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Limestone Coast

Have a brilliant Limestone Coast break and save on fuel.

Stay three nights at a caravan park, bed and breakfast, or motel in the Limestone Coast and save 60 cents per litre on fuel. To get your fuel voucher, call 1800 087 087. * conditions apply

Famed for its red wines, red soils and red rock lobster, the Limestone Coast is located in the middle of the Adelaide to Melbourne touring route. Lush pastures dotted with gum trees, immaculate vineyards, sweeping expanses of coast and parallel pine plantations line the way as you drive among the region’s pretty country towns.

Drink the world-beating rich red wines of Coonawarra. Visit the spectacular Naracoorte Caves, where huge fossils have proven the existence of massive prehistoric mammals. Take a hike around Mt Gambier’s Blue Lake, renowned for mysteriously turning turquoise every summer. See migratory birds that have flown from as far away as Siberia to rest in the Coorong National Park. You can experience the best of the region by following the Limestone Coast Wine and Food Trail, available from visitor information centres across the region.

Naracoorte Cave World Heritage Fossil Site

Venture into a subterranean world of stalactites, stalagmites and ancient fossils at the Naracoorte Caves, one of only 14 World Heritage-listed sites in Australia. You can also watch rare southern bent-wing bats at the high-tech Bat Centre, and explore the world of ancient mega fauna at the Wonambi Fossil Centre.

Wines Known the World Over

Unearth the classic and the cutting edge at cellar doors throughout the Coonawarra Wine Region, where unique terra rossa soils have helped to create some of the best red wines in the world. Visit in October for the Coonawarra Cabernet Celebrations: meet the winemakers at the cellar door, taste fine food and wine and soak up the atmosphere.

Other great wine regions on the Limestone Coast include Padthaway (with its immaculately-restored 1882 homestead), Mount Gambier, Mount Benson near Robe, and Wrattonbully near Naracoorte.

Penola’s Mary MacKillop Interpretive Centre

Celebrate the lives of Blessed Mary MacKillop and Father Julian Tenison Woods, who founded the Sisters of St Joseph in Penola to provide schooling for isolated children. The Mary MacKillop Interpretive Centre, housed in their original schoolhouse, shows why Mary is on the way to becoming Australia’s first saint.

Flavours of the Limestone Coast

Take your tastebuds on tour with the Limestone Coast Pies and Platters Trail, which will lead you to gourmet pies and regional platters featuring hero ingredients of the Limestone Coast: beef, lamb, duck, rabbit, venison, emu, goat, lobster and barramundi. Grab a brochure and map at visitor information centres throughout the region, or visit in February for the Taste the Limestone Coast Festival in Naracoorte.

Seaside Towns

Dine beachside on takeaway fish and chips or tackle a whole lobster in one of many great pubs and restaurants in seaside towns like Robe, Kingston SE, Port MacDonnell and Beachport.

Take to the beaches and jetties to fish, surf and swim. Wander among historic buildings in search of cafes, galleries and shops. Most major towns in the region celebrate their culture and cuisine with annual events: among them are the Port MacDonnell Bayside Festival in January and the Robe Village Fair in November.

The Coorong

Venture through Coorong National Park, declared a Wetland of International Importance in 1975. It’s home to the world’s largest breeding colony of Australian pelicans and is also a temporary sanctuary for thousands of migratory birds from all around the world. You can hike the 130 kilometre beach linking the park and the Southern Ocean, drive a four-wheel-drive through some areas and visit Camp Coorong on Lake Alexandrina to hear the history of the land through the eyes of the local Ngarrindjeri Aborigines.

Visit between September and November each year for the Meet the Waders Festival, celebrating the amazing journey of migratory birds.

Mount Gambier’s Blue Lake

Explore Mount Gambier, South Australia’s second biggest city and home to the Blue Lake, which turns from grey to a brilliant turquoise every November. The city is built on the slopes of an extinct volcano, and you can also tour limestone caves beneath the city streets and walk through stunning gardens created inside sinkholes.

Four-Wheel-Drive Exploring

You’ll find some of South Australia’s best four-wheel-drive routes on the Limestone Coast. There are tough desert tracks in the Ngarket Conservation Parks, or great coastal drives through Canunda and Coorong National Parks and Beachport Conservation Park. Please stick to marked trails and look after the environment.

* Fuel offer terms and conditions: Offer valid 1 May 2006 to 30 September 2006. Participating accommodation providers only. Maximum 60 litres per guest. Excludes fuel card. Cash and EFTPOS only. First 1000 bookings.

A touch of blue

South Australia’s Mount Gambier, located about halfway between Melbourne and Adelaide, is built on a warren of limestone caves and sinkholes. Its gleaming, white limestone is quarried and has been used for many of the city’s imposing buildings.
Mount Gambier’s best-known natural icon is the remarkable Blue Lake in one of the four volcanic craters around which the city is built. The lake’s vivid, sombre, inky blue colour remains during winter. Early in November, with the onset of summer, the colour mysteriously changes, almost overnight, to an intense turquoise blue. The most popular current scientific theory holds that microscopic calcite particles in the warmer summer water absorb every colour in the spectrum except blue. These particles dissolve when the water cools.
Whatever the explanation, you can view the phenomenon from a newly constructed pedestrian walkway around the Blue Lake crater rim. The water is safe for drinking – it forms the city’s water supply. A trip run by Aquifer Tours takes visitors in a glass-panelled lift down the original limestone bore-well, through a tunnel and onto a pontoon at the lake surface.
Not far away, Leg of Mutton Lake (dry since 1859) offers lovely walking trails. Or try snorkelling in Ewen Ponds, where the water is so clear that plants grow to a depth of six metres. In nearby Piccanninie Ponds, you can snorkel across the top of “The Chasm” and often see down to a depth of 40 metres.
And when you need to recharge the batteries, head to the historic port of Robe to feast on local food and wine, check out the eclectic mix of shops and wander among the restored buildings.

Activites and Experiences at Limestone Coast

  • Sightseeing
  • Wine Tasting
  • Aussie Lifestyle
  • Rural/Country
  • Food and Wine

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