Explore the Limestone Coast on some of the many walking trail experiences. With plenty of hiking trails along the coast around Robe and Beachport, and in the Little Dip and Canunda Conservation Parks there’s lots of places to discover the natural wonders of the Limestone Coast.
Around Mount Gambier and northwards through the Coonawarra to Penola and Naracoorte there are walking trails that explore the natural wonders of the stringybark forests, hills and caves.
We’ve listed some of the 30 best trail experiences below. They are divided into three categories:
Section 1 of 3. Along the Coast
Robe Walking Trails & Loop Path
A 12km loop path following the coastline around Robe, taking in historical sites. Suitable for walkers, cyclists, people mobility issues and prams.
Fresh Water Lake Walk, Little Dip Conservation Park
1.7km, 30 mins
Enjoy a quiet walk looping around the Fresh Water Lake, sometimes called Fresh Dip Lake, in Little Dip Conservation Park. The walk begins from a carpark off Nora Creina Road south of Robe.
Lake Eliza Hike, Little Dip Conservation Park
3.5km, 1 hour
Follow fire tracks and hike past Big Dip Lake and out to the edge of Lake Eliza, looping around with views of Woakwine Range. The hike is longer than the nearby Fresh Water Lake Walk. If you were to do only one of these two walks, we’d recommend the Fresh Water Lake Walk as the vegetation around that lake is denser and more scenic.
Robe Historical Walk
Enjoy one of two self-guided walking routes around the historic town of Robe. In the late 1850s, the town became part of one of the most remarkable treks in Australian history with thousands of Chinese migrants travelling through Robe on their way to the Victorian goldfields.
Chambers Way, Beachport
Take a stroll along the beach front walk, from the jetty to the outlet and experience the ever changing moods of Rivoli Bay. The trail is 700 metres along and takes about 30 minutes. A shared use trail continues for 1.5km to the east, behind the sand dunes and along Millicent Road.
Jack and Hilda McArthur Walk
Enjoy a walk around Woolley Lake, a small saltwater lagoon surrounded by native trees at the southern end of Beachport Conservation Park. A walkway has been constructed around this lake together with a lookout from which Woolley Lake, Lake George and the Woakwine Range can be viewed. A bird hide has been built beside a small freshwater hole near the car park.
Wendy’s Walk, Beachport
1.5km, 45 mins
Wendy’s Walk meanders through bushland, sand dunes and eventually onto the beaches of the majestic Southern Ocean. The walk is within easy walking distance from Beachport town centre.
Lanky’s Walk, Beachport
500m, 30 mins
Follow a well-defined path through natural bush with a diverse variety of native plants to Lanky’s Well, dug to provide water for the Police horses. Named after Lanky Kana, a member of the local Buandik people, who was a police tracker who cared for the horses and camped by the well.
Cape Buffon Walk, Canunda National Park
2.5km, 1 hour
Enjoy this highlight walk in Canunda National Park, looping around Cape Buffon. The walk includes some of the spectacular wild coast, some of the calmer bay-side coast and beaches and inland coastal vegetation, and climb to a trig point.
Willichum Lookout Walk, Canunda National Park
1.1km, 45 mins
Enjoy a short walk to the Willichum Lookout in Canunda National Park. The lookout offers splendid panoramic views of the bay, the park and rocky cliffs from a viewing platform. There is an option to continue walking from the junction out to an ocean lookout on the Seaview Walk.
Seaview Walk, Canunda National Park
6.8km, 2 hours
Follow the limestone coast of Canunda National Park along this more difficult hike. The Seaview Walk features spectacular rock formations, sandy beaches, seabirds and a myriad of plants, while offering stunning scenic views of the coastal environment. The blue-green coastal daisy bush may be found along the walk and is usually smelled before it is seen as the leaves have a pleasant aroma. Evidence of wombat and echidna burrows and scratchings are often visible.
Section 2 of 3. Mt Gambier
Mount Gambier Rail Trail
5.4km, 1.5 hours
Walk or cycle along the 5.4km shared path which follows the former railway line that runs through the centre of the City of Mount Gambier. Parts of the former rails have been artfully incorporated into the trail.
Mt Schank, to Crater Rim
1.3km, 30 mins
Hike up to the rim of Mt Schank to experience 360 views into the crater and of the surrounding countryside. The trail comprises mostly of a limestone planks, 1,038 of them, to climb up to the crater rim. The hike begins from the carpark and picnic area beside the waterhole.
Extend the hike by doing the Mt Schank Crater Rim Walk (2.7km, 1 hour return).
Blue Lake Circuit
3.6km, 1 hour
Enjoy a circuit walk around the Blue Lake perimeter. There are numerous lookouts and interpretive signs along the way. The trail is lit at night time. There is car parking available at Apex Park and several lookouts.
Rook Walk/Pepperpot Trail
1.7km, 1 hour
Experience a shorter walk than the Mountain Trail on this 1.7 km walk around the Leg of Mutton Lake, experiencing views over the Valley Lake and Blue Lake.
Mountain Trail (circuit hike around Valley Lake)
4.2km, 1.25 hour
Enjoy spectacular views across the Valley Lake and Blue Lake, and cross the saddle between the Valley Lake and Leg of Mutton Lake. The trail on the southern rim up to the Centenary Tower is steep, however the Blue Gum Trail offers an alternative easier route around the Tower.
500m, 30 mins
The sinkhole is open from dawn to dusk and, as the sun sets, the Umpherston Sinkhole comes alive with hundreds of possums as they come into this tranquil garden to feed. The Umpherston Sinkhole has a long ramp at the entry point followed by an array of enclosed steps.
Historic Hotels of Mt Gambier
3km, 1.5 hours
A self-guided walking tour of 9 historic hotels in Mt Gambier.
City Heritage Walk (Mt Gambier)
4.5km, 3 hours
A self-guided walk in central Mt Gambier to view the historic buildings dating back to 1863. There are interpretive signs along the way.
Honan Mint Trails – 3 trails, Glencoe (near Mt Gambier)
These three forest trails provide a unique opportunity to view rare plants and wildflowers in natural bush setting, just 16km from Mount Gambier. The trails are set within the heart of Honan Native Forest Reserve near Glencoe and range in length from 2.7km to 5.7km. They are designed for walkers and cyclists and are clearly marked to ensure easy navigation. The trails are home to a diverse range of plants and wildflowers and provide the perfect opportunity for people of all ages to explore the local forest environment.
Stringybark Forest Walking Trail, Telford Scrub (north of Mt Gambier)
Take a walk along the forest canopy boardwalk to experience the remaining native forest within Telford Scrub Conservation Park. The boardwalk is 100 metres long and just over 4 metres high and is placed amongst the branches of the trees, enabling visitors to catch a glimpse of the many birds that live there.
Interpretative signs along the walking trails highlight some of the park’s features, including more than 20 species of native orchids. Choose between this walk of two-and-a-half hours, or the shorter Forest Canopy Walk of one-hour.
Section 3 of 3. Between Mt Gambier and Keith (inc Penola and Naracoorte)
Gwen Ellis Walking Trail, Mt Monster Conservation Park, Keith
1.2km, 1 hour
Enjoy a walk through Mt Monster Conservation Park on the Gwen Ellis Walking Trail that loops around the summit of Mt Monster. There are several lookouts offering superb views over surrounding agricultural land. The hike does not include the summit itself, but it is easy enough to also include the summit, which would add another 120m to the hike.
Mount Monster Summit Hike
600m, 30 mins
A hike strait to the summit of Mount Monster, rewarded with spectacular uninterrupted views of the surrounding landscape. With more time to spare, we recommend the Gwen Ellis Walking Trail which loops around the summit which has several advantage points offering superb views over surrounding agricultural land.
Penola Conservation Park Nature Trail
The Nature Trail takes you through several different plant associations and over the swamp across a boardwalk. Interpretive signs explain some of the features along the walk. Spring is the best time to visit the park to see native plants in flower, however there is always something of interest to see or hear. The hike begins from the picnic area off Clay Wells Road, 9km west of Penola.
Naracoorte Creek Walk
The Naracoorte Creek Walk follows the Naracoorte Creek through the township of Naracoorte. It’s popular with locals for a quiet stroll or to keep fit. It is pedestrian, bicycle and gopher friendly. Approximately 5km in length it can be completed as a loop or in sections. The Creek Walk encompasses the Naracoorte Nature Park where wildlife can be spotted. The walk passes the Naracoorte Cemetery where you can explore the monuments and gravestones that are an important part of Naracoorte’s heritage.
Roof Top Loop Walk at Naracoorte Caves
This walk provides universal access for people of all ages and abilities and provides an opportunity to experience the fascinating underground world of Naracoorte Caves. It is suitable for those in wheelchairs and users of mobility aids, families with prams, the visually impaired and for those guests not wishing to go into a cave. Picnic tables and seating along the walk provide the ability to take a break and relax in a natural setting.
Linking the Wonambi Fossil Centre with the Bat Observation Centre, Bat Cave and Blanche Cave, the Loop Walk has plenty of interpretive signage and the use of cave markers indicate when you are over a cave. Strategically placed viewing platforms provide a glimpse into the cave interior, or even let you witness bats flying in or out of their underground home.
27. World Heritage Hike at Naracoorte Caves
This hike meanders from the Wonambi Fossil Centre to Victoria Fossil Cave in the Naracoorte Caves National Park. Signs along the way highlight the World Heritage features of the park, making it popular with school groups and those with an interest in the park’s ancient history. In spring, native flowers bloom with abandon, including several varieties of native orchid.
28. Limestone Cliffs Hike at Naracoorte Caves
Located within the Naracoorte Caves National Park this is a short spur leading off from the Stoney Point Hike. Walk through native bushland and discover the ancient limestone outcrops overlooking Stringybark and River Red Gums.
29. Stoney Point Hike at Naracoorte Caves
This short hike is located in the Naracoorte Caves National Park. You’ll pass through Stringybark and Red River Gum forests on this hike between Victoria Fossil Cave and Stoney Point picnic area. Explore the remnant waterholes along Mosquito Creek and keep your eyes open for the many native animals that live here, like Western-Grey Kangaroos, echidnas and wombats.