"How many cities do you know that are built on the slopes of an extinct volcano?"
The Blue Lake (not yet turned the turquoise it's famous for in summer, but still an amazing hue)
As a result, there are certainly no shortage of things to do while staying in Mt Gambier. There are just so many caves, sinkholes, craters etc. to explore, wander by, walk around and climb. We enjoyed a 3.6km walk around the famous Blue Lake (above). That was just before I came down with the tummy bug our family had been passing around so I'm not sure how good it was for me. Let's just say I really enjoyed being able to lie down that evening after a very busy day of sight seeing.
First stop was the Umpherstone Sinkhole. This was once a cave which formed through the dissolution of limestone.
The sinkhole was created as a result of the roof of the chamber falling to the floor of the cave, creating the prefect environment for its 'sunken garden' in the 1800s. There was a lake in here at that time and the owners used to picnic here using a boat for enjoyment on the lake.
I have never before seen anything like this and it is a sight to behold. So beautiful during spring with flowers blossoming and lots of greenery due to the consistent winter rains.
Limestone rock forming the edges of the cave over which vines have been growing for decades.
The beauty of blossom.
Our next stop was the Cave Gardens.
It is so easy to drive past these gardens and not notice anything there at all. It is all underground I guess and at the moment it is next door to a construction site, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled as it is yet another sight to behold.
This cave was originally the source of water supply for the early settlers. Now the Blue Lake provides water for the city.
Rather than there being a sunken garden at this site, there are beautiful plantings all around the cave including lovely rose gardens which are just about to burst into blossom. The rose buds enticed me to linger longer waiting, yet we could not.
This striking Strelitzia (Bird of Paradise) being decorated by a busy bee was a magnificent sight. Look at the intensity of the red colour in this blossom, contrasting so beautifully with the golden yellow and sky blue of the upper petals. A magical sunset!