Cecelia writes stories & tutors English. Her ONLINE POETRY COURSE is available on openlearning, and she has several books in print.
Cecelia's articles are illustrated with photos by Allan who enjoys photography.
Published July 4th 2016
You need to stay more than one night to do everything
Naracoorte is an inland town in regional South Australia. It is situated approximately 366 kms south-east of Adelaide and 100 kms north of Mount Gambier. It is close to the Victorian border and about 455 kms east of Melbourne. It's charm is that it is rural and offers a taste of the outback without going too far off the Great Ocean Road. As you drive from Mount Gambier to Naracoorte you will see many acres of grape vines. Other agriculture includes wheat, sheep and cattle farming. I always thought the area was "quiet", but when I visited last summer, I was amazed at the variety of activities it offered.
1) Stay in a Hotel or Motel
You need somewhere to stay if you are to see the town properly. According to Booking.com prices range from $60 per night at the Naracoorte Hotel/Motel, (Double room, shared bathroom), to $207 at Country Roads Motor Inn Naracoorte (Superior queen room with spa bath). My Budget was tight, so I chose the Naracoorte Hotel/Motel. To get your own bathroom, the cost rose to $99 for a night, but the Hotel was well placed on one of the main streets.
The private units out the back are efficient and provide everything a small group or family needs for a night, including kettle, sink, three beds and en-suite shower/toilet. The water pressure was a little low, so I had to wash my hair by filling a jug in the sink and pouring it over my head. I have long hair which won't rinse with just a fine mist from the shower head!
2) Eat at a pub
The Naracoorte Hotel/Motel has Billy Mac's Bistro. This looked pretty posh, but we got talking to locals and they recommended the Kincraig Pub. The Kincraig was just across the park, over on Smith street. The Kincraig has an excellent Bistro, with salad bar and special meals. Lunches start around $11, tea around $16. Another option is the Old Bushman's Hotel, which has a refurbished bar and bistro.
3) Shop at an op-shop
Why not pick up a truly local souvenir by visiting the local op-shop. There is a Vinies (St. Vincent de Paul) and a Lifeline Op-shop both just off Smith Street. My great prizes included glass beads and a collectable cup.
4) Swim in the outdoor lake
I was reading a Naracoorte-Lucindale Council brochure and could hardly believe my eyes! There is man-made swimming lake which is open from December to March and is completely free! We hastened to check it out. It is located in a park, up on a hill on Moore Street. Most of the pool is between knee and shoulder deep for an adult, but there is a deeper partitioned off section. There is a floating platform across part of the pool, where the youths have fun loitering. Do not jump or dive, it is not deep enough.
5) Tour a cave
The Naracoorte caves are world heritage listed. Cave tours start at $5.50 child and $9 adult for the wet cave. The wet cave is a smaller, relatively safe cave which you can tour on your own. Food and drink are forbidden in the cave, although I thought an underground picnic would have been an amazing experience. It is cool on a hot day. The "wet" is actually water dripping from above at selected points. I expected pools down at our feet.
There are longer cave tours if you wish. These cost more and set out at certain times as they are hosted by a professional guide. The Victoria fossil cave tour looks like the most educational value as it offers the opportunity to view fossil skeletons in their natural setting. Between September and April you can go on a "Bat" cave tour and observe bats breeding in their natural environment.
The Wonambi Fossil Centre puts on an educational show featuring models of dinosaurs. This also costs, but can be thrown in at a discount if you buy several cave tours at once.
We ate at the Caves Cafe next to the Wonambi Fossil Centre. Then walked around the National Park area above ground, taking photos of the dinosaur statues and models. This was free.
6) Enjoy Parks, Museums and Art Galleries
Naracoorte boasts a number of Museums, art galleries and historical local parks. These include: the Lucindale Historical Society Museum, Mini Jumbuk, Naracoorte Regional Art Gallery, Naracoorte Historic Vehicle Club, Struan House, The Sheep's Back Museum, Yulgilbar Wood Gallery and Bourne's Bird Museum. We did not visit all of these due to time constraints and entrance fees, which even when reasonable, stretch the traveller's budget.
The Lucindale War memorial is located in Central Park and is free to visit. The Lions Pioneer Heritage Park is located along MacDonnell Street, and features an 1877 V9 class steam engine. This park also offers a lawn and barbecue area, with a lookout for the keen photographer.
7) Visit Bool Lagoon
Bool Lagoon is one of the largest freshwater lagoons in South Australia. It is surrounded by wetlands. A 500 metre boardwalk allows the visitor to literally walk across wt-lands and water. The park is a sanctuary for birds and wild-life.