The Limestone Coast’s once volcanic landscape has given way to some of South Australia’s most iconic natural wonders. From cobalt blue lakes to prehistoric caves, crystal-clear sink holes and breathtaking swimming holes, unearth the Limestone Coast’s best natural attractions with our bucket-list worthy guide.
1. BLUE LAKE, LIMESTONE COAST
The dazzling sapphire waters of Mount Gambier’s Blue Lake are one of the most iconic sites on the Limestone Coast. Once an active volcano, the 72-metre-deep crater is now filled with cobalt water which mysteriously changes shade to a deep, turquoise blue during spring. A visit between November to late February will ensure you its famed deep, turquoise blue colour which then fades during the winter months.
2. LITTLE BLUE LAKE, LIMESTONE COAST
With sheer cliffs plunging to cool cobalt blue waters below, this sink hole-turned-swimming hole is one of the most picturesque spots to take a dip in South Australia. Just minutes out of Mount Gambier, the impressive swimming amphitheatre of Little Blue Lake is surrounded by towering 10-metre limestone walls and boasts crystal-clear fresh water. Fast forward to summer and this geological wonder turns into a swimming hotspot for Limestone Coast locals, with calm, cool waters perfect for lounging on your lilo.
3. UMPHERSTON SINKHOLE, LIMESTONE COAST
Cradled beneath the earth’s surface lies a real-life Garden of Eden, also known as Umpherston Sinkhole. The ancient limestone walls of this subterranean oasis have been corroding for millions of years, creating the perfect flower pot for a few local green thumbs to toil. The result? A beautiful sunken garden blanketed with flowers, plants, lush green grass and palm trees bursting just above ground level. Appreciate its size and depth from the viewing platforms at the top of the sinkhole, venture down into its depths, along the terraces and behind the hanging vines, or stick around after sunset and meet some of the friendly possums emerging daily at dusk.
4. KILSBY SINKHOLE, LIMESTONE COAST
Tucked inconspicuously on a rural farming property 15 minutes outside Mount Gambier lies a magical underwater world. Descending 60 metres deep into the earth, the Limestone Coast’s Kilsby Sinkhole is world-renowned as one of the best sinkhole dive sites with crystal clear water and breathtaking visibility. Jump on a scuba diving, snorkelling or site tour and explore this serene underwater wonder with a qualified guide.
5. POOL OF SILOAM, LIMESTONE COAST
On the outskirts of one of South Australia’s most picturesque coastal towns lies a salty summer haven. Seven times saltier than the sea, the waters at Beachport’s Pool of Siloam are incredibly buoyant and primed for long summer days spent floating on cool, calm waters. Locals frequent the natural salt pool for its touted health benefits, with the high salinity reported to relieve aches and pains and even treat arthritis.
6. NARACOORTE CAVES, LIMESTONE COAST
A trip to the Limestone Coast wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Naracoorte Caves. Join a guided tour, where you’ll be led through underground chambers dripping with glistening stalactites and stalagmites. Feast your eyes on fascinating fossils and limestone formations or kick things up a notch with an adventure caving tour.
7. TANTANOOLA CAVES, LIMESTONE COAST
Hidden beneath an unassuming cliff-face 20 minutes’ drive from Mount Gambier lies another magical cave adorned by stalactites and stalagmites. Once an ancient shoreline, the sea has long since receded leaving behind a 30-metre-wide chamber adorned with pink and brown dolomite crystals. Tantanoola Cave’s impressive interior has been thousands of years in the making with countless hanging stalactites and floor-to-ceiling crystal columns making it one of Australia’s most beautiful caves.
8. PICCANINNIE PONDS, LIMESTONE COAST
Descend into an underwater oasis and explore crystal clear waters, lush underwater forests and serene grottos. The otherworldly Piccaninnie Ponds are world-renowned by divers, with three unique diving hotspots all fed by freshwater natural springs. Plunge into the water and explore a surreal submerged forest where aquatic plants grow up to 15 metres below the surface and swim by majestic walls of white limestone carved out over thousands of years. Pack your wetsuit and dive in to explore the 10-metre-deep First Pond before venturing on to the breathtaking 35-metre-deep Cathedral and the gigantic 100-metre-deep Chasm.
9. COORONG NATIONAL PARK, LIMESTONE COAST
Explore towering sand dunes, meander down quiet waterways and roam along snow-white sandy beaches in Coorong National Park. Stretching some 130km down the coast from the Limestone Coast to the Fleurieu Peninsula, the ecological diversity of this important wetland system is staggering. Encompassing a string of saltwater lagoons and wetlands brimming with fish, spend a few days kayaking the tranquil waters, spotting abundant birdlife, lounging on picturesque beaches and discovering the important Aboriginal culture of the Ngarrindjeri people. Make sure you stick around for dusk – sunsets over the Coorong are a sight to behold. Australian film lovers will also recognise it as the site where Storm Boy was filmed.
10. SALMON BEACH, LIMESTONE COAST
Imagine sparkling waters lapping at your feet as you walk through the softest white sand and a gentle ocean breeze gently caressing your face. Just minutes from the centre of the charming seaside town of Beachport, the Salmon Hole is the ultimate swimming sanctuary on the Limestone Coast. The 600-metre-long curving beach is sheltered by a beach rock reef – the result is a calm lagoon between the reef and the beach perfect for swimming. From excellent snorkelling to sand boarding on the adjoining sandhills and top-notch fishing, these turquoise waters are an adventurer’s playground. Check out our guide to more of our favourite beaches on Limestone Coast.