Sometimes Mount Gambier in South Australia feels a bit like another planet, with ancient caves full of stalactites and a rugged, limestone coastline.


  • Freshwater diving and snorkelling
  • Rugged coastlines
  • Ancient caves

When you get an eyeful of Mount Gambier’s massive sinkhole caves and underwater forests of seaweed you could be forgiven for thinking you’d died and gone to snorkelling and diving heaven.

The Lowdown

I will confess that I thought Mount Gambier just had a big blue lake and that was it! But I now know there is so much more. Our weekend here was only just enough to scratch the surface of the absolute gold that lies within 30km of this natural wonderland.

Let’s start with the sinkholes. These massive holes in the ground are mindblowing. Some of them are smack bang in the middle of town and they go down for hundreds of meters. Some are filled with stunning plants, while others go down into great depths of crystal clear spring water. It’s a diver’s paradise, so much so that they come from all around the world to experience these incredible caverns and underwater caves.


sinkhole caves, rainforests, mt gambier, tom sherrin woods

Then there are the ancient caves that are stacked with stalactites dripping from the ceilings like melted wax. They are definitely worth the visit. It’s a geologist’s dream around this neck of the woods.


sinkhole caves, rainforests, mt gambier, tom sherrin woods

The coastline just 25km from Mount Gambier is spectacularly rugged. It’s a harsh environment with jagged limestone rocks and wild offshore reefs that reflect this only too well.


sinkhole caves, rainforests, mt gambier, tom sherrin woods

But the absolute highlight of the Mount Gambier adventure came on the final day when we went free diving at Piccaninnie Ponds. You need a permit from the National Parks to dive this spot. This gave us access to the site with just two other scuba divers for an hour of swimming in what I can only describe as an underwater rainforest. The water was super cold but possibly the clearest freshwater I have ever been in.


sinkhole caves, rainforests, mt gambier, tom sherrin woods


The pinnacle moment came when we swam through the green plants and came directly over the top of a cavern that drops 150m into the deep blue. It was breathtaking. There’s no doubt that we’ll be back to check out more of this amazing part of South Australia.

Essential Gear

  • Quality full-length wetsuit
  • Snorkel gear
  • Hiking boots
  • Camera (waterproof if you have one)


How To Get There

Mount Gambier’s sinkhole caves are four and a half hours drive south-east of Adelaide.



  • Snorkelling
  • Diving
  • Hiking
  • Photography
  • Camping


Skill Level