How to Spend A Weekend in Naracoorte
HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR WEEKEND AWAY IN THE HEART OF THE LIMESTONE COAST
The Limestone Coast has been described as the hidden gem of South Australia and is home to some of the state’s most amazing natural wonders, wineries, and desirable tourist destinations. Among the scenic views of Mount Gambier’s Blue Lake, the picturesque beaches of Beachport and Robe, and the rolling landscape of the Coonawarra wine region, the town of Naracoorte is sometimes overlooked by travellers. However, there are plenty of things for visitors to see and do in Naracoorte and its surrounding areas. From exploring underground passages at our world-heritage listed caves to sipping wine from the not one, not two, but three of our surrounding premium wine regions, here’s an itinerary of the must-dos for your next weekend away in Naracoorte.
Start Your Day the Right Way With A Scenic Walk
It’s well known that starting your day with a walk is one of the best things you can do for your physical and mental health, so why not start your weekend in Naracoorte off right with a stroll? The Naracoorte creek walk follows the local creek through and around the town and is popular with locals for both fitness and leisure, making it the perfect place for a holiday walk. It is approximately 5kms in length, pedestrian, bicycle, gopher, and leashed pet friendly and can be completed in either a loop or in sections. The trails pass by the local cemetery, schools, the town’s swimming lake, back of the main street, and through the Naracoorte Nature Park where visitors can take in the sights of classic Australian flora and fauna. It’s the perfect way to start your day by enjoying the outdoors and getting some fresh air, as well as taking in some of the local sights on foot.
Breakfast Or Brunch Anyone?
What’s a better way to reward yourself after a morning of exercise other than taking yourself out for breakfast afterwards? Weekend or weekday, Naracoorte has multiple cafes and coffee shops around the town that provide the perfect breakfast and brunch spots. ‘Sweet Espresso 5271’, ‘Maddie’s Café’ and ‘Kalv and Co.’ are all lovely cafes situated conveniently in the centre of town that are well-suited for holiday brekky dates. There’s also ‘The Avenue Inn’, located on Fourth Avenue in a more residential part of town, which is a hidden gem loved by locals and visitors as well.
Did Someone Say Shopping?
While you’re in town enjoying your breakfast/brunch session, it’d be a wasted opportunity to not go shopping. Naracoorte’s town centre is home to multiple shops for all your holiday shopping needs. ‘Amali Gifts & Accessories’, ‘The Laundry Hub’, and ‘Store 21’ are locally loved stores in town stocking plenty of unique and stylish options for gifts, homewares, and clothing. Meanwhile ‘Limestone Surf’ and ‘Naracoorte Sports Power’ also have plenty of clothing options for your holiday adventures. You can even pick up a netball, footy, or basketball, and head to one of many local parks and open spaces to get some shots in an/or have a kick around. Naracoorte is also home to infamous Australian brand Minijumbuck’s factory outlet and provides a great opportunity to get some bargains quilts, mattress toppers, and pillows. Additionally, visitors might also want to check out the ‘Yulgibar Wood Gallery’ which is located just outside of town right across from the Naracoorte Caves and specialises in intricate handcrafted wood products.
Check Out The Caves
A trip to Naracoorte wouldn’t be complete without visiting the World Heritage listed Naracoorte Caves (South Australia’s only World Heritage site). Famous for their preservation of Australia’s unique animal heritage, the caves give visitors the opportunity to learn about the ancient animals that roamed the region up to 60,000 years ago in a variety of ways that cater to a range of ages and abilities. Visitors can experience the caves first-hand by joining either self-guided, guided, or adventure caving tours that take you on underground adventures (some subject to booking, please check out the caves’ website for more details). For those who’d prefer to remain above ground, the Wonambi Fossil Centre provides an interactive experience where visitors step back in time and explore what Naracoorte used to be like over 200,000 years ago. Just outside the Fossil Centre is the recently developed Nature Playground that features tunnel mazes, net swings, balancing logs, slides, and sandpits for fossil digging that’ll keep the kids entertained for hours and a little way away is the Caves Café who pride themselves on serving food that showcases produce from the local region. There are also four main walking trails around the National Park where visitors can explore the bushland and learn more about the World Heritage features of the area.
Aside from the caves, Naracoorte is also central to three premium wine regions in the South East. The Coonawarra, Padthaway, and Wrattonbully wine regions are each renowned in their own regards and are within driving distances of town. Perfect destinations for wine enthusiasts who may wish to spend their afternoons at cellar doors.
Other Attractions & Activities
Other attractions that visitors enjoying Naracoorte who have time to further explore the town and it’s surround regions may also joy…
- The Naracoorte Swimming Lake (open from late November to the end of March).
The perfect place for visitors to cool off during the South East’s often sweltering summer days.
Located around 35km South of Naracoorte, the Bool Lagoon Game Reserve is a bird watcher’s paradise and a great stop for people keen on a pleasant walk and even more pleasant view. The expansive wetlands provide stunning scenery and a 500m boardwalk that extends out over the water creating a scenic and tranquil place to explore during your Naracoorte holiday. Visitors can also drive to the top of Bool Lagoon’s ‘Big Hill’ to see the true extent of the sprawling wetlands.
- Recreation Areas
Naracoorte also has numerous parks and recreation areas that provide the perfect play spaces for children and visiting families. The Naracoorte Community Playground on MacDonnell Street has a large, fully fenced in playground, and is situated right next to the local skatepark, dog park, a basketball ring, BBQ/picnic area, and plenty of grass for ball games. On the other side of town, Memorial Parklands (Memorial Oval) is another great spot for visiting families with a nature playground, shaded gazebo and barbecue area, football oval, cricket pitch, exercise equipment, and a 1.1km walking track that loops around the adjacent Gares Swamp.
And finally, what better way to conclude a big day/weekend out than a delicious dinner? Fortunately, Naracoorte has plenty of dine-in and takeaway dinner options that’ll help fill you up after your long day. If you’re looking for a classic pub/restaurant meal, The Naracoorte Hotel’s Billy Mac’s Bistro, the Highlander Restaurant, or the Bushman Arms Hotel has you covered.Or if you’re looking for something else, the Pearl Continental Indian restaurantis a massive hit among locals, as is the Dragon Village Chinese Restaurant. You’d also struggle to find a local or tourist who doesn’t recommend Naracoorte Pizza House or the Showgrounds Cafe as great spots to grab some takeaway dinner.Jessica Dempster