A Weekend in Mount Gambier
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Mount Gambier (or "The Mount" as it is affectionately known) is a historical city full of grand old pubs, quaint shops, inviting cafes, and mysterious sinkholes and lakes. It's hard to imagine a place that is more ideally located than Mount Gambier with the second biggest city in South Australia nestled between the Limestone Coast and the Coonawarra wine region, about halfway between Adelaide and Melbourne.
Cafes and Restaurants
Metro Bakery and Cafe
is a prize-winning bakehouse in the heart of Mount Gambier at 13 Commercial Street East. Metro offers delectable cakes, muffins, freshly baked bread and a gluten-free range, in a colourful and relaxed setting. Grab a delicious hot breakfast, or some pasta or rolls for lunch. Try a piping hot and high-quality Italian coffee to enjoy inside, or find the best vantage point from the seats outside and do some local people-watching. The cafe is open from 8am to 3pm every day (and from 5pm to late on Fridays and Saturdays), and you can reach them on (08) 8723 3179, or via email on [email protected]
is the place locals go to celebrate special occasions and to impress tourists. The steakhouse is famous, and they offer an impressive selection of wine, and divine desserts. The restaurant is located at 747 Glenelg River Road OB Flat (Mount Gambier) - make a reservation on (08) 8726 9999 or email [email protected]
Mount Gambier Central
offer around 40 stores including fashion like Jeanswest and Millers, jewellery from Lovisa and Prouds, and other major retailers such as Kmart and Katies. The centre is at 21 Helen Street Mount Gambier, and there is a bus stop, taxi rank, and a large car park nearby. You'll find their general trading hours here
The other major shopping precinct is the Mount Gambier Marketplace
at 248 Penola Road. This shopping centre has about 30 stores with leading brands such as Bunnings, Big W, and Woolworths. The marketplace also has specialty shops like The Reject Shop, Lowes, EB Games, and food outlets.
The Blue Lake
is an iconic sightseeing destination in Mount Gambier, and its not until you get up to the edge that you realise the true scale and mystery of this natural feature. Take the John Watson Drive, and the lake can be circumnavigated by vehicle or foot, with plenty of lookout and picnic points on the way.
is a 'Journey to the Centre of the Earth' surprise right on the edge of Mount Gambier on Jubilee Highway East. The sinkhole is filled with established plants, and you can wind your way down to its depths. There is also a large undercover area and a free BBQ.
Pubs and Venues
is an exceptionally welcoming and cool venue at 36 Margaret Street at the Rail Lands in Mount Gambier. They welcome locals, tourists, kids and dogs! The view across the historical buildings, park, and the old railway station is beautiful, with plenty of seating indoors and out. The ales and stouts are crisp and satisfying, and tasting paddles are also available. Wine, coffee and tea, and a variety of snacks are served from the main bar. Opening hours are 4pm to 8pm Thursdays, noon to 8pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and noon to 5pm on Sundays. Email [email protected]
or call (08) 7704 2280 to find out more.
">Jens Town Hall Hotel
is a sprawling venue with a huge bistro, bar, beer garden, pool tables, sports bar, accommodation and more. It's hard to miss as it wraps around the corner at 40 Commercial Street East, across from the cave gardens and the Riddoch Arts & Cultural Centre
. The food is excellent with an extensive menu, large selection of beers, and daily specials. To make a reservation, or request more information, call them on (08) 8725 0188 or email [email protected]
Motels and Apartments
Mount Gambier Motel is centrally located, with spacious and well-appointed rooms. There are also BBQ facilities and free car parks onsite. Mount Gambier Motel
is at 115 Penola Road and reservations can be made on (08) 8725 5800 - call between 9am and 7pm any day. Check in is after 2pm, with check out before 10am.
I spoke to Carol Downing, Owner of Mount Gambier Apartments
about self-contained accommodation options in the region, and Carol suggested: "many tourists and corporate visitors prefer self-contained apartments and their own space ... and it's been a long time in the making, but the aim of the new wheelchair accessible apartments is to encourage inclusion, and provide all the facilities for older travellers and visitors with disabilities as well". You can book on the website, call 0409 250 577 or email [email protected]
We chat about the growth in tourism in the region, and the attractions that set Mount Gambier apart, and Carol provides an enticing explanation: " the location between Adelaide and Melbourne is ideal ... Mount Gambier has grown, and there is plenty to do with national events, sports, events for motor enthusiasts, and expanding retail, with plenty of open spaces filled with nature walks and bike trails". Mount Gambier is full of surprises, and it looks like there's even more to explore.
The Riddoch Highway runs North to South through Mount Gambier, and the Princes Highway runs West to East. Many tourists visit Mount Gambier on the way to the Limestone Coast, Adelaide, or Melbourne.
There are coach services such as Stateline
in South Australia, and if you are coming from the Victorian side, you can make travel plans and book tickets through V/Line
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