Blue Lake, Mount Gambier, South Australia

Blue Lake, Mount Gambier, South Australia

2019 - 5 Days: Mt Gambier, Naracoorte, Robe and Penola

**Special Offer – Includes 1 dozen bottles of South Australian Shiraz to be enjoyed by the participants while on tour. Tour is priced at 2018 prices!

Locally the area around Mount Gambier is simply called The South East (of South Australia) – because that’s where it is on a map! Other names have been put forward – The Greater Green Triangle, reflecting the area’s brilliant greenness and geometrical shape. The Limestone Coast, evoking its ancient geology, once submerged under the Southern Ocean and the limestone that underpins the area’s famous vineyards. Or the Lakelands – with the fascinating mix of lakes in volcanic craters, sinkholes and underground rivers and waterways. Kanawinka is another name – the geographical fault line that runs like a spine through the landscape. Each name is apt but not all encompassing when describing the bounty and diversity of the South East.

**Special Offer – Includes 1 dozen bottles of South Australian Shiraz to be enjoyed by the particpants while on tour

Day 1 (D): Melbourne to Mount Gambier (Monday)

Welcome to our 5 day tour to Mt Gambier and the south east region of South Australia. Sit back and enjoy the service and facilities aboard our Touring Coach as we depart Melbourne and travel to Geelong – and then follow the Princes Highway through to Warrnambool for a lunch break (own cost). This afternoon, our journey takes us through Port Fairy and Heywood across the border into South Australia to Mount Gambier. Mount Gambier has a population of about 23,000 people.

Their water supply comes from the famous Blue Lake – the largest of the many crater lakes in the area. Between November and April, the steely grey waters of the lake changes to a brilliant blue, almost overnight.

There are many theories about why this occurs but scientists continue to be baffled by this yet to be explained phenomenon. Before checking into our accommodation we make a stop at the Lady Nelson Tourist Centre which contains the Discovery Centre. Interactive exhibits display a history from the explorers and local aboriginal people to our country as it is today, unfolding some of the mysteries of our history and geology (Lunch own cost in in Warrnambool / Dinner in the motel).

Comfort Inn Silver Birch Motel, Mount Gambier (or similar)

Umpherston Cave, Mount Gambier, South Asutralia

Umpherston Cave, Mount Gambier, South Asutralia

Day 2 (BD): Mount Gambier and The Lakes (Tuesday)

Our first appointment this morning is at the Blue Lake Visitors Centre where we will meet our guide for a tour of the Blue Lake Pumping Station. We hear a fascinating story with comprehensive information about this most unique volcano, its folklore & legends, mysterious annual colour change, wildlife and facts about the water supply of the city of Mt Gambier. We will even hear about the antics of Adam Gordon Lindsay – a well know national poet who was also an accomplished horseman and leading steeplechase jockey. He almost came to grief one day at the Blue Lake!

From here we re-join the coach to visit Umpherston Cave – a sinkhole that has been landscaped with terraced gardens close to the city centre. It is an impressive garden with palm trees reaching to the sky and plants hanging over the edges of the sinkhole. After a break for lunch in the main commercial area of Mount Gambier (own expense) we take a drive south of the city to Port MacDonnell and the Cape Northumberland Heritage and Nature Park.

This is South Australia’s most southerly point and is a rugged coastline with natural vegetation uninterrupted views and an historical lighthouse site. Our afternoon stop is at Dingley Dell – the one time home of Adam Lindsay Gordon. We will be entertained by the curator here – a self confessed Adam Lindsay Gordon fanatic! We will hear some of his poetry, learn about his wild adventures and see the restored cottage in which he lived. From here we return to our motel for dinner and overnight accommodation. (Breakfast & Dinner in the motel/Lunch own cost)

Comfort Inn Silver Birch Motel, Mount Gambier (or similar)

Naracoorte Caves, Naracoorte, South Australia

Naracoorte Caves, Naracoorte, South Australia

Day 3 (BLD): World Heritage Caves (Wednesday)

We head inland this morning to the delightful village of Penola. The town was established in the 1850’s and has a colourful history. Fortunately a lot of this history has been preserved and is on display along Petticoat Lane and throughout the Saint Mary MacKillop Interpretative Centre. We see and hear the story of the co-founders of the Institute of the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart – initially to provide a Catholic education for poor, isolated and rural children. The Interpretative Centre brings together the other buildings on the site – the School House, the Church, Shrine and Old Convent around a central square and a reflective pool that adds stillness and peace to this special site. Adjacent to the Interpretative Centre is Petticoat Lane. This intriguing heritage site portrays the pioneer living standards of the 1890’s. The story of Christopher Sharam, his wife and 15 children is detailed at a site just behind the original slab hut cottage.

North of here is the Wonambi Fossil Centre located within the Naracoorte Caves National Park. Here we have the opportunity to step back in time’ and discover what Naracoorte was like over 200,000 years ago. The Centre contains fossil displays and a walk-through diorama with life-sized models of extinct animals in their ancient habitats.

The interpretive centre also illustrates how the caves have acted as pitfall traps, dens and roosts for more than 500,000 years, leading to the vast accumulation of skeletal remains of reptiles, birds and mammals. We have also arranged a guided tour of Alexander Cave and a light lunch.Mid afternoon we travel into Naracoorte. The name Naracoorte is believed to be derived from the Aboriginal words for “running water” or “large waterhole. We call at the Sheep’s Back Museum and enjoy a brief sightseeing tour of the town before checking into our accommodation. (Breakfast & dinner in the motel/Light lunch at the Naracoorte Caves)

Comfort Inn William McIntosh Motor Lodge, Naracoorte (or similar)

Robe, South Australia

Robe, South Australia

Day 4 (BLD): Historic Robe (Thursday)

We are off to Robe today – one of the State’s most popular seaside resorts. On arrival we head straight to the Whistling Fish Bookshop & Coffee House . After morning tea and the chance to look around this rather quaint book shop we are joined by our local guidefor a brief sightseeing tour of the town followed by some free time to take a stroll through Robe. Our lunch today is at the Vic Street Pizzeria. This afternoon we stop at Cape Jaffa Wines. Their cellar door is built out of limestone collected on the property and has panoramic views of the surrounding hinterland and olive grove. The winery is the first fully certified biodynamic vineyard on the Limestone coast – the production of better fruit with no artificial fertilisers, herbicides, pesticides or fungicides. Using natural alternatives instead encourages healthy soil which ripens fruit earlier, making for better balanced wines. At the cellar door we’ll find wine, olive oil and local almonds and a warm atmosphere! We finish the day with a cheese tasting at the Limecoast Cheese Companyat Lucindale. (Breakfast & Dinner in the motel/Light lunch included)

Comfort Inn William McIntosh Motor Lodge, Naracoorte (or similar)

Day 5 (B): Heading Home (Friday)

Following a leisurely breakfast, we begin the trip home. Our track today takes us via Edenhope to Horsham where we join the Western Highway. We take a lunch break at Ararat and then travel into Melbourne to complete a sensational 5 day tour. (Breakfast in the motel/Lunch own cost)


Tour Price

From $995 per person sharing a twin or double room (add $160 for a guaranteed single room).

Tour Inclusions

Tour Price (minimum 30 people) includes accommodation as per the itinerary, meals as indicated (B= Cooked breakfast, L= Light or packed lunch, D = Buffet or limited choice dinner) deluxe touring coach with seatbelts, attractions/entries as noted.

Terms and Conditions

Contact ARJ with the preferred dates your Club would like to travel. ARJ will then confirm all the arrangements in your Club Name – subject to availability. The Club’s Group Organiser or Tour Manager should then collect a minimum deposit $200 per person from those members who wish to travel on the tour. ARJ will fully refund this amount for anyone who cancels up to 60 days from departure. The deposit becomes non refundable within 60 days of departure. Balance of payment is due 30 days prior to departure. Any cancellation within 30 days of departure attracts an additional cancellation fee of $200 per person. No refund inside 7 days. Travel insurance is strongly recommended.

All itineraries are subject to change due to occasional restrictions in opening times/days of some attractions, e.g. churches, wineries etc. We cannot be held responsible for any changes due to closures, inclement weather etc.