It’s About Lime: Adelaide to Mount Gambier travel guide

Explore South Australia’s magnificent Limestone Coast, where the scenery is as spectacular as the serenity. Along the way, plunge into sinkholes, explore the dunes and tuck into the local seafood.


A tall, cubist-style building sits in a distant green paddock beyond vineyards, d’Arenberg Cube, McLaren Vale

The Limestone Coast has it all: incredible coastline, national parks, birdlife and wineries. Oh, and lobsters – delicious lobsters. On the road trip between South Australia’s capital and Mount Gambier, close to the Victorian border, and back again, there’s so much to take in you could spend weeks pottering about. Pack your walking shoes, swimsuit and binoculars because there’s plenty of activity to be had out of the car. Don’t rush through Coorong National Park. This is where the Murray spills into the sea, and the region is peppered with salt lakes, including a pink lake near Meningie, and sinkholes. All of it is protected by the sand dunes of the Younghusband Peninsula. It’s also Storm Boy country. Both versions of the film – the 1976 original and the 2019 remake – were filmed in the Coorong, and you can see pelicans and other water birds throughout the region.


Long Beach, Robe, SA

It won’t take long to work out why Robe is one of the most popular towns on the South Australian coast. Its streets are lined with historical buildings and there’s the added attraction of Long Beach – 17 kilometres of sand where people swim, walk and fish. This part of the world is famous for its southern rock lobster, and the best place to eat it is Sails. You can get any type of local seafood your heart desires here, but order your in-season lobster (October to May) before 2pm to ensure you don’t miss out.


  1. While the Peramangk people have lived here for thousands of years, German settlers established Hahndorf in the 1830s and that influence still remains today. The tree-lined street has a collection of galleries, shops and eateries. Get a taste of Bavaria – wurst, schnitzels and Hofbräu are all on the menu – at Hahndorf Inn then visit Beerenberg Farm to pick your strawberries (November to April).

  2. Given that the Coorong is made up of ocean, lakes, estuaries and sand dunes, one of the best ways to explore it is by boat. Join Goolwa’s Spirit of the Coorong for its full- or half-day cruise and pass the mouth of the mighty Murray, visit fishing villages, see a midden site, dig for pipis, watch for seals and more.

  3. Palaeontologists have learned much about Australia’s prehistoric wildlife at the World Heritage-listed Naracoorte Caves. Of the 28 limestone caverns, four are open to the public. Check out the remains at the Victoria Fossil Cave or check out the very alive southern bent-wing bats in Blanche Cave.

  4. Once a cave that has collapsed, Mount Gambier’s Umpherstone Sinkhole is now a massive hole in the ground transformed into a beautiful and tranquil garden. Observe it from the platforms above then head down into its verdant depths. Bring some fruit at sunset to feed the possums who gather.

  5. Beneath the paddocks of a farm just south of Mount Gambier is an incredible underwater world you can book in to explore. Kilsby Sinkhole is just one of the many in this area, but the family who’s lived near it for generations says it keeps changing and growing. You can go on a snorkel tour of the crystal clear waters, or book a dive if you’ve got your license.


Motel Goolwa

Goolwa is considered the gateway to the Fleurieu Peninsula, and Motel Goolwa, with its 24 rooms, is located right at the heart of the town. Grab a breakfast burrito and coffee at Jack’s Place Cafe downstairs before you head off.

Harbour View Motel

Set on the hill, Harbour View Motel overlooks Robe’s Guichen Bay and the marina. The 14 rooms range from budget-friendly standard queens (with no view) to the more luxurious upstairs panoramic view king rooms.

The Old Mount Gambier Gaol

Get a taste of history when you check into a former cell at The Old Mount Gambier Gaol, built in 1866 and closed in 1995. There are a number of types of rooms available, all with access to shared lounges, kitchens and outdoor courtyards.


A couple walks towards an old stone building that used to be a jail but is now a hotel, Mount Gambier, South Australia

Pick up the car you booked in advance from Apex Car Rentals when you arrive at Adelaide Airport. Over the shortest distance to Mount Gambier, you’d arrive in just under five hours, but there is so much to explore along the way, give yourself at least three days. On the way back, take a more inland route that will take you to the Coonawarra wine region and Naracoorte.


Whale Watching Platform in Warrnambool

Head over the border and towards Warrnambool. Along the way you’ll get to visit coastal towns like Portland and Port Fairy. You’ll particularly want to consider this journey if you’re travelling between June and September. That’s when female southern right whales return to the waters off Warrnambool’s Logans Beach to calve. A special platform has been constructed there to observe them.