Half Day Tour in Mt Gambier - "The Lady Nelson" Visitor&Discovery Centre, Umpherston Sinkhole, Cave Garden

Location: 

Travel Date: 
01.09.2013

As you know, we started our day walking around Blue Lake and Valley Lake, then went to the crater of Mount Schank. After that we went back and spent a rest of the day in Mt Gambier, exploring the town. We went to interactive museum "The Lady Nelson" Visitor&Discovery Centre, looked at HMS Lady Nelson, visited Cave Garden and Umpherston Sinkhole.

"The Lady Nelson" Visitor&Discovery Center is a small museum, where you'll be able to see a full-size replica of HMS Lady Nelson and hear Lieutenant Grant tell his story of discovery. There is the fossilised skull of an extinct short-faced kangaroo Simosthenurus occidentalis. You can meet the ghost of Christina Smith, an early European settler, as she steps out of a photograph and relates the story of her experiences with the Aboriginal people in the 1840s. Finally you will watch an electronic erupting volcano and find out about the geology of this area. Please note that a small fee applies for entry into the Discovery Centre. We spent an hour there, but some can spend less time as the museum is small.

A full-size replica of HMS Lady Nelson outside the Discovery Centre:

Australia, South Australia, Limestone Coast, Полдня в Mt Gambier - "The Lady Nelson" Visitor&Discovery Centre, Umpherston Sinkhole, Cave Garden, ,

Please read a full story of HMS Lady Nelson in Wikipedia. I was amazed to hear how this small ship (look at the photo above, it is a full-size replica) was used to survey the coast of Australia. There is another replica of the Lady Nelson in Hobart, Tasmania.

After the museum we went to Cave Garden. Situated in the centre of the city, Cave Gardens feature a sinkhole that was the original source of water for the early settlers. Its beauty and significance can be appreciated from the viewing areas above and you can also walk down into the cave and venture out onto the suspended viewing platforms for an awesome view into the cave. Every evening, colour washes and ancient faces rise from the cave and tell the dream time stories of local indigenous people. The rear wall of the Main Corner comes alive with an array of photos featuring Mount Gambier's European heritage. Sound and light show runs nightly at 8pm and 8.15pm or 9pm and 9.15pm during daylight savings.

We went to look at the show later in the evening. It was quite interesting experience for us (adults) to see photos and hear spectacular sound, but our son was not so happy as we had to stand and look at the wall for a while.

Cave Garden:

Australia, South Australia, Limestone Coast, Полдня в Mt Gambier - "The Lady Nelson" Visitor&Discovery Centre, Umpherston Sinkhole, Cave Garden, ,

Sinkhole:

Australia, South Australia, Limestone Coast, Полдня в Mt Gambier - "The Lady Nelson" Visitor&Discovery Centre, Umpherston Sinkhole, Cave Garden, ,

Later we went to the place known as "the sunken garden" - Umpherston Sinkhole.

Australia, South Australia, Limestone Coast, Полдня в Mt Gambier - "The Lady Nelson" Visitor&Discovery Centre, Umpherston Sinkhole, Cave Garden, ,

The Umpherston Sinkhole was created through the dissolution of limestone when the top of the chamber of the cave fell to the floor of the cave. Originally beautified in 1886 by James Umpherston, the sinkhole is now a beautifully landscaped garden with natural cave walls and lovely hedges mixed with the untamed beauty of the cascading vines and water-etched limestone. There is an interesting history to the sinkhole, with information signs at the top which you can read before your descend. In 1995, the garden was added to the South Australian Heritage Register. During the day-time you can clearly enjoy the beauty of the flowers and landscaped gardens.

Children will love visiting the sinkhole at night as this is the time when the possums come out to feed. At the bottom of the cave, they are lined up all along the walls of the cave, camouflaged by the brown cave walls and the darkness but if you strain your eyes and focus they will magically appear.

Australia, South Australia, Limestone Coast, Полдня в Mt Gambier - "The Lady Nelson" Visitor&Discovery Centre, Umpherston Sinkhole, Cave Garden, ,

We bought an apple and gave it to this possum later at night.

Travel well!

Katerina is an author and traveller. She is also a co-founder of 'LetsGoToAU.com' project, created specifically for those who are keen to see the best of Australia, but tired trawling forums for traveller feedback/sifting through hundreds of reviews or simply too busy to organize their trip. 

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