The Bellum Hotel is ideally situated amongst all the attractions that make the Limestone Coast such a terrific destination for a holiday or short stay. Just 45 minutes from the world renowned Coonawarra wine district, the hotel is only 30km from the Glenelg River township of Nelson, and 15km from the seaside town of Port MacDonnell. The hotel is a fantastic base to explore the natural features of the region, and partake in the activities that make the Limestone Coast a joy to visit.
It’s impossible to miss one of Australia’s youngest dormant volcanoes when you visit the Bellum Hotel or take a drive from Mount Gambier to Port MacDonnell. Rising 150 metres above lush pastures, Mount Schank punctuates the skyline and offers breathtaking panoramic views of surrounding farmland and distant seas. A walking trail will take you to the edge of the crater for an unforgettable geological experience and some spectacular photo opportunities (approx. one hour return). A narrow path traces the entire rim, and the truly adventurous can also descend inside the crater.
Early explorer Lieutenant James Grant named this fascinating remnant volcano after his friend, Captain Schank, and it’s one of many sites of national and international significance on the Kanawinka Geotrail. Click here [www.kanawinkageopark.org.au] to download a map and travel back in time over thousands and thousands of years through this amazing landscape.
A picnic area and toilets are provided at the base of Mount Schank, while the nearest refreshing drinks, hearty meals and accommodation is a short 4-kilometre drive away at the Bellum Hotel. Directions from the Bellum:
Head south along the Riddoch Highway, turn left down Post Office Road, and then take the first left towards the mountain car park.
The Blue Lake may be one of Mount Gambier’s most famous attractions, but many people don’t realise that a mini Blue Lake can be found 15 minutes down the road near the Bellum Hotel. Unlike the “original”, which is off-limits to swimmers as it’s the city’s chief water supply, Mount Schank’s Little Blue Lake is the ultimate plunge pool, so be sure to pack your bathers (or perhaps a wetsuit due to the chill factor!). Due to its high popularity, Grant District Council [www.dcgrant.sa.gov.au] has built a floating pontoon on the lake, giving swimmers and divers easy access to the sparkling water.
Please note that no toilet facilities are available and the nearest refreshing drinks, hearty meals and accommodation is a short 4-kilometre drive away at the Bellum Hotel.
Directions from the Bellum: head north and take your first left onto Mount Salt Road. The Little Blue Lake is 3.5 kilometres down on the right hand side.
The famous Ewens Ponds and the Ramsar-listed Piccaninnie ponds are only a short drive from the Bellum Hotel. These freshwater wonderlands attract divers from all over the world, and form part of a labyrinth of more than 600 caves and 30 water-filled sinkholes found across the region.
If you prefer saltwater, nearby Port MacDonnell forms part of the Shipwreck Coast, with the treacherous Southern Ocean laying claim to 70 vessels since the early 1880s, and divers flock to the region for a rare and memorable glimpse of the watery graves beneath the waves.
To dive at Piccaninnie Ponds, Allendale Sinkhole and many other local caves and sinkholes, you must be CDAA [www.cavedivers.com.au] qualified and have a permit from the DENR South East Region Office at Mount Gambier.
After an exciting day spent exploring underwater labyrinths, a warm cosy fire, hearty meals and comfortable accommodation await at the Bellum Hotel.
Travel 14 kilometres south of the Bellum and you’ll reach the home of one of the largest rock lobster fishing fleets in the Southern Hemisphere. The coastal town of Port MacDonnell is also famous for its sport fishing, with tuna and other deep-sea species regularly hauled in from the chilly depths. If you don’t have a boat, ask at the Bellum Hotel for help with a charter booking.
Port MacDonnell Fishing Charters
Jason Fulham, owner and operator of Port MacDonnell Fishing Charters welcomes you aboard his 43' vessel "Jaymar Star". Established in 2000, we welcome singles, groups and private personalised charters and offer fishing all year round (subject to weather and fishing conditions). The cray fishing town of Port MacDonnell is the southern-most port in South Australia, and just 15 minutes from The Bellum Hotel. Since commencing charters over a decade ago, Jason has met fantastic people, made good friends and helped create some genuinely unforgettable fishing experiences, and he's grateful for the ongoing support of his clients. Gift vouchers are available for all charters.
The coast is only a short drive south of the Bellum, and we can almost smell the salt air! Port MacDonnell or ‘The Bay’, as it is affectionately known, is a favourite destination for surfers, swimmers, hikers and divers - if you’ve never tried surfing or diving, book a lesson at the local surf shop ‘Get Salty’.
Just 15 minutes from The Bellum Hotel is one of the premier paintball fields in the country; Burrungule Park. Suited for buckshows, and social and corporate events, Burrungule Paintball can provide everything you need to make your experience very enjoyable, with packages designed to suit any occassion. Catering for all ages with LaserTag, a perfectway for young players to be introduced to the sport of paintball.