Donovans is a quiet little town situated on the only section of the Gleneig River that flows in South Australia An interesting note : fishing permits ARE NOT requiered on this sectin of the river. As you walk along the river bank you can see rows of boat houses and the occasional rhouse boat
Carpenter Rocks is a small coastal town located 35 km from Mount Gambier on the coast.
There wasn't much here, just a small fishing community, and rugged coastline which provides fishing and diving locations.
Many ships have been wrecked along this piece of coastline, too many to name!
Before fishing developed into an industry, wattle bark, pebbles and rabbits is what the locals did for a living. Now, it's the cray fishing industry that plays a major role in the town of Carpenter Rocks.
The town has a nice bay and beach, this is where the Boats set out on their fishing journey, while the coastline is a haven for Birds and Plants. I went for a walk along a track and found the coastline scenery quite nice!
The wine producing area of Coonawarra is just 40 mins drive North of Mt Gambier. Allow a day, and preferably have a group of you, and in that group one person who will be the designated driver. Suggested cellar doors to sample at are Hollicks (where you should stop for lunch) Punters Corner, Wynns, Riddochs, Lindemans, etc etc. They are all great!
The light house at Port Mac is old and good for a look. Travel away from the town towards the west and take the windy road. You will find it. There are also a lot of really beatiful look out spots along here, the second to last one has acess to a beach and I took some wedding photos here once. Really nice. But if it is a really windy day give it a miss. (all days are windy)
Around Mt Gambier there are a number of places to tempt the keen fisher person.
The Glenelg River at nelson is a great spot, for semi-freshwater fish. The Port Mac area to the south is the crayfish capital of Australia, and lots of other sorts of fishies can be caught here too.
There are a few tourist boats but they are very expensive.
Go to Donovans landing on the river, drive towards Nelson and turn off at the signs. Drop your line here with some cockles on it, and catch yourself some brim. Please be aware that size and bag limits apply and in VIC you will need a licence if you fish anywhere else but Donovans on this river.
Port Mac - drive up Bay Road, past the blue lake, keep going till you hit the sea. The jetty can get a bit cool, even after hot days, so take your parker and jumper. The locals are friendly and will help you out.
About 25 mins drive to the South of Mount Gambier is the seaside town of Port Mac Donnell. better known as Port Mac or The Bay. This scenic little spot is the southern rock lobster capital of the world, which basically means they catch a lot of lobster here (crayfish) You can buy it from local seafood merchants if you love it enough. It can be quite expensive at times. Here is a shot of the jetty at the bay. good for fishing off of, but take a jumper! even if it is a nice hot sunny day in the mount, it will be windy and cold at the bay, I guarantee it!
I've been to Mt Gambier so many times now over the years, as I love it so much, and we've driven past Mt Schank numerous times, but this was the first time we'd made the effort to drive up to the foot of it to take the walk, so I imagine it's the same for many other people, missing this great walk or saving it for another day.
It's about 15 minutes drive south from Mt Gambier, on the route to Port MacDonnel.
There are 2 main walks you can take: one of 1 hour duration and another of 1 1/2 hours.
You can walk right around the rim of the crater, and there is a zig zagging path right down into the base of the crater itself.
This is a mini version of the blue lake, hence its very creative name! Locals call it the little blue. Connected by underground water table, the lake changes colours during the year like the big one. A fave spot for swimming.
Drive out towards Port Mac on Bay Road, turn right at the Bellum (follow the signs). On the right half way down, in paddocks, so watch for signs or you will miss it.
Many people may visit Mt Gambier, see the many caves in the area, and then leave, forgetting about Naracoorte, 100 kms further up the highway.
Sure, Naracoorte is a tiny little town in comparison to the greener, more interesting Mt Gambier, but Naracoorte's caves are just as spectacular, and more numerous. Mt Gambier caves tend to be wet caves, whereas Naracoorte caves are more dry. I highly recommend Victoria Fossil cave, where many fossils of ancient Australian animals have been excavated, and some are on display. The caves range from very easy guided tour caves, to more difficult Adventure Caving.
The Wonambi Fossil centre, across from the cafe and booking office, is well worth a visit to learn more about the amazingly rich fossil history of the immediate area.
The Little Blue Lake is a large water filled sinkhole with a diameter of around 45 metres. It's a rather pretty lake set in amongst the farmland. The walls are sheer and undercut all the way around.
The sinkhole is popular with divers and local swimmers. The Lake used to turn blue annually, however, pollution from agricultural fertilizers has increased the nutrient levels of these lakes to the extent that they now remain a year-round green colour. Swimming is allowed, but discouraged.
The depth ranges from 25m to 36 metres or deeper.
The first mention of this sinkhole was in June 1961, although it is almost certain that scuba divers came here in the late 1950s.
12KMS south west of Mount Gambier, accessed by taking the turnoff by the Bellum pub.
Nelson, Victoria. About 20 mins away in the car. A wonderful little river/beachside village. Fantastic for fishing, boating or just relaxing and getting away from it all! We go across the border all the time, mainly for fishing on the Glenelg River. This time we decided to stay at a little place called Wrens on Glenelg. It is 5 star, 2 person, self contained accom, beautifully appointed, huge spa bath, lovely decor, a lovely big kitchen, dvd's, books, all the comforts of home! It is very secluded, and the hosts leave you to your own devices, of course you can ring them if you need anything! They are 300 meters from the river, so take your rod. There you will find your own private landing! They even provide deck chairs and en eskie for you to take down there! They really have thought of everything!!
They are a 10 minute walk to the township, where you can have tea at the pub.
Picanniny and Ewen Ponds are sinkholes for snorkelling and diving, located about 20 minutes from Mt Gambier, near the coast not far from Port Macdonnell.
Picanniny is one large pond, about 25 metres deep and has a chasm with steep sides in the middle. Snorkelling over the top and looking down into the black void below, is quite scary. You need a certain level of diving to be allowed to go in here, and snorkellers also need to purchase a permit (numbers in the pond at a time are limited.
Ewen Ponds is much more shallow, and made up of 3 inter connecting ponds, linked to each other via narrow channels. Ewen is a spring fed system, the clear limestone fed water coming up from below the ponds. The amount of water which flows from the springs to the sea is greater than at Picanniny ponds.
At Picanniny, there is also an Outlet walk which you can take from next to the ponds, along the channel where its water flows out and emerges at the beach.
My preference is Ewen Ponds, as it's much less deep (about 10 metres) and there's more life living beneath the surface to look at (silver fish of varying sizes, freshwater crayfish) and much more submerged plant life than will grow in the depths of Picanniny.
No formal qualifications are needed for snorkelling at this one.
Be aware the water is very cold - even with a medium thickness wetsuit, unless it's a really warm day, you could still end up quite cold.
Mt Gambier's surrounds, with its almost endless supply of underground water and quite good rainfall is a very good place for dairy farming.
(The level of the Blue Lake never drops and at the sink hole ponds near Nelson & Pt McDonnell where the clear water comes up through the limestone, millions of litres flow out of the already very deep ponds (average 9 - 11 mts at Ewen ponds and into the sea nearby)
This is another lake, not as pretty as Blue Lake, but still a worthwhile lookout. The view of the surrounding area is a little better from here, as its higher.
The once home of famed Aussie poet Sir Adam Lindsay Gordon is Dingley Dell. On your way to Port Mac Donnell, you will see signposts to turn right when you are not far from the bay.