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The commute south from Adelaide to Beachport is long — expect to be on the road for about five hours — but scenic, with your route clinging to the coast almost the entire way. You’ll pass through the epic Coorong National Park, a wondrous watery playground full of creeks, lagoons, and lakes. It’s ideal to have your own car so you can explore regional attractions difficult to reach via public transportation, but if you’d prefer not to drive, a bus travels the distance from Adelaide to Beachport. Alternatively, fly from Adelaide or Melbourne to Mount Gambier Airport (YMGT), then rent a car, catch a bus, or hail a taxi for the hour commute northwest to your destination.
Sun, sand, surf — it’s hardly surprising that the summer months are peak season in Beachport. This is also the ideal time to fill up on fresh seafood, with rock lobster season in full swing along the Limestone Coast, the reliable catch spanning October through May. The winter months are popular among those who come here to visit wineries and explore the coast’s charming historic towns. And in between, find wildflowers in spring and glorious deciduous groves in autumn, transforming the countryside with fiery hues.
Things start to get deep at the Umpherston Sinkhole, located in the nearby town of Mount Gambier. The sunken gardens occupy a collapsed cave, now filled with lush terraced flora and hanging vines, and home to a resident population of curious possums — they venture out at dusk, when the garden is floodlit, to greet visitors.
The caves at South Australia’s only World Heritage site — and one of the world’s most important fossil sites — tell a story dating back 500,000 years. Inside, palaeontologists have discovered fossils that are like a storybook of Australian history, including the 60,000-year-old bones of megafauna like the Thylacoleo carnifex marsupial lion and sthenurine kangaroos. Of the 28 caves in the park, four are open to budding explorers.
It’s hard to fathom the scale of this engineering feat until you see it, an enormous gash in the countryside spanning a kilometre and dipping to 28 metres in parts. The ravine was carved in the late 1950s by just two people, cutting through the Woakwine Range as a way to drain the countryside for farming. Today, a mini memorial at the lookout details the epic endeavour and the machinery used to do it.