Monday, 11 June 2007

Mount Gambier

I know it's not very exotic for South Aussies but we just are back from a GREAT weekend in Mount Gambier. It's the second biggest town in our state (Adelaide is the largest) with a population of about 24,000. It's part of the Limestone Coast and so there are lots of geological features to keep Ryan happy. I was just glad to get away from my marking :)

First off, we went to visit the Umpherstone Sinkhole. From the tourism website:

"Once a cave formed through dissolution of the limestone, this sinkhole was created when the top of the chamber fell to the floor of the cave, creating the perfect environment for its "sunken garden"."

This is us, funnily enough in front of the sinkhole. It was really bright out and I didn't check whether this photo worked. As you can see, it didn't. However, it's the only photo from the weekend with us in it, so I figured I'd post it anyhow.

The sinkhole is remarkably cool, even from the point of view of the geological ignorant (ie. me). There is a full time gardener who volunteers to keep it all pretty, and it certainly was!

Can you tell I liked the sinkhole garden? :) I think I was just impressed that it was so green. It rains a lot in Mt. Gambier. After viewing the Umpherstone sinkhole, we went into Mt. Gambier proper to see that it had closed for the entire long weekend - yay provincial towns! So we went and looked at another sinkhole and then wandered around the Blue Lake for a bit.

Once again, from the Mt. Gambier tourism website:

"The Blue Lake was formed when the volcano erupted through the limestone allowing the underground water to fill the crater, creating the lake that we see today. Each year in November the lake starts its colour change from winter sombre blue to brilliant turquoise blue, before returning to its winter hue in March."

So yeah, it was a bit grey. Ryan wanted me to take this photo so you can all see the different layers in the rock. :) You can see the blue colours around the bank though.

After walking around the Lake for a bit, we went on a bush walk. It was great though a little more strenuous than the "Easy, gradual slope" that the sign advertised. We spent a lot of time admiring the view as there was an old man in one of those electric buggies in front of us and we were sure he was going to get bogged and need our assistance at some stages!

As you can see, the recent rainfall made the whole area pretty vibrant! We ended our full day in Mt. Gambier with dinner and a movie, then wandered back to the sinkhole which is floodlit at night. So here's the last photo of it, I swear :)

So that's the "travel journal" updated - we had a really lovely time. Totally recommend the area for a quick getaway!

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