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Sink into the Limestone Coast

Sink into the Limestone Coast

If exploring prehistoric caves is your jam, then buckle up for an adventure as you explore the Limestone Coast’s most eye‑popping sinkholes. Along South Australia’s Limestone Coast is a collection of hidden wonders formed by the lava that erupted from volcanoes thousands of years ago: hundreds of sinkholes and caves.

Hells Hole

A bird’s-eye view of this cenote shows a pool of dark blue water with a reflective centre that showcases the lush surrounding landscape of the Limestone Coast. Sheltered by towering trees, Hells Hole is just 20 minutes’ drive from Mount Gambier, and is located off a dirt road within a manmade forest.

This freshwater sinkhole, dubbed ‘Hellmouth’, is accessible to visitors via an enclosed steel bridge and viewing platform, and measures 45 metres in diameter and 25 metres in depth, making it a popular destination for extreme divers. This picturesque pit is also a favoured spot for abseiling cave divers; however, a permit is needed before embarking on a diving exploration, and is available by emailing Forestry South Australia.

Umpherston Sinkhole

Known as the ‘magical sunken garden’, the Umpherston Sinkhole was made into a garden in 1886 by Scottish settler and politician James Umpherston, who propagated seeds to create a landscape reminiscent of a Zen garden. The sinkhole was formed through the dissolution of limestone, which caused the top of the chamber to collapse downwards. Among the lush greenery – which features hydrangeas, elephant ears and oyster plants – you’ll hear buzzing from the garden’s main attraction: the bees.

The prime photography location within this cenote is at the bottom, where you can capture the foliage-lined stone above and the gorgeous, curtain-like ripples of the hanging vines. For an optimal viewing experience, soak in the atmosphere and all of nature’s glory from the viewing platform, before heading down into the sinkhole along the terrace, reaching the vines.

The Cave Gardens

Flourishing with bountiful rose bushes, the Cave Gardens can be found in a wondrous sinkhole with several lookout points and a suspended viewing platform at the top. When visiting, take a scenic walk to the viewing platform to soak in the spectacular beauty of its manicured garden – an attractive picnic spot, especially for romantic occasions.

One of the many attractions this lush garden has to offer is its Sound and Light Show, which is performed nightly, and tells the tale of the Dreamtime’s connection to the Cave Gardens.

Read more about South Australia’s sinkholes in the Summer 2022–2023 edition of Caravanning Australia!

Image: Umpherston Sinkhole (C) Offroad Images

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