Mount Gambier sits on the flatlands near an extinct volcano. The mountain's peak is marked by a 'Centenary Tower', built in 1904, to commemorate the area's first sighting by European explorers. At some 192 metres above sea level, this landmark is the city's highest point.
This picturesque south Australian city is a major service provider for the 'Limestone Coast', making it an ideal place to seek work abroad. It lies 436 kms from Adelaide and 441 kms from Melbourne and easily accessible by bus from either of those cities. 'The Mount' (as it's known) is not a party town but a place to enjoy some of the natural attractions of this beautiful part of Australia, including its deep Blue Lake and caves system. It also has a wide range of great parks and reserves including 'Clarke Park', 'Germein Reserve' and 'Hastings Cunningham Reserve'.
The region has lovely warm, dry summers and cool, wet winters where the temperature can dip as low as 25 °F (-3 °C).
What is the Cost of One Month of Housing in Mount Gambier?
Between AUS$930 a month for a bed in a shared dorm in a hostel to AUS$2,100 for a self-contained apartment.
AirBnb has shared rooms in private houses available from AUS$50 a night or from AUS$75 for self-contained accommodation.
Econo Lodge, 96 Jubilee Hwy, has double en-suite rooms from AUS$88 a night. Or the historic Jens Hotel, 40 Commercial Street East, has the same for AUS$90.
The Old Mount Gambier Gaol, 25 Margaret Street, is a hostel with a difference. It's your chance to stay in a former prison for a few nights – with release guaranteed! It's located right in the center of town and AUS$30 a night will get you a bed in a dorm, or pay AUS$80 for a private room. Group bookings are welcome, so it's ideal for friends travelling together to intern abroad in Mount Gambier.
What is the Cost of Transportation for One Month in Mount Gambier?
About AUS$150 if you are just travelling within the city
McCormicks Bus Service offers regular transportation around Mount Gambier.
The local authority also offers a great 'free bike' hire service. You'll need to provide photo ID and credit card details for security, but then you can pick up a cycle from one of 3 locations in the city: the Main Corner, Lady Nelson Visitor & Discovery Centre or Mount Gambier Public Library.
What is the Cost of Food for One Month in Mount Gambier?
Budget AUS$400-600 for meals mostly cooked at home with the odd lunch and drinks out
Shopping in supermarkets, expect to pay around AUS$1 for a litre of milk, AUS$2 for a loaf of bread, AUS$3 for 12 eggs, AUS$6 for a kilo of apples and AUS$20 for a bottle of wine. In cafes and bars a cappuccino will cost around AUS$4-5 and AUS$6 for a half litre of domestic beer. Groceries and restaurants tend to be cheaper than in cities like Sydney but alcohol is more expensive.
Banana Tree Cafe and Terrace, 53 Gray St, offers great Thai food including beef and basil stir-fry and green chicken curry, main courses start at AUS$15. Yoeys, 32 James Street, is a gourmet café plus shop offering cakes, muffins, breads, chocolates, cheese and pasta.
What is the Cost of Entertainment for One Month in Mount Gambier?
The Blue Lake, John Watson Drive, is Mount Gambier's Number 1 tourist attraction – and it's easy to see why. This luminous, 75m-deep lake, which turns an amazing shade of blue during summer, is a stunning natural feature that you won't want to miss. Entrance is free as all you have to do is stand nearby to see it, but if you want to take a journey in the glass paneled lift which descends down the original dolomite well shaft, from which water was originally extracted, you'll need to pay AUS$9.
Riddoch Art Gallery, 1 Bay Rd, opening hours 10am-5pm Mon-Fri, 11am-3pm Saturday and Sunday, is considered one of Australia's best regional exhibition spaces. It has three galleries, plus a cinema screening films about local history.Entrance to most exhibitions is free.
Cave Gardens, corner of Bay Road and Watson Terrace, is a 50m-deep sinkhole that you can actually walk down into. It has stunning manicured gardens, complete with a suspended viewing platform. Entrance is free.
Valley Lake Wildlife Park, Davison Drive, is open from 7am to 6pm. This natural park features a wide array of indigenous flora and fauna species, a beautiful boardwalk, and a number of nature walks. Entrance is free.
The Sir Robert Helpmann Theatre, 10 Watson Terrace, stages concerts, film screenings and plays. Tickets from AUS$15.
For after dark activity hit Shadows Entertainment Complex, 5 Penola Road, for live music, including 'visiting DJ' nights.
Want to volunteer abroad in Mount Gambier?
Provided you have the necessary visa, there are lots of opportunities to volunteer in Mount Gambier, from providing 'meals on wheels' transport to working in the local library. The Volunteering Limestone Coast website is a good place to start looking for vacancies.