Epic road trip through the Limestone Coast in South Australia (updated 2023)

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Never heard of the Limestone Coast in South Australia? Don’t worry, neither did  we. So here is a quick little guide to a few key spots to check out on your next road trip through SA.

Although we were only in South Australia for a month, and having visited the Limestone coast before we explored the Fleurieu Peninsula or drove all the way west into the Eyre Peninsula, this little pocket of the world had a big voice, and a lot to say.

Mount Gambier is home to many world renowned fresh water sinkhole sites for scuba divers and free divers, who venture here just to say they’ve lived in Mount Gambier.

On the other hand, you have the cute and charming town or Robe along the southern ocean drive with beautiful beaches, an Obelisk that’s about to fall into the sea, and our most favourite camp spot in all of South Australia.

How to drive to the Limestone Coast

The Limestone Coast is most easily accessed via the Princes Highway from Victoria and is mostly a regional part of SA before you head into the city of Adelaide.

You will pass by the main Limestone coast cities of Mount Gambier, Beachport, Bordertown, Keith, Kingston SE, Millicent, Naracoorte, Penola and Robe. 

Mount Gambier is by far the most populous city, undoubtedly due to the world renowned fresh water sinkholes that attract thousands of people from around the world every year for snorkelling and diving. 

What is the Limestone coast region known for

The region is famous for being home to 6 of Australia’s finest wine regions including the Coonawarra wine region, Padthaway wineries, Mount Benson wineries, Robe wineries, Wratonbully and a scattering of others. 

There are two distinct zones to the limestone coast called the Limestone coast tourism region and the limestone coast wine zone. 

The Limestone coast tourism region is geograhically seperated into a  seven constituent councils that all make up thee tourist zone, these are the:

– City of Mount Gambier

-Coorong district council

-Kingston District council

– Wattle range council

– Grant, Kingston and Robe councils.

Road trip guide through the Limestone coast

If you’re coming through Victoria then this should be a no-brainer when it comes to getting here, as Australia’s most famous road, the Princes Highway, wraps all around Australia.

So head west out of Melbourne and find yourself crossing the border into South Australia into the first major town in the limestone coast in South Australia, Mt.Gambier

Having a car is the best way to get around Australia, using RentalCars.com is really convenient, very easy to book and is located at all major airports an cities around Australia. Book below to find the best deals for your next trip.

limestone coast in south australia

Related article>> Learn all about the best places to visit in South Australia

Mount Gambier

The large majority of visitors to the Limestone Coast do so with the intention of visiting Mount Gambier and jumping into one of the many freshwater lakes that are scattered throughout the city. 

Only a short distance from the centre of town, this region of the Limestone Coast boasts world class freshwater diving and snorkelling. 

The most famous of them all is the KIlsby sinkhole, which has been used by the Government and military for dive training for decades.

It is open to the public for 2 hour snorkelling guided tours for $99 AUD

Ewens ponds and the Piccaninnie ponds are fantastic options to try more snorkelling along the Limestone coast. 

The Blue Lake, a massive 72m deep crater that sits on top of an ancient, and extinct (hopefully) volcanic landscape is rumoured to be the site of the last volcanic activity anywhere on mainland Australia.

The Blue Lake supplies the town’s drinking water, sitting on a limestone bed that provides visitors with a 3.6km walking track around the lake. 

Luckily Laura and I visited the lake during the summer months when the lake turns a piercing cobalt blue colour which was very stunning to admire.

There are a number of other sinkholes and caves scattered around the Limestone coast in South Australia:

  • Engelbrecht caves – boardwalk system above the fresh water cave
  • Naracoorte caves – 800,000 years old and one of the worlds most important fossil sites
  • Cave gardens – original source of water for the early settlers
  • Umpherston sinkhole – was once a cave formed through the dissolution of limestone
  • Blanche caves – home to the southern bent-winged bat
  • Hells hole – 25m deep and the most impressive karst anywhere on the limestone coast
  • Princess Margaret Rose Cave – known as the underground wonderland

Mount Gambier accommodation

Your choices are always limited when travelling through smaller towns however there’s still great options depending on your style including motels, hotels, Air BnB’s and even free camping. 

That being said we stayed in neither of these options as our home was on wheels; we did however use our trusted Wikicamps to find our free camp-spot for the night

Naracoorte Caves

What surprised us the most was the amount of prehistoric sites you can visit right here in the Limestone Coast.

Containing the fossils of a prehistoric creature known as the Megafauna, that dates back to 500,000 years is truly incredible to see. 

This place is only 3 and a half hours south east of Adelaide so a day drive out here will be long, but definitely achievable.

For the young ones and families there’s the perfect place to chill at the Naracoorte swimming lake, a huge man made pool complete with sand, a concrete floor and chlorinated water up to 2 metres deep.

Laura standing outside our rental van in Robe

Port Macdonnell

Port Macdonell isn’t usually high on the list of places to visit on the Limestone coast region for anybody at all but it deserved a mention in this article because it was so beautiful.

Using our wikicamp guide we scored an incredible nights stay in a car-park just off Finger Point road, not too far from the furthermost southern point in all of mainland South Australia.

We did however wake up the following morning to a local fellow and his dog who made us aware, as he pointed to the rocks below that a young man had been taken the weekend before by a Great White Shark as he was abalone diving amongst the shallow reef.

Suffice to say we did not venture back out in the water, despite Laura’s plea’s to go stand-up paddle boarding beforehand.

the waters of the Limestone Coast

Robe

Sitting in the tucked away western corner on the Great Australian Bight  is the very popular tourist town of Robe, the second most popular tourist town on the Limestone Coast

Friends of ours advised us to go here and admittedly we weren’t all that impressed on our first visit, not much to do and very little attractions or sights, but I guess we were still looking for something to take our breath away.

It wasn’t until passing through the second time on the way back we realised how quaint and cute this place was.

The Cape Dombey Obelisk sits on the edge of town and is a 5 minute drive from the centre. The red and white obelisk ominously is perched on the rocks not far from the waters edge, though it almost looks like its not far off falling. 

Stroll through the main strip and shop to your heart’s content at the many local businesses and cafes offering outdoor dining.

The best way to explore this region is to hire a van or a rental car from Booking.com

Limestone Coast Travel Guide

Best place to go for a drink – Robe Brewery

Yes this was our favourite part of Robe and of the best places to visit in the Limestone Coast.

The interior designer of this place must have been watching a western cowboy movie when they decorated, but it works.

A $12 beer tasting platter with a selection of 4-5 beers locally brewed and kegged here in Robe on the Limestone coast made for a great exit out of Robe town in the late afternoon – find them on Google 

Robe Brewery doesn’t open until midday, so dont be turned off if you find nobody welcoming you at 11am.

This was our favourite Robe tourist attraction because we could buy any 4 beers to take away so long as they had a ‘stubby’ symbol next to the item on the menu.

Mahalia Cafe

If you want to know what to do in robe, or more specifically where to find your next cup of coffee look no further than Mahalia cafe.

Given it’s only around the corner from the Robe brewery, you can freshen yourself up with a warm cup of Joe after your beer session.

Mahalia Cafe  – 2 Flint street, Robe SA

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Christopher Aiello
Christopher is the head writer and co-founder of Chris and Laura Travels. Having travelled to over 27 countries and counting, he has a passion for adventure travel in a responsible way. Christopher and Laura currently live in Melbourne but share their time between down under and the Canadian Rockies of Alberta. We aim to inspire others to get outside and explore through our storytelling imagery and video. Keep up to date on where we are by visiting us on our Instagram page or find out more of our story on our About us page.

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Chris & Laura

Australian and Canadian freelance photographers & storytellers addicted to travel,  inspiring you to travel the world.

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