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The best of Southern Ocean Drive

The best of Southern Ocean Drive

Explore some of Australia’s most exquisite natural attractions on the South Coast of Australia this spring. The journey boasts a competitive offering of timeless favourites, lavished with wineries, beaches and bushwalks. But it’s the age-old, untouched natural wonders – the sinkholes, sea lion colonies, humpback whales, sand boarding and cave diving – that give this thrilling escape its unique allure.

Mount Gambier to Coonawarra (65 kilometres)

There’s no better way to start your adventure than with a walk around Mount Gambier’s stunning Blue Lake. Burrowed in an extinct volcanic crater, this site can be explored alone by way of the many viewing platforms, or with the help of a friendly tour guide.

Next is the Umpherston Sinkhole, which engulfs its visitors in an enclosure of limestone, hydrangeas and tree ferns. Open from dawn to dusk, while away the time, before watching the possums emerge to feed in the garden at sunset.

Experience nature on both land and water on your journey with a visit to Piccaninnie Ponds. Wind through unique Australian flora on bushwalking trails that suit every level of fitness, or view the wide array of aquatic life in The First Pond. Thrill-seekers can take the plunge and cave dive among the limestone formations in the 35-metre-deep ‘Cathedral’.

Coonawarra to Robe (113 kilometres)

Your tour of the Coonawarra cellar doors will lead you to the World Heritage–listed Naracoorte Caves. Showcasing more than 800,000 years of Australia’s fauna history, an exploration of the Naracoorte Caves is a rich experience for everyone, from the science enthusiast to the curious cave novice. Brave an adventure-caving experience or take a guided walking tour to see the reconstructed skeletons of ancient animals for a sensational activity available all year round.

Once in Robe, base yourself at the charming Sea Vu Caravan Park, which has direct access to the beaches of Guichen Bay – with its nearby lighthouse and obelisk – and the idyllic Long Beach, which is just a short trip away. Peruse the many shops on Victoria Street, and stop by Mahalia Coffee roasting house for a taste of its award-winning brews ¬– it’s the perfect pick-me-up before you get back on the road.

Robe to Victor Harbor (356 kilometres)

Take a break on this longer stretch of your journey and camp among the pink gum forests near the historical salt lakes at Salt Creek within the Coorong National Park. From here, the gentle Ngrugie Ngoppun Walk (2.5 kilometres) and the more challenging Nukan Kungun Hike (27 kilometres) are easily accessible for active travellers.

From August to February, you can also observe pelican colonies from the Jack Point Observatory, which is located nearby.

The unspoilt Coorong region is a wonderful place from which to connect with South Australia’s natural landscapes. Remarkable activities include bird watching, boating, kayaking, fishing and bushwalking, and for those who love to be chaperoned, a Spirit of the Coorong Cruise will guide you through the region’s picturesque waterways and lagoons.

A highlight in Victor Harbor is the Big Duck Winter Whale Watching cruises. Catch sight of whales on this tour between June and September, or make the trip at any time to observe the seals and dolphins on Big Duck’s year-round wildlife tours of Victor Harbor.

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