Adam Lindsay Gordon is Australia’s only poet to have a tomb in Westminster Abbey. He was a horseman and adventurer who for some time lived in a home called Dingley Dell south of Mt Gambier. The house is now a museum carefully maintained by guides and caretakers Allan and Jenny. We visited it yesterday. Above the Blue Lake at Mt Gambier is a monument to him, for at this spot he performed a brilliant manoeuvre on horseback, jumping the fence beside the lake, turning his horse and jumping back.
We then went down to the village of Nelson where we had a lunchtime cruise on the Glenelg River, passing by moonah melaleuca forest and abundant bird life.
The Aquifer Tour gave us a chance to see the Blue Lake at close range and learn about the lowering water table and the engineering of Mt Gambier’s water supply. Gary, the guide was a fountain of knowledge.
Afterwards, we did the Mountain Walk around the volcanic rims of Valley Lake and two other craters. This lake isn’t used for drinking water, so boating and waterskiing are popular. The walk took us to Centenary Tower, built to mark 100 years since Captain Grant in the Lady Nelson, sighted and named Mt Gambier. It afforded expansive views of the craters, town and surrounding farmland. 365 steps took us to a lower level and the total journey took two hours, including a break for ice-cream at the Tower.
Engelbrecht Cave lies under the streets of Mt Gambier town. There are twin entrances leading down to an underground lake. A demonstration diver outfit is suspended to show you how they were kitted out. It’s out of date – apparently divers now wear dry suits with thermals underneath and carry an iPhone-like device strapped to their arm for keeping track of their air supply. The cave has no stalactites as the cave was formed under the water.
The tour with Paula, our friendly guide, lasted three quarters of an hour and the price of $10 for seniors was good value.
A short drive away is the extinct volcano of Mt Schank. The climb was a good workout and we were rewarded with a view fringed with bluebells into the crater. Ignoring the warning sign, I descended the narrow path, striped skinks scattering ahead of me. Meanwhile, David and his sister walked around the rim. A derelict stone cottage by the car park had once provided refreshments to passers-by. By the time we finished, thunder was rumbling and it started raining. We returned to damp chairs under the annexe of the caravan.
We lunched at the Metro Cafe, Mt Gambier. The food and service were both great and we were impressed with the creative hairstyle of one of the staff. He explained that it was Japanese influenced.
We also walked round Valley Lake and Blue Lake. The colour difference was subtle – you be the judge.
Mt Gambier also has substantial C19 buildings of the local dolomite and a sunken garden with cave.
Blue Lake Mt Gambier January 25, 2013. The colour was stunning and the day a glorious example of a South Australian summer. We walked around and chatted to people at waypoints before driving in to check out the town.