Limestone Coast Attractions
The shipwreck coast
Water plays a big part in Limestone Coast history. With hundreds of kilometres of coastline, stretching from the Coorong to Port MacDonnell, it's no surprise that more than 100 ships have sunk in these waters.
Take a fascinating tour along the rugged and beautiful coast that is now known as the Southern Ocean Shipwreck Trail.
Six lighthouses mark some really treacherous stretches of coast. You’ll notice erosion on each one from the crashing waves. They may eventually fall into the sea, like the original lighthouse at Cape Northumberland, so try to visit one.
Lobsters, limestone and lagoons
Feel like lobster for lunch? You can't go past the thriving southern ports of Port MacDonnell, Kingston S.E and Beachport, which also boasts one of the world's longest jetties.
While you're there, check out the four tonne, 17 metre tall crustacean - Larry, the Big Lobster in Kingston S.E. It's a sight to behold.
On the land, the Limestone Coast's ancient landscape provides visitors with a look into the past. For more than 25 million years, the region was submerged beneath the Southern Ocean. When the sea retreated about a million years ago, sand dunes and limestone deposits left a labyrinth of caves, sinkholes and fertile soils, which are integral to the region's wine and agricultural sectors.
Another unique landscape is the Coorong - a series of saline, shallow
lagoons that stretch more than 100 kilometres and are separated from the wild Southern Ocean by massive sand dunes.
Fossils, lakes and caves
The Limestone Coast’s incredible geology is responsible for some spectacular sights. Not many can beat the World Heritage Listed Naracoorte Cave fossils.
Dissolved minerals created both Mount Gambier’s stunning Blue Lake - which is the crater of a dormant volcano - and Beachport’s super-salty Pool of Siloam.
Visit another dormant volcano at Mount Schank or go diving and explore the garden-like Ewens Ponds and caves at Piccaninnie Ponds. (Remember you must be CDAA qualified and have a permit to dive at Piccaninnie Ponds. A snorkelling permit is also required for both sites.)
For something more genteel, stroll round one of the 17 golf courses, including the picturesque 18 hole Blue Lake course.
Heritage and history
The Limestone Coast has a rich cultural history. The region's most famous resident was Australia's first saint, St Mary of the Cross MacKillop. She founded the first Josephite School in an old stable in Penola and her legacy lives on still today. Her fascinating history can be discovered at the Mary MacKillop Interpretative Centre in Penola.
Other famous Australians include Sir Robert Helpmann - a dancer, actor and director, who was born in Mount Gambier. Dingley Dell was home to Adam Lindsay Gordon, the only Australian poet to be interred in Poet's Corner in Westminster Abbey. He published his first book in Mount Gambier.
Indigenous history is abundant and the Ngarrindjeri people called the region home for thousands of years. A classic example are the “middens” seen around the coast. These are mounds of cockle shells discarded by countless generations of Aboriginal dwellers.
The Limestone Coast's first vines were planted in 1891 by John Riddoch, with the first crop harvested just five years later in 1896. A year later, the region's first winery sprung to life, which is today known as Wynns Coonawarra Estate.
Wine regions on the Limestone Coast include the Coonawarra, Wrattonbully, Mount Benson and Padthaway, with cellar doors also found in Robe, Mount Gambier and Penola. In total, there are more than 40 cellar doors to choose from.
Tour the Limestone Coast - it’s big, bold and beautiful.
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Things to do
Here are some great ideas for you to try while you’re in the area.