4th March 2019
Leisurely start, no rush today everything is in town.
First stop was the Blue Lake… Yes, it really was blue and the steep walls made its volcanic past obvious to anybody. It is the town’s water supply.
Next door is Valley Lake, the remains of two craters that finally exploded, joined and largely filled themselves in forming a smaller shallower lake and a large area of land that has been turned into a recreation park.
Overlooking this area is Centenary Tower which is reached by a very steep walk. It is worth the effort because the views are spectacular. To be honest I thought the tower must have been a bicentennial project but I couldn’t have been more wrong – it was built to celebrate the centenary of the opening up of the region and was completed in 1904.
Next visit was to the Umpherston Sinkhole which, like Cave Gardens, has been turned into a park and gardens. Named after the person who originally owned the land and used it as his own retreat from the heat. It used to have a quite large lake but as the water table has lowered it is now largely dry. There was also a waterfall but unfortunately the mechanism that kept it going is broken.
Had a sandwich lunch and coffee at the local cafe – actually very nice, a big change from that at the Giant Koala..
Next port of call was Engelbrecht Cave yet another but smaller sinkhole but this time privately owned and which leads to a complex of water filled caves and tunnels which are popular with divers. The caves run under the main streets of Mt Gambier. Naturally we only visited the dry bits.
The sinkhole was originally used as a rubbish dump for a distillery and the local butchers, Some quite nasty chemicals were originally dumped down it and cleaning it was quite a task – many hundreds of tonnes of rubbish were removed by hand before the cave could be used.
After dinner at a local Malaysian/Chinese restaurant went to Cave Garden to see the sound and light show which I had been told started a 8.30pm by 8.45 nothing had happened so walked back to the caravan park. The only disappointment of the day.
Am staying an extra day in Mount Gambier to get better weather for the Great Ocean Road though I have to say that I really like Mount Gambier as a town.