Mount Gambier doesn't have a lot to offer those looking for the big nightclubs of the bigger cities. But the pub scene is definately alive down here.
The G (aka The Gambier Hotel) has a range of live bands and guests DJs. Bar prices are higher than your normal pub. A bit more up-market than other pubs in town.
The South Aussie Hotel laso has a range of live bands - with local bands always a big hit. This is more for your younger and relaxed crowd.
Shadows Nightclub - the place that is open the longest, always draws a crowd. Drinks apepar to be in smaller glasses and cost more, but it could be because of the time of the evening and the bevvies consumed before getting there! TIP: Do Not go there early, it will be only be you and about 5 single mums in their 40s absolutely smashed.
Dress Code: The G - no thongs, singlets or caps
The South Aussie - more relaxed, casual.
Shadows - same as the G.
Jazz at the Engine Room is on the last Friday night of every month. I am a little bias with this tip as my vocal group Mayfair are one of the most frequent of performers. A great night out, with vocal and instramental jazz, and The J Boys 4 piece band a highlight.
Dress Code: Neat casual
The Gambier Hotel as it was formaly known, has recently undergone a Million dollar upgrade - and had its name shortened in the process. Now known as 'The G' or the G Spot if you think you are being funny, it has a contemporary feel with modern colours and textures. But at the end of the day it is still a pub, and the food is good, music is good, beer is good.
Dress Code: They started out by barring people who had brand names on their clothes - but come on - this is a large country town - everyone rocks up to the pub in their cricket gear after the game. So i don't think they mind any more.
A chance to get a little done up though.
Not a night club, not a cafe, not a bar, but a mixture of all three, and in the most sensational surrounds! The Funk Lounge is in a 70's theme, with groovy old tables and chairs, sofas, wall hangings and lamps. It is great. Live DJ plays most nights.
They have food available, chose from 70's platter, Mexican platter or have a burger, bagette or more substantial meal.
Dress Code: Smart casual. They wont chuck you out.
Be aware that it is a hefty stair climb up.
Fits 80 people. No smoking inside so it makes for a great night if you are like me and hate smoking. A great alternative to the pub. Just that little bit nicer.
From what I saw, Mt Gambier didn't seem to have a lot of entertainment nightlife, though in the tourist brochure, two venues are listed as nightclubs or nightspots.
I also noticed signs on a couple of the pubs advertising live bands, so there is something to do besides drinking ;-), possum watching, driving around town to see the stone buildings lit up at night (and also Umpherston sinkhole and Cave gardens are floodlit)
This is the Naracoorte Bat Cave, 100 kms north of Mt Gambier.
We visited the Bat View Telecentre viewing room, set up with fake rocks to look like a cave, with viewing tv's.
1000's of bats appear on the screen in 4 different chambers.
These are Southern Bent Wing Bats.
They are only found in this particular cave at Naracoorte, and in nearby forest.
Bent Wing Bats are small, dark brown and furry with paper thin tautly stretched partly transparent membrane wings.
After seeing the bats on the monitors in the teleview centre, we went down into the cavern itself
Blanche cave is mostly open, and very dry inside. Bleached white mostly in color.
There are at least 3 large roof openings.
Bent wing babies are born in December and fly at 6 weeks.
There are approximately 60,000 bats living in Blanche cave.The bats can live to be 20 years of age.
The temperature in the chambers of the cave where the bats are situated is 30 degrees, warmed from body heat. In the rest of the cave, which stays constant all year round, it feels about 17 degrees.
at dusk each night in the summer, the bats start warm up laps around the centre of the Blanche cave chambers, before they start to trickle outside. The process of leaving and returning takes several hours.
Visiting Umpherston Cave either during the day or at night is great, but I prefer the evening visits when the cave is floodlit, and for seeing and feeding the possums that live there.