amount that are passing through, designated long vehicle parking is located at Frew Park with a dump point and potable water, a short walk into the CBD. Alternatively, visitor information is accessible at our spoke sites, two of which are located along Jubilee Highway, which all have long-vehicle parking available.

Council acknowledges the dynamic nature of the visitor economy and will capture visitor statistics and measure the progress of the visitor servicing model to accurately inform ongoing development.

Bus tickets are still available from the Mount Gambier Visitor Centre or online through the Premier Stateliner or VLine websites.

Premier Stateliner offers daily bus services by coach to and from Adelaide. Phone: 08 8415 5555 or visit www.stateliner.com.au

VLine offers a daily bus service by coach/rail to and from Melbourne via Warrnambool or Ballarat. Free call 1800 800 007 or visit www.vline.com.au

Bus arrivals and departures are from the bus terminal at the Mount Gambier Visitor Centre, 35 Jubilee Highway East Mount Gambier.

For timetables and booking information contact the bus company direct.

An Expression of Interest process will begin in early August. Further information will be provided at this time.

This is an incredibly exciting time for our city and we understand that there will be many questions our community may have about the hub and spoke visitor servicing model. Please contact our Strategic Development and Visitor Economy Coordinator by email at city@mountgambier.sa.gov.au This webpage will be reviewed and updated weekly.