Mount Gambier Tourist Attractions
On the slopes of an extinct volcano, is the town of Mount Gambier (pop. 22,000), the commercial center of an agricultural region (wheat, dairy farming, sheep) in which there are also large pine forests. Mount Gambier is easily reached from Adelaide on the Princes Highway. The Henty family settled here around 1834 and began to develop the fertile land round the town.
Mount Gambier Volcano
The main tourist attraction of Mount Gambier is Mount Gambier itself, an extinct volcano with four crater lakes. A curious natural phenomenon can be observed on the Blue Lake (maximum depth 197m) annually in November, when the color of the lake changes from dull gray to brilliant blue, changing back at the end of summer. A scenic drive, with wide views, runs round the crater.
The area surrounding Mount Gambier features a variety of attractions.
Beachport (pop. 410), which in earlier days was an important whaling station, features sheltered beaches which have made it a popular holiday resort with a variety of accommodations.From the Bowman Scenic Drive there are fine views of the Southern Ocean. Between Lake George and the sea is Beachport Conservation Park.Offshore is Penguin Island, to which there are excursions in summer.
Canunda National Park
Penola (pop. 1200) preserves some timber cottages of the pioneering period. The mansion of Yallum Park dates from 1880. The former post office houses a museum of local history.
The area round the little settlement of Coonawarra is the most southerly region in South Australia. Although the high quality of the terra-rossa soils in this area was recognized in the 19th C and there were ambitious plans it was only in the 1950s and 60s that these plans really came to fruition.
Millicent (pop. 5000) is an important commercial and industrial town with a large paper mill. The marshland surrounding the town was drained in the 19th C to provide land for pastoral farming and the growing of wheat. In the former schoolhouse (1873) is a museum with interesting material on life in pioneering days.There is also an attractive Shell Garden, with fuchsias and begonias.
Tantanoola Caves Conservation Park, Tantanoola
At Tantanoola are a number of interesting limestone caves.