Travel to Mount Gambier (Part One)

As part of my trip to Australia, I flew to Mt Gambier, in South Australia, to visit an old school friend, Mair, and her husband, Paul. Although we have been in touch by email for the last three or four years, we hadn't met since we left school fifty years ago. Mair and Paul were really kind, and went out of their way to show me as much as possible of Mt Gambier and its surrounding area in the short time we had together.

Paul and Mair

Mt Gambier isn't a mountain at all, it is really a volcano complex, with the city named after it gracing its slopes. The volcano has three craters, the largest of which contains the amazing Blue Lake that turns a vivid shade of blue in the summer. No swimming or diving is permitted in the lake, as it is the main water supply for the city.

The incredible colour of the Blue Lake

Because of its geological make up this area is known as the Limestone Coast, and the many caves and sink-holes are evidence of this. One famous site we visited, was the Umpherston Sinkhole. It was here, in 1884, that James Umpherston began to create a sunken garden in the natural sinkhole that formed when the roof of a subterranean limestone cave collapsed on his property. Today, this garden is part of a city park, and is a popular venue for weddings.

The Umpherston Sinkhole

On my first evening, I had intended to take Mair and Paul out to dinner, but I was foiled by Paul, and didn't get a chance to pay, as he insisted that I was their guest. We went to The Barn Steakhouse, where they serve the most amazing steaks, grilled over coals. For me, my Peppered Steak looked huge, but was nothing compared with the one chosen by the guy on the next table to ours (see left). He had opted for the Large Grass-Fed Rump Steak, nearly a whole kilogram of meat! He finished it too!

 The Happy Diner

The next day, we drove along the coast. The soft limestone means that the coast is constantly eroding, which leads to some extraordinary features.

We passed some petrified trees, standing in the sea.

There were also strange rock formations, this one is called Rhino Rock.

We looked out from the most southerly point of South Australia. It was quite cold and very windy, as there is nothing between here and the South Pole.

During our travels, we spotted this echidna.

We had such fun, but this is only half of what I saw. There is more to come in my next post about Mount Gambier.


  1. Wow what fantastic photos Liz, you remind me of Judith Chalmers from Wish you were here. You are the female Michael Palin of your time ;-)

  2. ...and I hope to keep going for many more years yet! Also I hope to improve my photography. I have just signed up for a photography course in Seville in May.


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