Limestone Coast

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Blue Lake, Mount Gambier
View across the plains near Naracoorte from Russet Ridge Winery

The Limestone Coast is a name used since the early twenty-first century for a South Australian government region located in the south east of South Australia which immediately adjoins the continental coastline and the Victorian border. The name is also used for a tourist region and a wine region both located in the same part of South Australia.


The Limestone Coast is a South Australian Government Region which consists of the following local government areas located in the south east of the state: the City of Mount Gambier and the District Councils of Grant, Kingston, Robe, Tatiara and Naracoorte Lucindale and the Wattle Range Council.[1]

Other uses[edit]

Limestone Coast is the name also used for a tourism region and a wine region. The tourism region consists of the same local governments as comprise the South Australian Government Region (refer above) plus The Coorong District Council.[2] The wine region is the land south of a line located at appropriately 36 degrees 50 minutes south, i.e. in line with Cape Willoughby at the east end of Kangaroo Island.[3]

Location and description[edit]

A Cabernet Sauvignon wine made from the Limestone Coast wine region.

From the Victoria border to the Younghusband Peninsula this area has been settled since the 1840s and supports farming, viticulture, forestry and tourism. Towns include Bordertown, Keith, Millicent, Mount Gambier, Penola, and Naracoorte and the coastal resorts of Beachport, Kingston SE and Robe. The Limestone Coast is notable for the wine-growing regions of Coonawarra, Padthaway, Wrattonbully and Mount Benson.

Much of the Limestone Coast is low-lying, and was inundated by sea as recently as 2 million years ago. It had previously also been flooded 15–20 million years ago. The plains are lined by rows of low sandhills parallel to the coast, created at times when the coastline was at that level. Prior to European settlement, much of the land between the sandhills was swamp fed by streams and subject to inundation. A network of drains totalling 1450 km has been constructed to channel the water away through the sandhills to the ocean. Important areas of wetland remain including the lakes and lagoons such as the southern end of the Coorong and Bool Lagoon. Meanwhile areas of upland in the Limestone Coast include the volcanic craters of Mount Gambier.

The Mediterranean climate of this coast is cool and moist with wet winters.


There are deep limestone deposits created from the coral and other sealife. The limestone in Victoria Fossil Cave and the other Naracoorte Caves contains are Australia's biggest source of fossils and a World Heritage site.


The natural vegetation was woodland of River Red gum and other eucalyptus trees.[4]


Although there are few purely endemic species the coast is rich in wildlife including possums, Cercartetus pygmy possums, Petaurus Gliding possums, and other marsupials many of which do not spread further west than here. Endemic species include reptiles such as the Striped Legless Lizard (Delma impar) and invertebrates like an endemic cave cricket. The Naracoorte caves are occupied by the Common Bent-wing Bat.

The lakes and lagoons are particularly important habitats for waterbirds such as Black Swan, Grey Teal, Pacific Black Duck, and especially the critically endangered Orange-bellied Parrot (Neophema chrysogaster) which winters here along with many other birds including the Red-necked Stint (Calidris ruficollis), Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (Calidris acuminata), and Curlew sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea).

Most of the original habitat has been cleared for agriculture and only fragments remain (particularly in areas of wetland) with Coorong National Park and Canunda National Park being the largest areas. Therefore most indigenous wildlife has also disappeared or been severely reduced in number with introduced species of animals an ongoing threat to that which remains.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Limestone Coast, South Australian Government Region". The Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure. Retrieved 1 October 2014. 
  2. ^ "Tourism Regions, South Australia–201". Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  3. ^ "Wine Regions". Wine Australia Corporation. Retrieved 1 October 2014. 
  4. ^ "Naracoorte woodlands". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund. 

External links[edit]