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Mount Gambier

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Mount Gambier is located midway in South Australia between Adelaide and Melbourne. It is 15 kilometres west of the Victorian border. It is in the CST timezone (GMT+9.30), half an hour behind Victorian time.

Get in[edit]

  • Visitors can get to Mount Gambier by car (450 kilometres from Melbourne and Adelaide). Bus services run from both cities. These services terminate at the Lady Nelson Visitor Information Centre. The Lady Nelson is not a bus terminal, but it does have toilets, shelter and a temporary taxi rank (only when buses arrive).
  • From/To Adelaide Bus tickets for Adelaide can be purchased at the Visitor Information Centre (The Lady Nelson). The bus service to Adelaide is run by Premier Stateliner. It can be just as easy to make a phone booking with Premier Stateliner. Thursdays and Fridays you can get from Adelaide to Mt Gambier in the morning (8.15 & 11.45) . Sundays the bus leaves Adelaide at 12.30pm. Most days the service leaves at 8.15am or 8.45am. the bus trip takes about six hours. You can also book tickets online using the Premier Stateliner website:
  • From/To Melbourne The V-Line service runs Melbourne to Warrnambool on the train, then from Warrnambool to Mt Gambier as a coach service (it also goes via Portland). Tickets can be purchased at the Visitor Information Centre (The Lady Nelson) V-Line services from Mt Gambier are 'no reserve', you pay the driver on the day - bring exact change. V-Line services are generally not busy except during school holidays. They run once a day.
  • Airlines REX is the only airline which flies to Mt Gambier from Adelaide at the moment. The tickets vary widely in price from $120 to $270. Mt Gambier's airport is about 10 minutes from the town.

Get around[edit]

  • You will need transportation to get around to see the sights outside of Mt Gambier. You can hire cars from the Mt Gambier airport.
  • If you wish just to stay in town, you will not need a car. The motel strip on Commerical street East is a 15 minute walk from the Town Centre. If you are just in Mt Gambier overnight for a party or a night out, it would pay to stay at one of the local pubs, you won't have to go very far to get back to your accomodation.
  • Sights such as the Blue Lake can be driven or walked around.
  • There are limited bus services around Mt Gambier. There are also two taxi companies, Blue Lake Taxis and Vears Taxis. Both are in the same price range. There is a taxi rank outside the Old Post Office/opposte the Cave Gardens on Bay road and another outside the Lakes Village on Helen street. Friday and Saturday nights it is reasonably easy to catch a taxi.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Blue Lake -- The Blue Lake is located in a volcanic crater and is the main source of water for the city. During the year the color of the lake changes from an deep steel blue colour to a bright iridescent blue. The Blue Lake is one of three crater lakes located on the southern edge of the city: the others are Valley Lake and Leg of Mutton Lake. There are picnic grounds around Valley Lake and Leg of Mutton Lake and some easy climbing trails around this area. Boating and water-skiing activities occur on Valley Lake.
  • Mt Schank -- is an extinct volcano located about 15 minutes drive towards the sea from Mt Gambier. It is an easy climb and you can descend into the crater.
  • Limestone Caves & Sinkholes -- This region is famous for the sinkholes found throughout the city. Cave Divers dive underneath the streets of the City, in the Engelbrecht Cave, but have undertaken extensive training, diving is not available to the general public. Umpherston Sinkhole is located in the town itself and contains a beautiful hanging gardens garden that is well tended. You can also visit in the evening, to see the possums. It is okay to feed the possums things like apple slices. They are very tame. The Cave Gardens are another beautiful sinkhole in the centre of town, which has a free Sound and Light Show every evening.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Wineries, Located a short 50 kilometers north of Mount Gambier is Penola and the Coonawarra wine region. This famous wine producing region is approximately 1 kilometer wide and 17 kilometres long and is home to some of the very best red wines available. Wine sampling is free and the cellar door staff are always friendly, well informed and passionate about the wines.
  • Oatmill Cinema is open from 10am daily, depending on session times. Movies shown are on par with the times they are shown in the cities. Movie marathons are held Sunday nights on long weekends. Bring cash, the Oatmill doesn't accept EFTPOS or credit. Like the city, Tuesdays are the cheap night.
  • The Lady Nelson is the local tourist information centre and is full of useful information. On Jubliee Highway, just look for the giant boat. Also has a special interpretive area, which explains the very early history of the region and is totally free. Great way to entertain the kids or on a rainy day.
  • Bowling Alley is located in the Odeon complex - look for the big bowling pin. Despite the fact that the Odeon looks pretty run down, the bowling alley is good fun and cheaper than city prices. Also has a collection of video games.
  • Paintball Mount Gambier is the ultimate paintball experience. Ninety acres of natural bush provides a perfect setting for some top notch paintball. Whether you want a serious game or just a bit of a blast with your mates, our site will meet all your expectations. Games include: Hamburger Hill, Crossfire, Thugby, Double or Nothing, Corridors, Run the Gauntlet, The Hunt for Osama, Capture the Flag - and a lot more, but you get the idea.
  • Mt Gambier's SEABL basketball team the Pioneers, Mount Gambier's only national sporting side play at the Icehouse on Friday and Saturday nights (depending on the draw). Tickets are $12 for adults, consession and pensioners are $8 and children under 16 are free. The Icehouse is at the very end of Commerical Street West and seats over 1000 people.
  • The annual Mt Gambier Show is held on the second last weekend of October. It is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday, but Thursday does not have rides and stalls open. Thursdays are free, as are Saturday nights, after the fireworks (about 9pm). The Show is very popular with the locals and is larger than the usual country show.
  • Live gigs are common Fridays and Saturdays, check the chalkboards outside the pubs for more details. Often these gigs are cover or tribute bands. Well known acts who play in Mt Gambier are advertised well in advance and will often play at Shadows or the Showground. Open mic nights are also held are different locations. Live gigs are held at the Old Gaol frequently.
  • The Sir Robert Helpmann is the entertainment complex in Mt Gambier. Dance and local talent galas are often held here, live bands, theatrical productions, comedians as well as a range of entertainment options throughout the year. The Sir Robert Helpmann is located in the Civic Centre. Across the forecourt is the Mount Gambier Library, a dynamic space, known as the "Best Small Public Library in the World", WiFi, access to computers, children's play areas, and a café on site.

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Commercial Street is the main shopping street of Mount Gambier. Despite the smaller size of the city, this street is quite long. It takes about 15-20 min to walk from one end to the other. Stores on this street change often and most are not open on Sundays. Best shops are Priceline, Chapman's Newsagency. Thurdsay is late night shopping and most stores are usually trading until 9pm.
  • Mount Gambier Central hosts about 40 stores including a supermarket, K-Mart, the Reject Shop and EB Games. The shopping centre has a large food court there is plenty of variety in the food for sale. The shopping center is open Sundays after 11am.
  • Variety Stores There are numerous variety stores in Mt Gambier. Cheap As Chips on Helen street, the Reject Shop can be found in the Mount Gambier Central. A large Target can also be found on Sturt street (entrances from Compton street and Ferrers street).Mount Gambier Marketplace is a large new shopping precinct featuring Big W and Woolworths.
  • Markets Saturday is the Rotary Market on Jubilee Highway East next to Harvey Normans (it is part of the former Fletcher Jones site). The Blue Lake Market is held Sundays on Commercial street West opposite Vansitart Park. Both markets have stalls selling local fresh produce, bric-a-brac, craft goods and plants.
  • Clothes shops in Mt Gambier are quite abundant. Rockmans can be found in Mount Gambier Central, also has Jay Jays, Jeans West, Supre and Miller's. The Spot is the local surf store on Commerical street West. There are also several sports stores, notably Sportspower which is the largest and Sportscene which has lots of variety.
  • Petrol stations can be found at several locations on Commercial steet. The Mobil on Commercial Street East and the Caltex on Commercial Street West are nickednamed "the 24 hour" for obvious reasons. If you venture out to Port MacDonnell it is advisable that you fill up before you head off, there is no large petrol station there, and the one which is there is open only during business hours.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Mount Gambier has over 60 different options for eating out, including Cafes, Takeaways, National Fast Food Chains and Pubs. Restaurants in Mount Gambier are reasonably cheap when compared to city prices.

  • Belgornio's An authentic Italian restaurant with woodfired pizzas. In the Oatmill Complex. It gets very busy on Saturday nights, but well worth the wait.
  • South Eastern The first pub on Commercial St East. Has a beer garden and a drive thru bottle shop. You can hire the undercover beer garden for free if you purchase a certain amount of food to share.
  • Golden Chopsticks The best Chinese restaurant with good service.
  • Spud Train A train shaped vending van which serves baked potatoes.
  • McDonald's, KFC and Hungry Jacks are all located on Penola road between Commercial Street and Jubliee Highway and are in walking distance of each other. Subway is located on Commercial St East and in the Mount Gambier Central. Red Rooster is located on Jubliee Highway East. McDonald's in the only 24-hour restaurant in town.
  • Domino's Pizza is in the Woolworths Petrol Station, opposite the Federal Hotel. Pinky's Pizza can be found on Commercial street East. Paradise Pizza's is on Commercial street West and has the best take away pizza. They also have a drive thru.
  • For late night snacks, The 24 Hour Mobil on Commercial Street East/Crouch Street does Boss Dogs and besides McDonald's are probably the only source of food in the wee hours.

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • Shadows Entertainment Complex Mt Gambier's longest lasting night club. Considered to be a 'dive' by the locals, but has cheap drinks, a reasonable size dance floor and top 40+ 1990s-200s hits. .Entry is free before midnight, after midnight it costs $8. Often gets busy about 2am when the other pubs have closed for the night. Before 11.30pm it is very quiet and a good place to have some quiet drinks. Shadows does not have a beer garden, but it does have a designated smoking area outside.
  • The Gambier Hotel also known as The G. The G has been voted as one of Australia's best pubs and is the most upmarket you'll find in The Mount. Sometimes has a cover charge depending on the entertainment. The G also does an extra breakfast.
  • Flanagan's Irish Pub also known as 'Flannie's'. Good meals and often has a live band. It gets crowded very quickly as the pub is rabbit-warren like.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Mount Gambier has 21 Motels, 7 Hotels,6 Caravan Parks and over 20 B&Bs.

  • Clarendon Lodge & Chalets [2] 4 Self-contained Chalets set between 650 walnut trees, picturesque lawns and gardens and only 5 km to Mt Gambier's Blue Lake.
  • Old Gaol, 25 Margaret Street, tel: (08) 8723 0032, (toll free:1 800 626 844, email: mailto:[email protected]), [3]. This is an old jail that has been sectioned off into 27 rooms. $20-66.
  • Jubilee Motor Inn, 180 Jubilee Highway East, Mount Gambier, South Australia, tel: 08 8725 7444, Fax Number: 08 8723 0355, Email Address: [email protected], [4]. $55
  • Quality Inn Presidential, Jubilee Highway West, Mt Gambier (Located on the main road through the city. 100 metres west of Sutton Rd), 08 8724 9966, [1]. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 10:00. Mount Gambier hotel with heated indoor swimming pool, spa and sauna. Located within close proximity to all tourist attractions and major facilities and only one kilometre from the CBD.  edit

Stay Safe[edit]

  • The Police Station is located on Bay road, just south of the main intersection of the CBD. This station is attended 24 hours a day.
  • At night time it is safest to park on Penola road (in KFC) or in the 'ANZ carpark' (large carpark on Commerical street West. It has little alleyways which lead to Penola road). Police cars patrol this carpark periodically, while the KFC carpark is opposite Shadows and is well lit.
  • The entire town is a 50km zone except Wireless Road East and West, Sutton Avenue, Suttontown Road, Pick Avenue, Wehl Street North and South and Jubilee Highway where the speed limit is 60km. Speed cameras are often located on Lake Terrace and Sturt street. There are fixed speed cameras on several of the traffic light intersections. Remember, if there are no signs, assume 50km/h.
  • The road around the Blue Lake is badly lit at night time and is windy in parts. Part of this road is signed at 40km.
  • The Lakes area (including the Valley Lake and the Centenary Tower) and Marist Park are locked at dusk nightly.
  • There are several medical and dental clinics in Mt Gambier. The hospital is located on Wehl street north. The wait for out patients can be long and is comparitive to city wait times. The chemists take turns in staying open until 9pm, the opening times are posted on the windows.
  • The local surf beach is Brownes Bay about 10km east of Port Macdonell. This beach is very popular with locals but is not patrolled. If you have a small or lowered car it is easy to be bogged in the sand .
  • There are payphones on Commercial street east (near Eddie's Furniture), outside the post office on Helen Street, at the Lady Nelson and on Pick Ave. Some venues still have the old blue or yellow phones inside their building, but these are prone to breaking down. Most places will allow you to make local calls in urgent situations.

Get out[edit]

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