Craters & Limestone Precinct
This precinct takes in three major sites. Mount Gambier’s Crater Lakes Complex, Mount Schank and the Mount Burr Range, which includes Lake Leake and Lake Edward.
The Craitbul Legend tells of the giant ancestor of the Booandik People who long ago made “ovens” at Mount Muirhead, Mount Schank and Mount Gambier and how the people fled from one “oven” to another, as each time the water rose and put out the fire.
To view and listen to a You Tube video on the formation of
Mount Gambier’s Crater Lakes Complex please click the play button below.
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Mount Gambier Blue Lake, Valley Lakes Complex (9, 10)
This volcanic area estimated to have been formed some 28,000 years ago over two closely spaced periods, incorporates Blue Lake, Valley Lake, Brownes Lake and Leg of Mutton Lake. Blue Lake which is world famous due to its unique colour change from sombre winter steel blue to brilliant turquoise blue between November and March each year is also the source of water for the City of Mount Gambier which flanks the volcanic crater. Start at the Blue Lake Reception Centre where interpretive signage describes the features of the Mount Gambier Crater Lakes Complex. Refreshments are available and it is the start of the tour down near the surface of Blue Lake which includes a ride in the glass-paneled lift down the original dolomite well shaft and through a tunnel to a platform near the lake’s surface.
The 3.6km road and walking track around the circumference provides access to many marvelous views and this route is walked daily by many locals as their fitness routine. The Crater Lakes area offers many recreational experiences, with its significant network of roads, lookouts, walking trails and a mountain bike trail. It is a popular place for all ages with its picnic areas and undercover shelters, free barbecues, adventure playground and the Valley Lake Wildlife Park and Boardwalk which is also free of charge and open to dusk each day.
Centenary Tower, located on the highest point of Mount Gambier, is 190 metres above sea. The strenuous walk is well worthwhile for the 360 degree spectacular views of the Crater Lakes, City and surrounds. Nearby, on the volcanic slopes, is the Mount Gambier Public Golf Course which offers 18 holes, restaurant and merchandise.
Mount Schank (14)
Mount Schank, located 10 minutes drive south of Mount Gambier is said to be the youngest volcano in this precinct. Protruding 159 metres above sea level it is very prominent above the limestone plain and offers fantastic views and great geological experiences. Begin at the car park where interpretive signage explains the volcanic significance of this site and provides information on the two strenuous walks, one to the top of the volcano, the other descending steeply to the crater floor. The rim offers fantastic views of the surrounding countryside, coast and the nearby geological formations, and from here evidence can be seen of the lava flow and changes in the rock formation caused by heat and steam. On the southern side of the mountain, a small cone can be seen which is believed to have been formed by the first of two main stages. Barbecue, picnic table and toilet facilities are provided.
Mount Burr Range (1)
Mount Burr Range contains 15 volcanic eruption points, and is the most westerly point of the Kanawinka Geopark. Mt Burr eruptions are much older than nearby Mount Gambier and Mount Schank.
Mount Muirhead is privately-owned, and public access is not permitted, however spectacular views can be obtained from the lookout located approximately 6km from Millicent where you can see across to the township of Millicent and further south to the Canunda National Park.
Lake Leake, Lake Edward (4, 5)
Lake Leake features a wide, open crater with a low, gently-sloping ash ring, is open to the public all year round, and provides many recreational activities including fishing, boating, windsurfing, power boating and water skiing. Toilets, sheltered picnic facilities, barbecues and boat ramp are also provided. At Lake Edward a boardwalk and walking trail are new additions. Where the pressure was localised, or there was a small soft spot in the crust, you may notice how the crust has cracked open and been tilted to one side as it was pushed up. In some places, bulbous lobes of lava that were squeezed out of the cracks are also evident.