Last Updated on August 25, 2020 by Red Nomad OZ
The Limestone Coast is WAY too big for one blog post – that’s why you’ll find Part One of my Limestone Coast Beginners Guide HERE!
In Part One, there’s 6 SUPER cool natural Limestone Coast attractions close to Mount Gambier – best place for the amazing volcanic activity that helped make the region what it is today!
In Part Two (below) I’ve got 6 RED HOT Limestone Coast things to do along the coast, in the Southern Ports Highway towns Beachport and Robe, and further south in the Southern Rock Lobster capital and largest lobster fleet of Australia – Port MacDonnell, my personal favourite!
So if you’re ready for wild and rugged coastline; amazing sunsets; heritage trails and hikes; endless deserted beaches; bizarre rock formations; scenic drives; and some AWESOME lighthouses, you’ve come to the right spot!
Just sit back, relax and discover 6 MORE wonderful Limestone Coast attractions!
1 South OZ’s Southernmost Point
Cape Northumberland‘s rugged rocks and sensational scenery, with nothing between you and Antarctica except 5700 km (that’s a LOT of miles!) of Great Southern Ocean is as far south as is possible in South Australia!
By day, explore the Heritage and Nature Park for eroded rocks in fantastic shapes; magnificent coastal scenery north to Cape Douglas and south to Port MacDonnell; and a short walk to the site of the old lighthouse – it’s REALLY obvious why it was moved back up behind the point!
The shape of the Cape is perfect for watching sunrise (so they tell me), but I caught a killer sunset over the sea instead! After sunset, wait on the viewing platform until it’s dark for the Little Penguins (Eudyptula Minor) – only penguin to breed in Australia – to come home from eating their body weight in fish.
You’ll even get to see them if you’re smart enough to bring a torch or spotlight that actually works – like we didn’t!!
Cape Northumberland is a great place to explore – take the drive north along the coast to Finger Point for beaches, surf breaks, part of the Admella Shipwreck Trail (see below) and a lookout back to Mount Gambier. There’s even a signboard with the bizarre story of how this rugged part of the coastline became a firing range!
2 Do a Lighthouse Crawl
There’s a LOT of shipwreck sites along the Limestone coast so it’s no wonder there’s also a high concentration of lighthouses!
Start at Cape Northumberland (see #1). One of the noticeboards tells the tragic tale of Ben Germein, Cape Northumberland’s first Lighthouse Keeper, and don’t miss the walking trail I mentioned above!
A little further north, the Cape Banks (named for botanist Joseph Banks) Lighthouse near Carpenter Rocks at the southern end of Canunda National Park is such a toxic shade of orange it hurt my eyes. It’s also part of the Admella Discovery Trail (see below) and the coastal scenery is stunning.
Then it’s 45 minutes or so to Beachport at the northern end of Rivoli Bay – walk up to the lighthouse overlooking Cape Martin and Penguin Island or view it from several vantage points along the Bowman Scenic Drive (see below).
Robe, about half an hour further north on Guichen Bay, has a VERY modern lighthouse on a VERY rugged stretch of coast with another 30 shipwrecks. But it’s overshadowed somewhat by the VERY distinctive Cape Dombey Obelisk! The Obelisk was used to store rockets – essential for getting life lines to ships wrecked in the bay.
Head north and go right past the Cape Jaffa turnoff, because the Cape Jaffa Lighthouse is now at Kingston SE! It’s a distinctive and decorative little lighthouse on the esplanade amidst the houses and holiday shacks and it’s open during school holidays!
The next lighthouse is 183 km further north at Point Malcolm, near Narrung on the cusp of Lake Albert and Lake Alexandrina. Technically, it’s not on the Limestone Coast, but it IS the Southern Hemisphere’s only inland lighthouse!
(BONUS: Read more about the Narrung lighthouse and other notable South Australian Lighthouses HERE!)
3 Walk the Shipwreck Coast at Robe
The Limestone coast is wild and rugged! A walk in high winds with lashings of rain really adds to the atmosphere, the coast is STILL wild and rugged even when it’s fine! But there’s more than rugged rocks to see along the coast and Robe has one of the BEST selections of walks.
There’s an excellent hiking trail from the Breakwater to the Obelisk at Cape Dombey, then along the cliffs – there’s the lighthouse, water-sculpted rocks out to sea, the Blowhole and the old Gaol Ruins.
From the Robe marina, follow the coast track past Town Beach and along the cliffs to Fox’s Beach and the Outlet. Or take a walk out the back of Robe to Beacon Hill Lookout for a panoramic view over the town.
For a change of pace, head out of town to Little Dip Conservation Park and take a walk all the way around Freshwater Lake, with different woodland habitats and beautiful spring wildflowers. And snakes … even though I didn’t see any on this trip 😀
4 Drive the Limestone Coast!
Follow the Admella Discovery Trail‘s 21 markers that tell the sad story of the SS Admella, wrecked off Carpenter Rocks in 1859 with 89 deaths. But it’s not just a tale of South Australia’s worst maritime disaster, the 130 km (~80 miles) self-drive tour is a great way to discover lots of Limestone Coast attractions!
For a cool coast experience without the history lesson, take the Bowman Scenic Drive from Beachport. What’s NOT to love about this awesome drive with lookouts, surf and fishing beaches, blowholes, rock formations and the Pool of Siloam – 7 times saltier than the sea?
PS There’s a cool Scenic Loo there too!!
5 Explore the Coorong
It’s about 130 km (~80 miles) from one end of the Coorong to the other – making it Australia’s longest, thinnest National Park! If you’re travelling to or from Adelaide, leave enough time to stop and take a look because it’s one of the more unusual Limestone Coast attractions, or make an early start if you’re planning a day trip!
The string of salt lakes separated from the ocean by the massive dunes of the Younghusband Peninsula is formed by the Murray-Darling – Australia’s biggest river system – as it flows into Lakes Alexandrina and Albert before reaching the sea up the coast at Goolwa.
The Princes Highway runs alongside the Coorong between Kingston SE and Meningie at the northern end. Other than the natural attractions there’s the Heart of the Coorong Roadhouse at Salt Creek where signs and leftover machinery mark Australia’s first oil exploration site with some interesting facts about the area. Take the walk from the roadhouse, or drive the coastal loop for more historic remains and to see the waterways and dunes up close.
Drive through to the sea from 42 mile crossing – walk the last part if you’re not in a 4WD – or via a couple of other 4WD only crossing points. Take the track in to Jack Point to see one of Australia’s largest Pelican breeding grounds. Find a quiet spot for fishing – Coorong Mullet is a South Australian delicacy – but if you’re out of luck, head back to the Roadhouse for a Coorong Mullet burger!
(BONUS: Read about the Little Loo the Government Forgot at Salt Creek HERE!)
6 A Day at the Beach
Limestone Coast attractions include so many beaches choosing just one could be tricky! So visit a few from my selected favourites – or discover your own!
For deserted beaches choose anywhere between the amazing stretch of deserted beach behind the coast car park at Piccaninnie Ponds (see Part 1), the collection of holiday shacks and a Scenic Loo at another long stretch of deserted beach at Brown’s Bay, the Port MacDonnell safe swimming beach protected by the breakwater, and several surfing and swimming beaches en route to Finger Point north of Cape Northumberland.
For wild and windswept, try anything in Canunda National Park (see Part 1) north of Carpenter Rocks, or play it safe at Southend‘s spectacular protected swimming beach where the national park ends.
For a dash of danger, head to the other end of Rivoli Bay, where Beachport’s Bowman Scenic Drive beaches have jagged rocks and undertows – but are perfect for fishing, especially at the Salmon Hole!
For a popular holiday spot, take the coast road from Beachport and Robe and stop at Nora Creina beach. Further north, Kingston SE‘s beaches on Lacepede Bay are perfect for swimming and fishing, and for a cool beach 4WD experience, head 20 km north of Kingston for a LONG stretch of beach at the Granites, a random collection of boulders!
There are a LOT more Limestone Coast Attractions – like wineries; parks and reserves; historic buildings and museums; bird- and wildlife watching; and dining experiences – but we’re out of time! And that’s the fun of exploring, anyway – visit my 12 Limestone Coast attractions and I’ll guarantee you’ll discover more regional delights that’ll make it even more special for YOU!
Limestone Coast FAST FACTS:
WHERE: South East South Australia, from Meningie and the Coorong National Park at its northern tip to Port MacDonnell in the south. Mount Gambier is the largest centre.
HOW to get there: Self-drive from Adelaide to Mount Gambier (~450 km); or Melbourne to Mount Gambier (~450-550 km) – distances vary depending on route taken. Coach from Adelaide or Melbourne. Fly from Adelaide or Melbourne. Hire cars available.
WHEN: All year round. Average maximum temperatures range from 14°C in winter to 30°C in summer.
WHERE to stay: There’s a range of accommodation throughout the Limestone Coast – campgrounds, caravan parks, motels, apartments, B&Bs etc. We stayed in Mount Gambier, Port MacDonnell and Robe which were central to the attractions we wanted to see.
- The Ultimate Beginners Guide to the Limestone Coast – Part One
- Limestone Coast, South Australia
- More Limestone Coast Photos on Flickr HERE
You’ve introduced me to a new part of Australia, because I hadn’t previously heard of the Limestone Coast! But such stunning scenery, this would be the perfect destination for our next trip to the mainland – we love the outdoors! Crazy that there are so many shipwreck sites – would be cool to do a lighthouse crawl. Cape Jaffa Lighthouse is one of the most different lighthouse structures I’ve seen!
I love how wild and rugged the coast is – perfect scenery for a walk! Thanks for the tips on walking trails along the cliffs. The Plants from Little Dip Conservation Park are stunning – you got some great macro shots. The Pink Lake Patterns along the Coorong are stunning too – I’m blown away by how much there is to see and do!
If you like natural attractions and don’t mind getting a bit windswept, then you’ll LOVE this part of Australia, Meg! It really has got something for everyone with the added bonus of being a bit cooler than many other places in summer 😀
These look absolutely great! Are they hard they hard to get to? I know for some of them you mentioned driving, but with all the stones and greenery, was it hard to get to a good spot to take pictures?
They’re great if you like natural attractions and the outdoors, Kiyoko! It’s easier to get around as an independent traveller – but I had no difficulty getting to good photo spots!
I know australia has so many beaches, i have been just in golden coast and I saw few..quite similar, but your post made me reflecting about coming back!!
The Gold Coast is a LOT more crowded than these beaches, Rocio – it sounds like you’ve got a lot more of Australia to see for your next visit!!
I love these rugged coastline shots! We’re from Oregon in the USA and we have our own share of dramatic sea cliffs and deserted beaches (the water’s a bit cold!) I hadn’t heard of the Limestone Coast before; having only been to Sydney and Brisbane. But I am long overdue for a return to Oz so I’m noting this down for my next trip! Thanks for a good read!
Hey, maybe we should do a travel swap comparison study, Nick! It’d be interesting to see the similarities and differences between our wild coastlines!
Brilliant sum up of the Limestone Coast. I’ve travelled this part of the world a few times now and am always gobsmacked by the beauty of the area and it’s absolutely one of my most fave spots in Australia.
I’m selfishly glad it’s not really on the tourist trail, Anna! But then, natural attractions and spectacular scenery aren’t for everyone!
You must be born to write, such a detailed post. It evokes imageries and coupled with the pictures, I can imagine myself exploring the hooks and crannies of Limestone Coast. I read the part 1 of the Guide to Limestone Coast and I couldn’t agree less when you said a post can’t say it all. Anyone who intends to visit Australia must have your posts as guide and map.
Perhaps you should send this comment to the Aussie Tourism Board, Lydia, haha!! I’m glad you enjoyed reading about the Limestone Coast – so many people don’t include places like this on their Australian travel itinerary!
Doing a Lighthouse crawl sounds absolutely fantastic! We don’t really have lighthouses in Switzerland and I would love to see them! I’m intrigued to hear more about the tragic tale of Ben Germein. I can only imagine that it must be quite lonely in a lighthouse 🙁
With such a long, and often rugged coastline, lighthouses are quite common down here Tom! And like many other experiences, whether it’s lonely or not would depend on who you were with!
I had no idea about Limestone coast, and now I am fascinated by it…Austraklia’s southernmost point…wow! I am quite fascinated by lighthouse and I think I will really enjoy the lighthouse crawl…plus the view from up there would be nice too 🙂
It’s just South Australia’s southernmost point, Siddhartha! But it’s still pretty spectacular – it’s a very wild coastline with killer views!
It’s the first time I read about the Limestone Coast and it seems like a photographer’s paradise! So many different places to explore. It is definitely a place I should put in my list when I eventually make it to Australia – and this article is the best guide!
Haha, if you’re anything like me you’ll end up with WAY too many pix, Julien! Australia is full of hidden treasures like this – keep watching and I’ll show you more!
Wow this is a part of Oz that has never really appealed to me. That said, your photos really showcase the diversity of the area and have me rethinking. The beaches look lush!
I didn’t realise how diverse and interesting the whole area is until we stayed there for a few days instead of driving through, Anne! Check it out sometime 😀
Sounds so exciting. Particularly the lighthouse crawl and the southernmost point. To think that nothing stands between you and antarctica except for that water on whose coast you are standing right there is really thrilling. I will definitely cover these limestone coastal attractions when I plan my Australia trip
You’re right on the edge here, Neha! Even though you can’t see Antarctica, at least you know it’s there 😀
The Limestone Coast is indeed a treasure trove of natural attractions. I was specially attracted by the Lighthouse crawl that you have described. I am fascinated by lighthouses and find them really intriguing and romantic.
It’s a fantastic place to explore Sandy N Vyjay – and even if you’re not a lighthouse fan you’ll find a lot to see and do here!
I like all the photos on this blog.Love the bright colors on this one. Great Shots. Have a wonderful weekend, cheers.
Bright colours is what Australia is all about, IslandRambles! Thanx for dropping by 😀
Awesome guide and stunning pictures! This was a very motivational post!
Then my work is done, Agness! If you’re heading downunder, this is an awesome part of Australia to see that not a lot of other travellers discover!
What a fantastic post. I have no words to describe how much I loved this. Forgiving me for being so nosy but because am very much into cameras and lenses I will have to ask… Which equipment did you use to photograph?
Have a lovely day
I use an Olympus SZ-10 Compact Camera – no fancy equipment for me, Imagebloke! I don’t think that model is available any more, but there are similar ones (upgraded with a few more features) on the Olympus website. I don’t consider myself a ‘photographer’, but I’ve been taking photos for many years, and I’m usually happy with what comes out of the camera – for my purposes anyway! Thanx for your kind comment!!
Whizzed through there on a bus and vowed to return by car at our own leisure, it hasn’t happened yet,
We stayed in Robe for a few days about 10 years ago, and vowed to return and explore the whole area, Diane. Then last year we stayed in Mt Gambier overnight on a 2 day, 2000 km Twitchathon and vowed to return. So in 2015 we finally did!! Even though we had 8 days, there’s STILL a lot we didn’t get to!!
Fabulous round up Red and a great resource. I can’t believe how similar some of these spots look like to those we have in SWA – ahem, must be the limestone I guess 😉 One beachey shot looked almost a dead ringer for Gnarabup near Margaret River.
I’ve noticed the similarity between parts of the SA coast and parts of WA too, Jo! But that just means you’ll be right at home over here, right?!?!?!
You do our country proud Redz. 🙂
BTW, We’re in the process of moving our blogspot over to a wordress platform. Please come take a look and tell me what you think. We’re still working out the kinks and learning a new system so all feedback is much appreciated. Monica: theyumlist.net
Just drop a line to the OZ Tourism folks and tell them that exact thing, Monica!! Good luck with the WP thing. I had (and am still having) some difficulties with post redirections when I did it – for an IT loser like me, it’s a MASSIVE learning curve! Good Luck!
Simply stunning photos as always! The collage of all of the different plants and flowers is lovely. So many places I could just get lost at here. – Tasha
That’s EXACTLY what’s so awesome about the Limestone Coast, Tasha – we pretty much DID get lost in it for 8 fun-filled days! Next time we go we’ll be making sure we don’t have to rush off before we’re ready to go! Have a great week ahead 😀
It’s hard to pick a favourite in this collection of amazing photos! What a beautiful country we have.
It’s even harder to pick a favourite spot on the Limestone Coast, Judi! HHHMMMmmm… maybe I’ll have to go back so I can make up my mind 😀
Sounds like a fascinating place to visit. Thanks for those great RED sunset pics. It’s raining and gloomy and gray here (what we call stick season with all the trees on the mountains bare of leaves), so the color is fabulous!
RED sunsets work for me too, Christie, I’m glad they’ve brightened your day 😀 Stick season sounds like a real drag – so taking a virtual trip downunder is the only option! Have a great weekend!
It’s a beautiful stretch of coastline. Is Princes Highway also known as The Great Ocean Road? I have a friend driving the Great Ocean Road right now, on her way to Melbourne. She has her camera with her and is taking time to stop and photograph.
The Great Ocean Road (GOR) officially ends at the Victoria/SA border, River – and then you’re on the Princes Highway so it’s an extension of the GOR! I’ve only ever done the GOR once and that was MANY years ago – would love to explore it properly – people tell me there are some AMAZING scenic loos!
I like the Cape Jaffa lighthouse. While many lighthouses look similar, it is the more unusual I tend to notice.
Cape Jaffa Lighthouse is a beauty, Andrew! As far as I can see it’s made of wood and the platform raises it quite a few metres above the ground. I think it’s original position was on a reef out to sea, so it probably wouldn’t have lasted through some of the wild weather they have down that way. And to see it now in what looks like a suburban back yard is VERY bizarre!!
We’ve driven through, but never stopped to explore! Thanks so much for sharing!
HAhaha, same here – until now, Liz! You’ll know what to do next time now, won’t you?!?!?!
You have taken me right back to the Limestone Coast on a beautiful walk down memory lane. I loved this part of South Australia. Rugged and beautiful at the same time with so much to see. We stayed at Robe for several days and explored the area. A 4 wheel drive down Long Beach was one of the highlights and yes the sunsets were incredible.
I’m glad my post gave you some happy memories, Kathy – we didn’t drive the beaches (vehicle not really suitable), but we enjoyed EVERYTHING we did there! I can’t believe so few people know about it – it really IS spectacular and a great mix of natural attractions AND fine food/wine! Win-Win 😀
Favourite photo is the Pink Lake Patterns. Soooooooo good
I really couldn’t resist the Pink Lake pic, Fun60! I’m a sucker for natural abstract patterns – and these are SO cool!
LOL! “…– like we didn’t!!”. If or when (!) I ever get to Cape Northumberland I sure like hell will remember to bring a torch, thanks to this, Red!
Actually I think I will always have one with me (like over here, I do so since the office track fell black).
Back then (1995) the Pink Lake was that pink we at first thought of some chemical accident…
Oh, shoot. We sped by so many POI back then…. it´s a shame.
Actually, Pilchard has a ‘Led Lenser’ headlamp for this kind of thing, Iris – but SOMEONE forgot to charge the batteries 😀 We always have a torch in the camper trailer, but I didn’t bring it because I thought the Led Lenser would work 🙁 I agree – the Pink Lake colour always looks toxic, but it makes a good photo – you’ll have to come back again to see it!! Have a great weekend, my friend!
It’s great to see beautiful spring flowers. It’s great NOT to see any snakes!
I just saw a lot of red autumn leaves on my trip, but I couldn’t see the beautiful views of the iconic lake because of the bad weather…
So I’m very happy to share the clear blue sky and beaches in Limestone Coast! Thank you, Red!!
Hahaha, it’s ALWAYS great not to see snakes 😀 It’s a shame about the lake, Kozue – and the bad weather. We were very lucky – it was mostly fine for our 8 night stay, as you can see from the photos! I LOVED the wildflowers, but I’d go back again for the rugged rocks. AND the RED sunset!!