Life is… well, hectic, isn’t it? Nervously drumming your fingers on the steering wheel while waiting for that red light (yes, another one) to turn green and push you towards a day of screens and meetings is all-consuming and very, very real.
Oh, and how about a daily news cycle that delivers its endless stream of negativity to every corner of our lives?
Life… it’s overwhelming, exhausting and relentless at times!
Taking time out for yourself has never been more important, and we’ve been blessed with some of the most stunning spaces and places to help you unplug from the daily grind and reconnect in nature. Simple joys that reward your soul, recharge your battery and help you embrace life to its fullest! If you’re keen to get your sparkle back, you’ll find a visit to neighbourhood is a like a warm hug from a long-lost friend…
Go to ground. Take a stroll.
Sometimes we just need to step out of ourselves to step back in, and the forces of Mother Nature that helped shape our region have left us all a bevy of beauty that’s soothing for the soul. In fact, taking a stroll in nature is almost part of our DNA, and with miles of pristine wilderness, lush lakes, brilliant beaches, fertile forests and cool caves to explore, a healthy body and mind sits right at the end of the trail.
Mount Gambier’s Crater Lakes are loaded with tracks that weave their way through some of the most stunning landscapes of an ancient volcanic wonderland. From a simple loop around the legendary Blue Lake (at it’s bluest from Nov-Mar) to the leafy and ever-changing wonderland of Leg of Mutton Lake, they’re just minutes from the city but seemingly a world away, with the view from the rim of Mount Schank also being sublime in any season.
Forests here are dense, dewy and dreamy, and the restorative power of an early morning stroll through Mount Burr is enough to make the heart sing. Home to a menagerie of wildlife, from bandicoots and wallabies to wattlebirds and cockatoos, it’s worth checking in with Mount Burr Trails to find the perfect path to put you back on track.
With the dawn mist shrouding the forest floor and the scent of fresh pine at every turn, the Nangwarry Forest Information Walk (1.5km, 30 mins) is another great little stroll through crisp green groves, while the Honan Mint Trails snake their way through one of the most scenic and floristically diverse native forests in the region.
At Bool Lagoon Game Reserve near Naracoorte you’ll find it’s just you, the setting Sun and a symphony of birds around twilight... Few things stay with you longer than the dusk chorus here, as ibis, spoonbills and brolgas dance toward dark and the chime of native frogs provides a peaceful pendulum for your soul.
Soak in the serenity.
Is there anything more calming than slipping beneath the water and immersing your body in nature? Our surreal network of sinkholes and springs are the perfect tonic to ease that stress and restore your spirit.
In Beachport, The Pool of Siloam isn't just seven times saltier than the sea... Devotees will tell you that this therapeutic wonder can also ward off aches, pains, ageing and, well... just about anything really. For those willing to brave the cold and dip their toes in, it's a strangely buoyant place to go bathing and a curious little pit stop as you make your way along the Bowman Scenic Drive.
At Ewens Ponds Conservation Park, you’ll find a kaleidoscope of colour at one of the best freshwater dive sites in the country, with three crystal clear springs producing a water-filled wonderland like nothing else on earth. Book your dive slot before sliding into nice thick wetsuit (or hire one) and slipping straight into wonderland.
Those who’ve dived into Kilsby Sinkhole will tell you it’s like stepping into another universe, and as sheep graze on the working sheep farm above the underworld is as surreal as it is spectacular! This place is all sorts of magical, with its incredible clarity delivering an out-of-body sensation like no other.
At Piccaninnie Ponds Conservation Park, taking it slow is almost a rite-of-passage, with the water here having filtered through the surrounding limestone for thousands of years – end result: one of the glassiest and most spectacular plunge pools on the planet!
Of course, there’s no need to go solo and if you’re keen to wash away your worries with others, the cool crew at Dive Experience will be with you every step of the way, without meddling in your moment.
Find comfort in your cave.
As our ancient forebears knew all too well - when all else fails, retreat to your cave! After all, when things get too hot up top, going underground can be just the sort of grounding we all need, right? With a honeycombed landscape that’s dotted with subterranean gems, our backyard is just the sort of place to find your inner caveman and immerse in the underworld.
There's always plenty to reflect on at Naracoorte Caves National Park, with a prehistoric playground that’s not only home to loads of incredible stalactites and stalagmites, but also the remnants of ancient megafauna. These age-old caverns keep cool and calm all year round, and with no drafts or breezes you’ll find nothing spoil your reflection time in those perfect little pools at the bottom.
At Tantanoola Caves Conservation Park, you’ll find another subterranean stunner with surreal stalactites and wedding cake formations as colourful as they are prehistoric, with a kaleidoscope of peach, pink, brown and cream awaiting those who venture down under.
Of course, we all know ocean therapy cures just about everything, and there’s nothing quite like a salty sea breeze to calm your city-slicking soul. It’s here where the vastness of the Coorong National Park is enough to swallow any stresses, with shimmering white sand stretching for 190 kilometres, without a traffic light in sight.
Further south in Kingston, The Granites stand as lone soldiers on the longest unbroken stretch of beach in Australia, having been smoothed by the sea for millennia. The evenings around here are also the stuff of dreams, with a staircase to the Sun dissolving into the sea by night.
The dramatic seascapes of Little Dip Conservation Park are a perfect spot to unplug and get off-grid with giant dunes and lakes providing a stunning backdrop to some seriously good (and very empty) beaches. Wallowing solo in the shallows while the tide washes over your feet is bliss with a capital B.
Nora Creina Bay, offers a sweet little sanctuary away from the crowds, with a stunning crescent shaped beach fringed by powder white sands and turquoise waters that also offer some of the best beachcombing and swimming between Robe and Beachport.
If you’re seriously keen to get away from it all and have access to a four-wheel-drive, Beachport Conservation Park is a veritable paradise, with empty tracks weaving their way through coastal scrub and towering dunes - and a swathe untouched beaches without a soul in sight.
Further south again, the dramatic cliffs and shimmering white beaches of Canunda National Park are like a kiss from Mother Nature. With the Southern Ocean as your guide, winding your way along glistening sands past epic sea stacks native flora is a maritime symphony for the senses.
Of course, it doesn’t get any wilder than the windswept panoramas of Cape Northumberland. They’re untouched, untamed and unbelievable and as powerful waves crash into tortured limestone cliffs, that stiff ocean breeze will sweep your stresses away.
For more salty sojourns, fill your beach bag full of ideas on our Best Beaches in the Limestone Coast page.
Stay somewhere special.
After a day spent immersing in nature, it’s good to know you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to mindful accommodation. With a swathe of properties dotting our glorious coastline, vineyards, farms and forests, a good dose of ‘R+R’ is not only easy to find, but even more difficult to leave...
Ever stayed in a million-star hotel? The crew at Luxe Glamping (based in Mount Gambier) have you well and truly covered with a range of awesome canvas bell tents available for hire, wherever you choose to plonk them. Step inside these cushy campers and you'll find them already decked out with bedding, linen, floor rugs, lanterns and all the trimmings - and in music to your ears, they'll even pitch, pack up and clean them after you've left the forest, dunes, lake or, well… just about anywhere really!
Another great glamping option is Pine Country Caravan Park, just a one-kilometre walk from Mount Gambier’s iconic Blue Lake. With an abundance of open space, green grass and fresh air, it's a perfect escape to the country, without sacrificing your creature comforts. Their luxury Bell and Emperor glamping tents are not only decked out with dreamy hotel quality bedding, but also a handy coffee machine and mini kitchen, to make you feel right at home.
From pine country to wine country, at Bellwether Wines, you'll drift off to the crackle of the campfire and rise to native birdsong before a tipple at the on-site cellar door. Siting right in the heart of Coonawarra and surrounded by 400-year-old gums, glampers, cooks and green thumbs can also get hands on here, helping to make their famous sourdough or lending a hand in the herb garden.
At Coonawarra Bush Holiday Park a night of star gazing comes all too easy in one of their cool and cosy Hex Bubble tents. Beyond the king-sized beds and stylish décor, the Milky Way delivers its daily cabaret as your fire drum roars and Cabernet swirls in your glass.
At the historic Padthaway Estate, Victorian-era elegance combines with modern comforts, slap-bang in the middle of vino utopia. Here you’ll soak in the old-world magic of the Shearer’s Quarters (circa 1901) or Lawson Cottage – Tatiara district’s first permanent dwelling, dating back to 1847. With the Landaire Wines cellar door also conveniently housed in the stables, a quiet glass in the garden is almost a given.
Naturally, if you’re keen to drift off to the sounds of the ocean (is there anything better?), it’s hard to go past Robe Lifestyle Properties’ stunning holiday houses that range from total beachfront luxury to quirky little retreats - each with their own distinct personality. With over thirty properties in their portfolio, expect stunning décor, the very best views and all the luxe trimmings as you soak in that sea air in comfort.
When was the last time you truly rewarded your mind and body? Finding your own slice of zen comes all too easy around here, with a wide range of spa, yoga and massage practitioners on hand to soothe those pressure points and get you feeling like new again.
How about kicking off with Slow Flow Yoga and Brunch at a grand country manor? Join one of Delgattie Estate’s regular events with Laura’s Aura, designed to bring balance to the body and mind through a morning of yoga and a picnic brunch in the garden at one of Mount Gambier’s most elegant properties.
Also in Mount Gambier, Salt Wellness Sanctuary has a core focus on breathwork, guided meditation and salt therapy that provides relief for many respiratory, skin and lifestyle conditions. With its range of Australian made natural teas, aromatherapy products and therapeutic creams and oils also available on site, this place will have you floating back out on cloud nine.
Little Birdy Medispa offers another little slice of tranquillity right in the heart of town, with a range of massages, spa journeys and facials that ease tension and tiredness and restore your body and mind. As magic fingers and essential oils melt away worries from head to toe, you’ll leave feeling refreshed, revived and ready to tackle the world again.
Down on the coast, Robe’s Pure Luxe Beauty and Spa is all about breathing in that salty sea air and surrendering to indulgence with their range of seasonal packages that detox your body and restore your inner glow. From full massages to body brushes and facials to foot baths, this beauty by the beach delivers a slice of heaven on holiday - just when you need it most.
Get mindfully creative.
When was the last time you unleashed your inner artist or culinary genius? If you’re keen to tap that creative vein and try something new, our talented community of local artists, foodies and producers are always happy to take your busy mind on a journey of self-discovery!
If you find yourself in Robe, keep your eyes peeled for Woodsoak Wines’ regular Paint and Sip workshops with small space studio, where creating your own masterpiece is best achieved with a glass (or three) of their finest! With different themes and groups to paint alongside with the help of your resident artist, it’s a fun blend of Pinot and Picasso for all ages and abilities.
Maybe you just want to try a bit of everything? In their own words, The Post and Rail’s calendar of epicurean, gardening and art experiences are all about ‘nourishing the ones you love with simple ingredients, lots of fun and shenanigans’. Classes here vary seasonally and include anything from painting for beginners through to preserving, baking, sour dough and fresh pasta making, propagation and more, set on 5 stunning acres near Mount Gambier.
Quick diary note… If you’re keen to immerse yourself in all things mindful and magical, the Health Harmony and Happiness Weekend is an annual fixture not to be missed. Traditionally held in Robe over the June long weekend (but keep your eye on their Facebook), practitioners of all disciplines converge on the town for a two-day journey of self-discovery with locals and visitors alike.
With stallholders ranging from psychics and tarot readers to massage, reiki, regeneration healers, kinesiology, cranio sacral techniques and acupressure – all are easy to find and even easier to try under one roof at the Robe Institute.