Nestled deep in the Limestone Coast of South Australia, close to the Victorian border, is Mount Gambier. Mount Gambier stands as a captivating haven of natural wonders, unique attractions and endless opportunities for exploration. Whether you’re an avid adventurer, a nature enthusiast, a history buff or simply seeking a getaway from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, Mount Gambier has something remarkable in store for you. Get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey through the hidden gems and well-known treasures that define the essence of Mount Gambier.
From majestic sinkholes to serene lakes, charming animal experiences, fascinating historical spots, exciting outdoor experiences and premium wineries, distilleries and breweries, this vibrant destination offers a diverse range of experiences and attractions. With something for everyone, you’ll leave Mount Gambier with lasting memories, no matter your age or interests. In this blog post we have put together a list of the best 40 things to do in Mount Gambier so you can make the most of your time in this incredible location.
1. Appreciate the Magnificent Beauty of the Umpherston Sinkhole
A true marvel of natural beauty and one of the most iconic attractions in Mount Gambier, is the Umpherston Sinkhole. This incredible limestone sinkhole was formed when the top chamber of an underground cave collapsed. In 1886, James Umpherston transformed the sinkhole into a sunken garden. Today, it remains as a sunken garden, brimming with lush greenery, vibrant flowers and a tranquil atmosphere.
As you descend into the sinkhole, you’ll be awestruck by the sight of a thriving garden flourishing within the steep walls of the once-hidden cavity. Once you make it to the bottom of the garden look up and be amazed by the stunning perspective above as the vine-covered sinkhole walls frame the sky, a truly picture perfect sight.
There is a large undercover shelter at the sinkhole, multiple seating spots, a free barbecue and a kiosk that sells coffee, snacks, ice cream and souvenirs so make a full day of your visit and pack a picnic.
There are no entry fees for visiting the Umpherston Sinkhole, making this a perfect free thing to do in Mount Gambier.
2. Stay Till Dusk and Feed the Possums at The Umpherston Sinkhole
The magic of the Umpherston Sinkhole doesn’t fade once the sun sets. At night, it transforms into a whimsical wonderland as the garden is lit up with small lights and the friendly possums who call the sinkhole home make an appearance. The Umpherston Sinkhole possums emerge at night in search of a delicious treat. On the odd occasion (like we experienced) one of the possums may come out a little earlier during the day but this is quite rare as possums are nocturnal.
Armed with some fruits and vegetables, you can partake in the heartwarming tradition of feeding the possums. It’s a unique opportunity to observe these beautiful creatures up close in their natural habitat. It’s a delight watching them venture towards you with a mix of curiosity and caution to see if you have a snack for them. As you hold out pieces of fruit and veggies they’ll reach out and grab the snack with their tiny paws.
As you stand there in the embrace of the sinkhole’s beauty, surrounded by the gentle presence of these creatures, take a moment to truly appreciate the magic of nature and the privilege of sharing it with the wildlife that calls it home. A truly magical experience, this was our favourite thing to do in Mount Gambier. The Umpherston Sinkhole is a fantastic attraction in Mount Gambier to visit at night and during the day.
Note: Feeding wild animals without permission is NEVER ok and can be harmful to the animal and yourself. The Mount Gambier council and visitor centre have signposted and openly shared that it is ok to feed the possums here. Just make sure you only feed the possums fruit and vegetables, don’t feed them anything else such as bread or meat. Also keep in mind that they are wild animals so treat them as such, don’t try and touch them or hold them.
3. Take a Dip in the Little Blue Lake
For those seeking a refreshing escape on a hot day, the Little Blue Lake promises a cool and exhilarating swim. This little but beautiful lake boasts deep blue waters that stays a consistent 12 degrees celsius all year round. All within a natural sinkhole where cliffs at a height of 8 metres tower over you. The lake reaches an impressive maximum depth of about 47 metres and has a diameter of about 40 metres. The Little Blue Lake is an impressive sight for sure, with rugged cliffs and pristine blue water, a true natural wonder.
Featuring stairs and a floating pontoon that provide easy access to the water, Little Blue Lake is the perfect spot for a leisurely swim. Whether you’re seeking a solo moment of serenity, a fun swim with friends and family or a chance to connect with nature’s beauty, checking out the Little Blue Lake and going for a swim is the perfect thing to do in Mount Gambier.
There are no entry fees for visiting the Little Blue Lake, this attraction is entirely free.
4. Hike a Dormant Volcano (Mount Schank)
Is there anything cooler than being able to say you hiked a volcano? For those with an adventurous spirit and a desire to explore the unique landscapes that Mount Gambier is known for, hiking Mount Schank is a must. A truly exhilarating and unforgettable experience, the unique cone-shape of Mount Schank is a rare example of volcanic activity in South Australia.
The hike to the top lookout from the car park is a relatively short and well-established track, with a distance of approximately 1km (one way) on flat limestone steps. Despite being pretty short the track is steep so is only recommended for people with reasonable fitness. Take your time and enjoy the scenery as you make your way up.
After admiring the stunning surrounds at the lookout you can either head back down or take on the track around the crater rim. The track around the crater rim is approximately 2km long and is more rugged than the walk from the car park. With a dirt path that is quite rocky and narrow at certain sections you will need to have reasonable agility to take it on.
Whether you’re an experienced hiker seeking a new challenge or someone looking to explore the unique landscapes of Mount Gambier, this hike offers it all. As you stand atop the volcano, the wind in your hair and the beauty of the countryside around you, you’ll understand why this experience is considered one of the best things to do in Mount Gambier.
Note: Supposedly there is a track that descends into the crater however this track is not maintained or recommended by the local council. We looked for a way to enter the crater during our hike around the crater rim and didn’t see a track that was appropriate or safe. There are also no entry fees for visiting or hiking Mount Schank, this attraction is free.
5. Learn About Mount Gambier’s History at the Visitor Centre
For a captivating glimpse into Mount Gambier’s past, a visit to the visitor centre is highly recommended. One of the coolest visitor centres we’ve ever been to, the Mount Gambier Visitor Centre features interactive exhibits and displays that delve into the region’s maritime, early settlement and geological history. The centre even features an incredible replica of the historic Lady Nelson ship.
Besides being an amazing spot to learn about Mount Gambier’s rich heritage the visitor centre is a must visit for so many other reasons. It’s the best spot to get ‘insider information’ on Mount Gambier and surrounding areas from the locals, the staff there are happy to answer any questions you have. The visitor centre also has a range of other things available, such as; free bike hire, free disc hire, free parking (including long vehicle parking), free wifi and a range of different souvenirs for sale. With so much to offer, the visitor centre is an essential starting point for your time in Mount Gambier.
Exploring the Mount Gambier Visitor Centre is completely free, with no fees to check out their displays. With so much on offer and no fees the visitor centre is a fantastic free tourist attraction in Mount Gambier.
6. Go Wildlife Spotting at the Valley Lake Conservation Area
For nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers, a visit to the Valley Lake Conservation Area is a must. This hidden gem is the perfect way to have an up close encounter with Mount Gambier’s diverse wildlife. As you traverse the trails that wind through this serene park, keep your eyes peeled for the wallabies, kangaroos, echidnas, koalas and variety of birds who call Valley Lake home.
Besides the adorable wildlife, the conservation park has a range of lush vegetation and flora, making it an ideal setting for a leisurely stroll. Whether you’re an avid animal-lover or just want a tranquil spot for a walk, the Valley Lake Conservation Area promises an enriching experience that highlights Mount Gambier’s biodiversity and natural beauty.
At the time of writing this (October 2023) gates at the Valley Lake Conservation Area open at 7am and close at 6pm every day. Entry to the Valley Lake Conservation Area is free, making this another great free thing to do in Mount Gambier.
7. Enjoy a Picnic and a Hike at Valley Lake
Valley Lake isn’t just a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts; it’s also a haven for those seeking a peaceful escape and a touch of outdoor adventure. The park has a number of facilities with picnic benches, barbecues and toilet facilities so you can spend a full day at the park. Pack a delicious picnic and head to the shores of Valley Lake, where you can enjoy being surrounded by the serene beauty of nature.
After enjoying a delicious picnic, enjoy the rest of what the park has to offer; with a disc golf course, a boat ramp, a playground, a mountain bike trail and an abundance of walking trails (catering to various levels of hikers). Whether you opt for a gentle stroll or a more challenging hike, you’ll find yourself immersed in the vibrant landscapes, with breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding hills. Valley Lake is an ideal place to visit for a relaxing day in the heart of Mount Gambier’s natural beauty.
8. Visit the Stunning Blue Lake
No visit to Mount Gambier would be complete without visiting the iconic Blue Lake to take in it’s breathtaking beauty. The Blue Lake is a volcanic crater lake known for its ever-changing vivid blue waters. The water is deep blue majority of the year before changing to an intense turquoise blue as the water warms in November, remaining this vibrant colour through to late February.
This stunning natural wonder is not only a prominent feature of the region but also an integral part of its identity. There are many ways to appreciate the lake with multiple lookout points, a circuit trail and an aquifer tour. We took on the Blue Lake circuit trail and loved it. The circuit trail is an easy 3.6km trail that loops around the lake, providing exceptional views over the lake and Mount Gambier the entire way around. The walk also features a number of informational signs about the lake and surrounding environment, providing an immersive experience.
Visiting the iconic Blue Lake is completely free, there are no fees to check out the lookouts or take on the Blue Lake circuit trail.
9. Dive Deeper with the Blue Lake Aquifer Tour
Dive deeper with an enjoyable and informative tour of the Blue Lake Aquifer. The guided tour takes you on a journey into the heart of the Blue Lake, as you learn about the geological background of the Blue Lake and explore the intricacies of The Pumping Station. The tour then expands beyond the Blue Lake and covers information on Mount Gambier, including local stories and history on the early European settlement of Mount Gambier and the legends of the Boandik aboriginal tribe who lived in the area.
The Blue Lake Aquifer Tour is an opportunity to explore a side of Mount Gambier that few get to witness. If you’re curious about the hidden wonders beneath the surface of the Blue Lake, this tour is a must-do during your stay in Mount Gambier.
At the time of writing this (October 2023) the tour costs $12 per adult, $6 per child (under 16 years) and $35 for a family pass.
10. Make the Drive to South Australia’s Southern Most Point
Venturing to the southernmost point of South Australia is a journey worth doing. Located on the pristine rugged coastline, 30 minutes south of Mount Gambier, this destination offers a unique opportunity to stand at the very tip of the state, soaking in the beauty of the Southern Ocean.
As you reach the southernmost point, you’ll be greeted by the endless sight of the vibrant blue ocean stretching out before you. Take your time to enjoy the sound of crashing waves and the cool embrace of the ocean’s salty breeze. After taking in the magnificent views, make sure to take a photo on the iconic bench and city distance sign, showcasing that you’re at the southernmost point of South Australia. Also take some time to learn about the maritime history of the region and shipwreck sites via the educational signs dotted around the site.
Make the trip extra special by visiting at sunrise or sunset for incredible uninterrupted views. It’s an awe-inspiring sight that’s a must add to your list of things to do near Mount Gambier.
11. Check Out Cave Garden in the Heart of the City
Nestled in the heart of Mount Gambier lies the serene urban oasis known as Cave Garden. This picturesque site, steeped in historical significance, was once the primary source of water for the early settlers of the region. In fact, the presence of this sinkhole played a pivotal role in the establishment of Mount Gambier itself. Today the sinkhole has been transformed into a picturesque garden, packed full of greenery and surrounded by parkland.
Appreciate it’s beauty in full from a viewing platform at the top of the sinkhole before descending a series of steps that lead you partially within the sinkhole. At the base of the steps another viewing platform awaits, further immersing you in the captivating beauty that surrounds you. After rainfall a small waterfall (originating from a drain) cascades into the sinkhole. After heavy rain when the flow of the waterfall is strong, it becomes an even more spectacular sight.
With such a prominent position in the centre of the city, a trip to Cave Garden is essential when you’re exploring Mount Gambier.
12. Support the Local Community and Spoil Yourself at the Mount Gambier Farmers Market
For a morning of delicious food, artisanal craftsmanship and a chance to support the Mount Gambier community, a visit to the Mount Gambier Farmers Market is a must. Held every Saturday, this vibrant market is a treasure trove of fresh produce, baked goods, coffee and artisanal products.
As you stroll through the market stalls you’ll find locally grown fruits and vegetables, baked goods and artisanal cheeses and spreads. The scent of coffee will also waft through the market, tempting you to grab a ‘morning pick me up’ from the local coffee vendor. Besides exceptional food and produce, the market is a hub for talented local artisans and crafters who showcase their handmade wares. From unique jewellery and pottery to beautifully crafted bouquets, clothing and candles.
Beyond being able to spoil yourself with one of a kind products and exceptional produce, the Mount Gambier Farmers Market is the perfect opportunity to connect with friendly locals and support the local community. Mark your calendar and indulge yourself at the farmers market.
At the time of writing this (October 2023) the Mount Gambier Farmers Market runs every Saturday morning from 9am to 12pm at the Cave Gardens. Strolling through the market is the perfect thing to do in Mount Gambier on a Saturday morning if you’re visiting on the weekend.
13. Indulge in a Day of Tastings at One of the Local Wineries
Supported by rich volcanic soil, the cool-climate wines of Mount Gambier, despite being newer to Australia’s wine scene, are quickly drawing the attention of wine enthusiasts. A visit to one of these wineries not only offers the opportunity to enjoy exceptional wines but a chance to learn about the winemaking process from passionate winemakers.
You’ll be welcomed with open arms to cozy cellar doors and picturesque vineyards, where you can sample a range of wines and stock up on your favourite bottles. Take your time to appreciate the unique flavours and soak in the serene surroundings.
Whether you’re a seasoned wine connoisseur or are just looking to indulge with a glass or two, treat yourself to a delightful day of wine tastings at one of the region’s local wineries. Below is a list of the incredible wineries in Mount Gambier:
- Caroline Hills Winery
- Herbert Vineyard
- Good Intentions Wine Co
- Square Mile Estate
- Noski Wines
If you’re have time, consider also making the 40 minute drive North of Mount Gambier to the Coonawarra wine region. Known for having an abundance of world-class red wine producing wineries, the detour is worth it for wine connoisseurs. For wine lovers a visit to the Coonawarra wine region is a quintessential thing to do near Mount Gambier.
14. Wine Not Your Thing? Check Out the Local Breweries & Distilleries
If wine isn’t your drink of choice, fear not, Mount Gambier have a thriving beer and spirits scene waiting to be explored.
Mount Gambier has two iconic breweries; Woolstore Brewery and Little Rippa Brewing Company. Each brewery is a haven for beer enthusiasts, as you can sample their incredible selection of IPAS, lagers, ales, stouts and more. From the zesty punch of IPAs to the smooth richness of stouts, their beer selections are a testament to the artistry of brewing.
Besides sampling the selection of beers, each brewery has a huge variety of other drinks and food on offer, allowing you to make a full afternoon of your visit. Woolstore Brewery focus on bar snacks but Little Rippa Brewery have a full restaurant, from wood fired pizzas to popular mains such as chicken wings and burgers, there’s something for everyone. Engage in tastings, indulge in some delicious food and learn about the brewing process. Either brewery is a great place to visit in Mount Gambier for a fantastic afternoon.
While there are no distilleries open for tastings at the time of writing this (October 2023), Mount Gambier has an exciting development on the horizon. Spirit lovers will be thrilled to hear that Sinkhole Gin will soon be offering gin tastings at the iconic Kilsby Sinkhole that helped inspire it. Promising a unique and flavourful experience for gin drinkers, make sure to keep on eye on this space!
15. Connect with the Farm Animals at Echo Farm
Right on the edge of Mount Gambier sits Echo Farm, an old farm that makes for the perfect day out. This delightful farm offers a chance to get up close and personal with a variety of friendly farm animals such as; guinea pigs, rabbits, chickens, ducks, peacocks, emu, goats, pigs, sheep, cows, donkeys, alpacas and more.
A fun thing to do in Mount Gambier for the whole family, young and old alike will be enchanted by the opportunity to interact with the farm’s residents. Beyond being able to pet and feed the animals who call Echo Farm home you can also explore the farmhouse museum (packed full of vintage items from the 1800s to the 1950s), check out the unique chainsaw carvings on the property and enjoy a picnic.
Whether you’re looking for a full day out or want to spend a couple of hours reconnecting with nature, Echo Farm offers a wholesome and heartwarming family-friendly adventure in Mount Gambier that lets you embrace the charm of farm life and make lasting memories.
At the time of writing this (October 2023) self guided visits run on Sundays and Mondays between 10:30am-5pm and cost $15 per adult and $12 per child (2-16 years). Private tours run Tuesdays to Fridays between 12pm and 3pm and cost $18 per child and $21 per adult.
16. Spend the Night in A Cell at the Old Mount Gambier Gaol
For a truly unique experience, spend the night in a cell at the Old Mount Gambier Gaol. This historic site, once a functioning prison, now offers visitors the chance to step back in time and see what life was like for inmates.
Your room for the night will be an authentic ex-prison cell. While it may sound a bit daunting, the family who own the gaol have transferred it into a warm and inviting spot, suitable for families, couples, singles and groups. There’s nothing scary about them, but if you’d rather not sleep in a cell they have four family dorm rooms that were once alternative rooms of the gaol such as; offices, medical rooms and the kitchen.
The Old Mount Gambier Gaol has been lovingly transformed to provide visitors with a comfortable experience in this iconic heritage building. As Old Mount Gambier Gaol say, this is the only gaol you will be sad to leave once your stay is over.
At the time of writing this (October 2023) the prices are reasonable for such a unique experience with 2 person cells at just $90 per night, family rooms that sleep 4 are just $220 for the night and family dorm rooms that sleep 8 are just $280 for the night.
17. Make a Splash Cave Diving or Snorkelling at Piccaninnie Ponds
For the adventurous at heart Piccaninnie Ponds offers an underwater wonderland waiting to be explored. Located just a 25 minute drive from Mount Gambier, Piccaninnie Ponds is a prime attraction for cave divers and snorkelling enthusiasts.
Beneath the crystal clear waters lies a series of shallow narrow channels, caverns and canyons adorned with stunning limestone formations and coastal marshland, creating an otherworldly landscape. Covered in bright green reeds and aquatic weeds, swimming in Piccaninnie Ponds is like being transported into a lush underwater garden. Keep an eye out for the aquatic life that lives in the pond, with eels, freshwater fish and crayfish.
For those who don’t want to go in the water. The park also features a walking trail through the surrounding bushland and onto the nearby beach. Appreciate the varying scenery along the trail, from the lush green wetlands that surround the pond and through thick bushland to the beach where the freshwater springs bubble up through the sand. All abundant with birdlife, perfect for bird watching enthusiasts.
At the time of writing this (October 2023) Piccaninnie Ponds is temporarily closed so permits for water activities are not currently being issued. Typically however, you will need to book a snorkelling or diving session and get a permit on the Parks SA website which has a small fee.
18. Hire a Bike and Go on a Scenic Cycle Through the Town
Explore Mount Gambier from a different perspective by renting a bike and embarking on a leisurely scenic cycle through the town. Mount Gambier offers a network of bike-friendly paths and trails that wind through its picturesque streets, providing a safe and enjoyable cycling experience for riders of all levels. Pedal through the charming town, discovering hidden gems along the way.
The Mount Gambier Visitor Centre, Mount Gambier Library and Riddoch Arts and Cultural Centre all offer free bike hire. Making this a free way to immerse yourself in the beauty of Mount Gambier and it’s attractions. If you’re feeling adventurous, venture beyond the city centre, exploring the region’s farmland and natural wonders. Make sure to add hiring a bike on your list of things to do in Mount Gambier.
19. Explore the Underground World of Mount Gambier with a Guided Tour (or Cave Diving) at Engelbrecht Cave
If you’re fascinated by the underground world of Mount Gambier, Engelbrecht Cave is the place to visit. A guided tour of Engelbrecht is the perfect opportunity to learn about the hidden chambers and winding passages that lie beneath the town. The 45 minute tour allows you to enter the cave, see the iconic underground lake and learn about the region’s extensive underground cave system.
While only a small part of the cave is accessible on foot, divers can book in to explore the rest of this incredible underground world. The cave features two submerged cave passages, each providing it’s own unique dive experience.
At the end of your tour (or dive) make sure to visit the onsite cafe with coffee, cakes and cold drinks on offer. They also have a few souvenirs for sale if you’d like to buy something special to remember your trip to Mount Gambier.
At the time of writing this (October 2023) the Engelbrecht Cave tour costs $15 per adult, $9 per child and $43 for a family pass (2 adults and 2 children). They are closed on Wednesdays but are open every other day of the week. During South Australian school holidays they are open all seven days of the week.
20. Go on The Hunt for the Famous Glowing Ghost Mushrooms
If you’re visiting Mount Gambier in May or June make sure to embark on a quest to discover the famous ghost mushrooms. Ghost mushrooms are known for their bioluminescence. While appearing pretty ‘normal’ during the day, at night they come to life with an eerie green glow.
To witness this magical spectacle you can book a guided tour or explore Ghost Mushroom Lane on your own with an access pass. The lane is located in a dense commercial pine forest about 20 minutes northwest of Mount Gambier. Once you’ve parked in one of the designated parking bays, the forest is best explored on foot with several themed walks dotted along the lane.
Equipped with a torch, warm clothes and a sense of wonder, explore the forests on a dark night and you’ll be rewarded with the unique and mesmerising sight of these incredible mushrooms. This adventure is not only a chance to witness the beauty of nature but also an opportunity for stargazing.
At the time of writing this (October 2023) the access pass costs $20 per vehicle. Ghost Mushroom Lane is only open during May and June, outside of these months it is closed off from the public and is a commercial pine forest. An incredibly unique thing to do in Mount Gambier, if you are visiting during these months we’d definitely recommend heading to Ghost Mushroom Lane.
21. Revisit History at the Mount Gambier RSL War Museum
Revisit history and pay homage to the brave men and women who served their country at the Mount Gambier RSL War Museum. This remarkable museum is a tribute to the sacrifices made by veterans and is a place where history comes alive.
The museum houses an extensive collection of memorabilia that showcase the experiences of Australian servicemen and servicewomen from multiple different wars, including World War I, World War II, Boer War, Vietnam War and Afghanistan War. The impressive collection features uniforms, medals, photographs, weapons and more. You could easily spend hours strolling through the museum taking in each piece.
Situated at the back of Mount Gambier’s Community Club, after exploring the museum make sure to enjoy a meal or drink at the attached Bistro which serves up delicious hot meals. At the time of writing this (October 2023) entry to the museum is free so enjoying a meal or drink at the Bistro is a great way to show your support for this fantastic attraction.
22. Go Scuba Diving or Snorkelling at Ewen Ponds
For underwater enthusiasts, Ewen Ponds is a hidden gem that promises an unforgettable aquatic adventure. Located near Mount Gambier, these series of crystal-clear ponds and connecting channels are renowned for their remarkable water clarity and unique underwater landscapes. Like an underwater garden, Ewen Ponds is packed full of leafy green plants and aquatic life, including the rare Pygmy Perch.
Scuba divers and snorkellers alike can explore the submerged wonders of Ewen Ponds. With incredible underwater visibility of up to 80 metres, exploring this otherworldly atmosphere of lush greenery and limestone formations is unlike anything else. Snorkellers can glide gracefully through the clear waters, observing the beauty of this unique ecosystem from above, while scuba divers have the opportunity to explore the depths of the ponds, including a small cave in one.
Ideal for both beginner and experienced divers and snorkellers. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful snorkelling experience or a more adventurous scuba diving expedition, Ewen Ponds invites you to immerse yourself in the tranquility and beauty of its underwater realm. Make sure to add Ewen Ponds to your list of fun things to do in Mount Gambier.
At the time of writing this (October 2023) permits are required to snorkel or dive in Ewens Ponds. You will need to purchase a permit from Parks SA and book a time slot in advance, the time slots are one hour long and cost $33. Ewen Ponds is closed over spring every year from the 1st September to the 1st of December to allow the aquatic plant life to rest and recover.
23. Take a Stroll Through The Riddoch Arts and Cultural Centre
For a dose of culture and creativity, The Riddoch Arts and Cultural Centre is a must see attraction during your time in Mount Gambier. This vibrant hub of artistic expression has a diverse range of exhibitions, with thousands of unique paintings, sculptures and prints on display. Their varied collection depicts the people and history of the Limestone Coast, with an extensive range of Aboriginal art and 20th Century Australian art.
The centre also has free screenings of ‘Volcano’ the movie that starts with the Aboriginal dreamtime story of Craitbul and runs through the spectacular history of volcanic activity that shaped Mount Gambier into what it is today. An engaging and fascinating way to immerse yourself in Mount Gambier’s rich history.
Whether you’re an art connoisseur or simply seeking a dose of inspiration, a visit to The Riddoch Arts and Cultural Centre promises an enriching experience. Include it on your list of places to visit in Mount Gambier.
Entry to the Riddoch Arts and Cultural Centre is free. The ‘Volcano’ movie screening is also free, at the time of writing this (October 2023) the movie runs weekdays at 11am and 2pm and on weekends at 11am.
24. Get Unmatched Panoramic Views at the Centenary Tower
For the most breathtaking views of Mount Gambier and its stunning surroundings, Centenary Tower is the place to go. Perched atop a hill, this iconic landmark offers unrivalled panoramic vistas that will leave you in awe. The tower provides an excellent vantage point for photographers and nature enthusiasts, allowing you to capture the beauty of Mount Gambier from a unique angle.
As you ascend to the tower, either by foot or by vehicle, you’ll gradually gain a bird’s-eye perspective of the city and its natural wonders. Once you reach the viewing platform at the top, prepare to be captivated by the sweeping views that stretch as far as the eye can see. At 190 metres above sea level you’ll have fantastic views of the city, countryside and volcanic landscape. On a clear day you may even be able to see the sand dunes and ocean off in the distance.
The journey to the tower is an adventure in itself, with walking trails that wind through lush greenery. Keep your eyes peeled for the animals who call this area home. Visit during the day to appreciate the vast surrounding landscape or come at sunset or sunrise to witness the sky ablaze with colours. Either way, the Centenary Tower promises an unforgettable experience.
At the time of writing this (October 2023) there is a small admission fee of just $2 per person to enter the Centenary Tower. The tower is ran by volunteers so open times vary but if the flag is flying at the tower that means it’s open. Even if the tower isn’t open on the day you visit, don’t worry as the views are still spectacular from the base of the tower.
25. Time Your Visit Right and Attend an Event at the Borderline Speedway
If you’re a fan of high-speed thrills and the roar of engines, time your visit to Mount Gambier with an event at the Borderline Speedway. A popular attraction in Mount Gambier, this premier motorsport venue hosts a range of exciting events that are sure to get your heart racing.
From dirt kart racing to sprintcar events, the Borderline Speedway attracts top-tier drivers and enthusiasts from all over. The adrenaline-pumping atmosphere, the excitement of the races and the cheers of the crowd make attending an event here a memorable experience.
Whether you’re a seasoned motorsport enthusiast or just curious to witness the spectacle, a visit to the Borderline Speedway offers a thrilling night of entertainment. Check the event calendar for races, competitions and special events during your stay in Mount Gambier.
26. Hit the Green at the Blue Lake Golf Club or the Mount Gambier Golf Club
For golf enthusiasts looking to tee off with a backdrop of natural beauty, Mount Gambier offers not one, but two excellent golfing destinations. The Blue Lake Golf Club and the Mount Gambier Golf Club provide a golfer’s paradise amid the stunning landscapes of the region.
At the Blue Lake Golf Club, you can test your skills on a well-maintained 18-hole course that winds its way through picturesque terrain. As you play, you’ll be treated to views of the iconic extinct volcanoes that Mount Gambier is known for, creating a tranquil and scenic setting for your game. The club also has an 18-hole mini golf course perfect for all ages, making a trip to the Blue Lake Golf Club the perfect thing to do in Mount Gambier for the whole family.
Alternatively, the Mount Gambier Golf Club also offers a superb golfing experience with its 18-hole course. Nestled amidst beautiful greenery, this course provides a fun but challenging game for golfers of all levels. The serene surroundings and well-manicured greens make it an ideal spot to enjoy a leisurely day on the links.
Both clubs welcome visitors so grab your clubs and head to one of Mount Gambier’s golf clubs for a day of golfing amidst breathtaking scenery.
27. Check Out Hell’s Hole Sinkhole
Venture off the beaten path to discover the impressive Hell’s Hole Sinkhole. This lesser-known attraction is tucked away just a short 20 minute drive from Mount Gambier. This natural wonder is a sight to behold, boasting an impressive 42m diameter and a mesmerising depth of 25m, filled with dark blue water that adds to its mystique.
Hell’s Hole Sinkhole is accessible to divers with a ForestrySA permit, offering those who dare a unique opportunity to explore the depths of this sinkhole. To enter the sinkhole divers must abseil down, rappelling off a platform into the dark waters below. Beneath the surface is a whole other world waiting to be explored.
Don’t worry if you aren’t a diver, the sinkhole is also accessible on foot via a short 750m walking trail. After a short stroll through the thick native bushland you’ll soon be presented with the gated viewing platform which overhangs the sinkhole, giving you a prime vantage point to check out the impressive natural wonder below.
If you’re up for a unique geological experience, make sure to include Hell’s Hole Sinkhole on your Mount Gambier itinerary. A visit here is the perfect thing to do near Mount Gambier.
28. Go For a Swim at the Wulanda Recreation and Convention Centre
If you’re looking for a refreshing way to spend your day, head to the Wulanda Recreation and Convention Centre. Their modern facility offers a range of aquatic facilities suitable for all ages, making it the perfect spot for a family outing or a leisurely swim.
The Wulanda Recreation and Convention Centre features an outdoor 50m pool, an indoor 25m pool, an indoor splash pad, an indoor warm water program pool, an indoor learn to swim pool and more, there really is something for everyone. Whether you’re a serious swimmer, a family looking for a fun day out or someone in need of relaxation, the recreation centre offers a welcoming and enjoyable aquatic experience.
At the time of writing this (October 2023) casual swimming entry is $7.50 per adult, $6.00 per child or $21.00 for a family (2A+2C or 1A+3C). Children under 4 are free.
29. Indulge in the Culinary Delights of Mount Gambier
Mount Gambier isn’t just a destination for natural beauty; it’s also a haven for food enthusiasts.
Whether you’re a lover of fine dining or prefer casual eateries, the city offers a wide range of culinary experiences to satisfy every palate. From fast food spots to cosy cafes, fancy restaurants and casual restaurants, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
If you’d like to cook your own delicious meals, hit the local markets, farm gate stalls or gourmet grocers to indulge in the incredible produce grown in the region. Grab the finest farm fresh eggs and locally grown fruits and vegetables to make your own culinary creation. If you’re looking for artisanal products you’re in luck, Mount Gambier is home to numerous award-winning herb growers, bread makers, olive oil producers and cheesemakers.
Whether you’re seeking a memorable dining experience, a quick bite or a taste of local produce, Mount Gambier’s food scene has you covered.
30. Try a Game of Disc Golf!
For a fun and active outdoor experience, give disc golf a shot while you’re in Mount Gambier. Disc golf combines the fun and exhilaration of golf and frisbee, offering a unique and entertaining way to explore the great outdoors.
Mount Gambier has Crater Lakes Disc Golf Course, a well-designed disc golf course that winds its way through scenic parkland. The course offers a blend of challenges, from short, technical throws to longer, open fairways, ensuring that both beginners and experienced players can enjoy the game. Plus, it’s a fantastic way to soak in the natural beauty of Mount Gambier’s parks while engaging in friendly competition with friends or family.
The disc golf course is free for public use and you can borrow discs at no cost from the visitor centre, making it an excellent no-cost thing to do during your stay in Mount Gambier.
31. Shop The Day Away in Mount Gambier
For those in search of a shopping adventure during your visit, Mount Gambier’s shopping scene won’t disappoint. Mount Gambier boasts a variety of boutiques, department stores, gift shops and markets where you can find unique treasures and souvenirs to commemorate your visit.
Wander the vibrant streets of the city centre on foot and you’ll discover a blend of well-known retailers, small boutiques and unique gift shops. From fashion to homewares, books to sports gear, you’ll find an array of products to suit every taste.
Time your visit right and attend one of Mount Gambier’s markets which offer the perfect opportunity to purchase fresh produce, handmade crafts, unique products and artisanal goods. Support local businesses, farmers and artisans while acquiring one of a kind items.
32. Plunge into the Mysteries of the Kilsby Sinkhole
Prepare to be awestruck as you embark on an unforgettable journey to explore the Kilsby Sinkhole. This natural wonder, nestled just 14km south of Mount Gambier, is located on a sheep farm amongst Mount Gambier’s rolling countryside. The Kilsby Sinkhole is renowned for its captivating crystal clear waters, which are a stunning contrast to the lush green countryside that surrounds it.
You can choose to take in the beauty of the sinkhole with; a sinkhole tour at the water level pontoon, a snorkelling tour in the cool clear waters or an unforgettable scuba diving session where you can immerse yourself in the depths of the sinkhole.
The sinkhole tour not only runs through the geological processes that shaped this remarkable sinkhole but it’s interesting past and many uses. More than just a simple diving spot the sinkhole is also used as a training site for police and was once a centre for secret weapons research. Whether you’re an experienced diver, an inquisitive traveler or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of nature, this sinkhole offers a captivating experience that you won’t want to miss.
At the time of writing this (October 2023) the 60 minute sinkhole tours cost $15 per person and the 2 hour snorkelling tours cost $99 per person. Scuba diving sessions need to be organised separately with an approved diving operator.
33. Immerse Yourself in the Vibrant Community Space of the Mount Gambier Library
Besides being a quiet escape for bookworms, the Mount Gambier Library is a vibrant community space for people of all ages to connect, explore and discover. If you’re looking for a relaxing thing to do during your time in Mount Gambier the library is the perfect place to relax, learn and feel at home.
The library has an extensive collection of books, magazines and digital resources catering to various interests and age groups. Whether you’re researching local history, enjoying a gripping novel or seeking information on a specific topic, you’ll find a treasure trove of materials here.
The library also provides access to computers, free wifi, historical photographs, computer lessons, printing/scanning facilities, free bike hire and an abundance of engaging events for all ages. Whether you’re looking to dive into a good book, engage in research, enjoy an upcoming event or simply take a break from your adventures in Mount Gambier, the library provides a peaceful and welcoming environment to spend the day.
At the time of writing this the Mount Gambier Library is open from 9am-5:30pm Monday to Friday, 9am-1pm on Saturday and 10am-2pm on Sunday.
34. Discover the Natural Beauty of Penambol Conservation Park and the Caroline Sinkhole
20 minutes south of Mount Gambier sits a sanctuary for nature enthusiasts and outdoor lovers, Penambol Conservation Park. This untouched landscape offers a serene escape to connect with nature and enjoy a leisurely walk amongst unique flora, fauna and natural wonders.
Penambol Conservation Park has two short walks; Butterfly Walk and Wombat Walk, each catering to different fitness levels. Either trail will reward you with scenic viewpoints and captivating landscapes.
The Butterfly Walk is a short 25 minute return walk that passes through stringybark and swamp gum woodlands, providing a fantastic opportunity to see the local butterflies fluttering amongst the native flora.
The Wombat Walk is a 2 hour return walk that passes Common Wombat burrows and passes an elevated viewing platform for spectacular views of the Caroline Sinkhole, a large limestone sinkhole that has been overcome by greenery.
Whether you’re a hiker, an animal enthusiast or are simply seeking a peaceful retreat in nature, Penambol is the perfect place to recharge, immerse yourself in the beauty of nature and appreciate the incredible biodiversity that thrives in this protected area.
35. Unwind at the Leg of Mutton Lake
Directly next to the iconic Blue Lake lies the lesser-known tourist attraction, Leg of Mutton Lake. While the lake has dried up, the dense vegetation that has filled where the lake once was makes it worth a visit. Packed full of lush greenery, dense trees and vibrant flowers, this natural oasis offers a serene escape, with a walking trail that immerses you in the beautiful surroundings.
View the former lake from above at the Rook Lookout or take a leisurely walk around the former lake by setting out on the Leg of Mutton Lake trail. The trail is a relatively easy 1.6km loop that takes just 45 minutes to complete, allowing you to enjoy the peaceful surroundings and take in the beauty of Mount Gambier without breaking a sweat.
If you come in spring you’ll be rewarded with vibrant flowers. The best time to visit however is autumn when the path is covered with fallen leaves and the trees transform into fiery reds, oranges and yellows.
36. Go For a Bushwalk at the Telford Scrub Conservation Park
Nature enthusiasts, hikers and anyone seeking a tranquil outdoor adventure will find delight in the Telford Scrub Conservation Park. This hidden gem, just a short drive from Mount Gambier, offers a network of walking trails that wind through native forest.
The park’s bushwalks vary in length and difficulty, catering to both casual walkers and experienced hikers. As you explore the scenic trails, you’ll have the opportunity to observe local wildlife, flowers, ferns, fungi and trees. One highlight of the park is the abundance of native orchids. Over 20 species of orchids have been found in the park, including pink fingers, tiger orchid and purple cockatoo.
So put on your walking shoes, grab your camera and set off for a bushwalk in the Telford Scrub Conservation Park. Reconnect with nature, breathe in the fresh air of the native forest and appreciate the rich biodiversity that makes the region’s landscapes so special.
Entry to the park is free making this a fantastic free thing to do in Mount Gambier.
37. Take a Step Back in Time at the Glencoe Woolshed
Travel back in time and revisit Australia’s agricultural history with a visit to the Glencoe Woolshed. First built in 1863, this well-preserved historic site offers a fascinating glimpse into the wool industry that played a vital role in shaping the region.
As you explore this unique site, you’ll discover a vast collection of historic artefacts, including shearing equipment, wool presses and other tools that were once essential to the wool production process. The self guided tour of the woolshed is an interactive one with an abundance of photos and information boards on the history of the Glencoe Woolshed, the people who ran it and the town itself.
Visiting the Glencoe Woolshed is an opportunity to connect with Australia’s rural past. It’s a captivating journey back in time that adds a rich layer of cultural heritage to your list of things to do in Mount Gambier.
At the time of writing this (October 2023) the entry fee is $6 per adult and children under 15 years old are free. Open hours are 9am-5pm from Monday to Saturday and 11am-5pm on Sundays.
38. Relax at the Mount Gambier Railway Lands
The Mount Gambier Railway Lands is a delightful family recreational area. This revitalised area, once bustling railway tracks, has been transformed into a vibrant community space with something for everyone.
Featuring play areas, sculptures, ponds, bbq areas, sheltered tables and seating, the Mount Gambier Railway Lands is the perfect setting for a relaxed outing. Make a full afternoon of your visit, gather your loved ones, pack a picnic with your favourite snacks and prepare some food to grill on the barbecues.
The Mount Gambier Railway Lands offers an inviting outdoor space to relax and connect with family and friends. Whether you’re planning a family day out or seeking a peaceful spot to unwind, the Mount Gambier Railway Lands is a great place to stop by while in Mount Gambier.
39. Discover the Underground Beauty of the Tantanoola Cave
Tantanoola Cave, located just a 25 minute drive from Mount Gambier, is a captivating underground wonder that is considered one of South Australia’s most impressive caves. This limestone cave is renowned for its mesmerising formations, with spectacular stalagmites and stalactites everywhere you look.
This incredible cave has a pretty interesting backstory, having being found accidentally by a 16 year old boy who was hunting rabbits with his pet ferret. His ferret chased a rabbit down a small hole and didn’t return. After waiting some time the boy returned with his brother and climbed into the small hole only to be shocked by the mesmerising cave filled with hanging stalactites.
Entry to the Tantanoola Cave is by a guided tour. The knowledgeable guide will explain to you the fascinating history and geology of the caves before allowing you to stroll through the cave at your own pace, letting you take in the beauty of the cave and take great photos. Visiting Tantanoola Cave is a memorable adventure that allows you to appreciate the artistry of nature and gain a deeper understanding of the unique geology of the region.
At the time of writing this (October 2023) the guided tour is $15.50 per adult, $8 per child (4-15 years old) and children under the age of 4 are free.
40. Visit the Nearby Coastal Town Port MacDonnell
When you’re in Mount Gambier, don’t miss the chance to explore the charming coastal town of Port MacDonnell, which lies just a short 20-25 minute drive south. This tranquil seaside destination is known for its picturesque coast and laid back atmosphere, perfect for a day trip or a weekend getaway.
Port MacDonnell offers a range of attractions and activities, from exploring the Port MacDonnell Maritime Museum and learning about the area’s rich seafaring history to fishing for salmon, King George whiting or squid on the Port MacDonnell Jetty.
A visit to Port MacDonnell is a delightful way to experience the coastal beauty of the region. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure or a taste of fresh seafood, this coastal gem has something for everyone.
Enjoy Your Time in Mount Gambier!
Mount Gambier is a destination that captivates with its natural beauty and unique attractions. From feeding the friendly possums in the lush Umpherston Sinkhole gardens, to exploring the hidden chambers and passages that lie beneath the town or swimming in the refreshing waters of the Little Blue Lake, there’s no shortage of memorable experiences to be had.
Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure or a blend of both, Mount Gambier has something special in store for you. Pack your bags and get ready to create memories that will last a lifetime in the captivating city of Mount Gambier.
We hope this list of the best 40 things to do in Mount Gambier has helped you plan your trip. If you’re interested we’ve also put together some answers for frequently asked questions about Mount Gambier, SA below.
Where is Mount Gambier?
Mount Gambier is located on the southeast of South Australia, close to the South Australian and Victorian border.
What Region is Mount Gambier in?
Mount Gambier is in the Limestone Coast region of South Australia.
What is Mount Gambier Known For?
Mount Gambier, besides being known as the second biggest city in South Australia, is known for it’s abundance of spectacular geological wonders. With numerous sinkholes, caves, lakes and volcanoes that are unique to the region.
How Far is Mount Gambier from Adelaide?
Mount Gambier is approximately 435km from Adelaide, which is about a 4.5-5.5 hour drive away (depending on traffic and which route you take).
How Far is Mount Gambier from Melbourne?
Mount Gambier is approximately 426km from Melbourne, which is about a 4.5-5.5 hour drive away (depending on traffic and which route you take).
How Far is Mount Gambier from Naracoorte?
Mount Gambier is approximately 102km from Naracoorte, which is about a 1-1.5 hour drive away (depending on traffic and which route you take).
How Far is Mount Gambier from the Victorian Border?
Mount Gambier is approximately 18.6km from the Victorian Border, which is about a 15-30 minute drive away (depending on traffic and which route you take).
How Many People Live in Mount Gambier?
Mount Gambier has a population of 26,878 (according to the 2021 Census).
What are the Best Things to do in Mount Gambier?
There are loads of great things to do in Mount Gambier, including:
- Visiting the Umpherston Sinkhole
- Feeding the possums at the Umpherston Sinkhole
- Swimming in the Little Blue Lake
- Hiking a dormant volcano at Mount Schank
- Visiting the Mount Gambier Visitor Centre
- Wildlife spotting at the Valley Lake Conservation Area
- Having a picnic and a hike at Valley Lake
- Visiting Blue Lake
- Going on the Blue Lake Aquifer Tour
- Visiting South Australia’s Southern Most Point
- Visiting Cave Garden
- Attending the Mount Gambier Farmers Market
- Visiting the local wineries
- Visiting the local breweries and distilleries
- Visiting the farm animals at Echo Farm
- Spending the night in a cell at the Old Mount Gambier Gaol
- Cave diving or snorkelling at Piccaninnie Ponds
- Hiring a bike and cycling through the town
- Going on a tour or cave diving at Engelbrecht Cave
- Looking for the famous glowing Ghost Mushrooms
- Visiting the Mount Gambier RSL War Museum
- Scuba diving or snorkelling at Ewen Ponds
- Visiting the Riddoch Arts and Cultural Centre
- Visiting the Centenary Tower
- Attending an event at the Borderline Speedway
- Playing golf at the Blue Lake Golf Club or the Mount Gambier Golf Club
- Visiting Hell’s Hole Sinkhole
- Swimming at the Wulanda Recreation and Convention Centre
- Eating local cuisine, produce and artisanal goods
- Playing disc golf
- Shopping at the local boutiques, department stores, gift shops and markets
- Taking a tour of, snorkelling or scuba diving at the Kilsby Sinkhole
- Visiting the Mount Gambier Library
- Going for a walk at the Penambol Conservation Park
- Going for a walk at the Mutton Lake
- Going for a hike at the Telford Scrub Conservation Park
- Visiting the Glencoe Woolshed
- Having a picnic at the Mount Gambier Railway Lands
- Going on a guided tour of the Tantanoola Cave
- Visiting the nearby coastal town Port MacDonnell
Watch Our Experience in Mount Gambier
If you’d like to you can watch our experience in Mount Gambier in our YouTube video below.