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Umpherston Sinkhole

Umpherston Sinkhole

The Umpherston Sinkhole (or the Sunken Garden) is one of the most spectacular gardens in the Mount Gambier region.

Umpherston sinkhole was once a typical limestone cave formed by seawater waves corroding limestone rocks. The sinkhole was naturally created when the chamber’s roof collapsed.

Umpherston Sinkhole Cave Garden, Address & History, Mount Gambier

The Umpherston Sinkhole is a beautiful sunken garden that offers a perfect setting for visitors to enjoy and spend time in.

The Umpherston Sinkhole was made into a garden by James Umpherston in 1886. 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 sculptures at Umpherston Sinkhole are inspired by the region’s geological processes, which formed sinkholes.

The Umpherston Sinkhole has a long ramp at the entry point, followed by an array of enclosed steps. From these steps, you can see the first real view of the sinkhole.

As you proceed further into the sinkhole, you will see the stunning garden and its picturesque landscape. You can see the terraces in the garden from the area of this sinkhole. Once you descend to the floor of the sinkholes, you will see the fountain, hydrangeas and tree ferns around the area. Unfortunately, there is no wheelchair access to the garden floor.

The sinkhole offers an array of scenic spots and a beautiful garden, which certainly offers a unique experience. The garden is open every day and remains open until late evening. Bring along some snacks and watch the possums emerge at dusk.

Please note that dogs are allowed on a leash at the park surrounding the sinkhole but must not enter it as it is home to various native animals.

About the author

Michael Jones

Michael created and runs the Mount Gambier Point website, as well as the Holiday Point travel brand that incorporates a network of 16 location based travel information and attraction websites around Australia, Asia, and around the world.

With 25+ years of online experience and a passion for travel (having been born in Mount Gambier, lived there and reguarly visits family), Michael not only researches and writes content for the website, he also tinkers behind the scenes with the website functionality & design.

Please reach out if you have any questions or suggestions.


Click Here to Ask a Question

    • Hi Ashley,

      Thanks for the heads up. I have since clarified this within the content of the page, but I actually have a photo inside the image gallery that has the sign stating that dogs arent allowed (the questions at the bottom of the page were from 2016 and 2018 – before i had the chance to visit and get the updated photos).

      It seems to be a common question because there seems to be little information available online. The people on Tripadvisor didn’t know, many other websites don’t even mention it and with the website you suggested, it wasn’t stated on the actual attraction page, but rather buried within the website on a blog post that was only published last month.

      Have a great day.

    • Hi Garry,

      Apologies for the delay – we were undertaking some major website development tasks ove the weekend.

      I have just searched the council website and can’t find any information regarding alcohol at the Umpherston Sinkhole. THe only information is that Cave Garden and Vansittart Park are dry zone areas and alcohol is not permitted.

      But outside of those areas and the fact there are BBQ facilities there, i would say you should be fine.


    • Hi Louise,

      Umpherston Sinkhole is located in Mount Gambier’s urban residential area, so there is no bush camping located nearby.

      There are however a number of caravan parks in Mount Gambier including Mount Gambier Central Caravan Park which is located just 2kms away.

      Best regards,

  • Hey there,
    I’m going on a photography road trip and bringing my dog with me.
    Are dogs allowed in the sinkhole if I have her on-lead? She does not go to the toilet in public either. (Very shy lol)

    • Hi Molly,

      I am not aware of any rule which actively prohibits dogs going into the Umpherston Sinkhole, but there are possums and other wildlife that live there so it is not recommended. Dogs may scare away the possums and other wildlife which would be a pity for you and others who are visiting.


  • Hi, how do you go about feeding the possums?

    My boyfriend and I will be down this weekend and I really want to feed the possums at dusk but not sure what food we are meant to bring or if there is food their available for purchase?

    • Hi Belinda,

      There is no food available for purchase on site, so you must bring your own. Possums eat fruit, bugs, flowers and the like, so best to bring things like bananas and grapes (cut in half) for them to enjoy.

      Best regards,

  • Hello,

    We checked out the Sinkhole a few days. Very interesting spot and the Mt Gambier council has presented it very nicely. Lots of informative panels around to read.
    While there I was also most impressed by the dramatic large tree near the top displaying very unusual red flowers. Would love to know the name of this tree and the story behind it?

    cheers Rose

    • Hi Rose,

      So glad you enjoyed the beautiful Umpherston Sinkhole. It is my favourite attraction in Mount Gambier! Unfortunately however, I do not know the answer to your question about the tree! Perhaps someone at the local council will be able to assist?

      Best regards,

    • Hi Al,

      No, the Umpherston Sinkhole is not wheelchair friendly. As it is a very steep natural formation, steps have been installed to reach the sinkhole floor.

      You can reach the sinkhole with a wheelchair from the carpark, but the gardens around the edge are probably too high for someone in a wheelchair to see over. However, if they are able to stand at all, they will be able to look down into the sinkhole.


    • Hi Evelyn,

      I am not aware of any rule which prohibits dogs going into the Umpherston Sinkhole, but there are possums and other wildlife that live there so it is not recommended. Dogs may scare away the possums and other wildlife which would be a pity for you and others who are visiting.


  • Hi,
    I recently visited the umpherston park and took a photo of the twin column/wavy sculpture near the car park that is lit up at night. Can you provide any details on what it represents and who carved it please?
    Thanks Wayne.

    • Hi Wayne,

      This was a hard one! I have been to the sinkhole many times before, but have never stopped to read the sign!

      However, luckily, someone has written a blog about it when they last visited. Here it is:
      The Sculpture was completed in 1997 by Ivo Tadic, who was inspired by the geological process of rainwater dissolving limestone over millions of years, thus creating the regions sinkholes and caves. The top section of the sculpture represents sinkholes that are open to the sky. The middle section represents hidden fissures created by solution of limestone and the lower section represents limestone prior to any solution activity. The sculpture is made from Mt. Gambier Limestone, probably formed 15-40 million years ago and is composed of fragments of marine animals. The limestone blocks are strengthened by twin steel columns embedded in a concrete footing.

      Well there you go! I too learnt something new today…

    • Hi Abbey,

      I think the best time to go to Umpherston Sinkhole is during dusk as this is when the possums come out for feeding. Its really fun to walk around the caves at dusk and see their little eyes peering out!

      If you are looking for the best time to photograph the sinkhole, its best to go to the sinkhole during the middle of the day (between 12-2pm) when the sun is right overhead.

      Enjoy your time in Mount Gambier!


    • Hi Amanda,

      The short answer is yes, weddings can be held at the Umpherston Sinkhole.

      From personal experience, the gardens are best viewed in Spring and Summer as the flowers are in full bloom and the sun is shining down. I have visited in Autumn when the gardens were not as spectacular and it was clouded over making the garden a little dark for photos, so I would avoid this period.

      I would recommend contacting the visitor centre directly for further information about availability, prices, etc on (08) 8724 9750.

      Kind Regards,
      Holiday Point

  • Hi There,

    Could you please tell me what number on Jubilee Hwy is the Umpherston Sinkhole, we are driving down from Adelaide in November and wish to book accommodation that is close.

    We intend staying for two days in Mt. Gambier on our way to the Grampians, can you recommend attractions for us (my wife and I will be bringing our bicycles with us.)

    Thanks for your help.

    David & Angela

    Thank you

    • Hi David,

      Unfortunately, i can’t seem to find an exact number listed for the Umpherston Sinkhole, but there are plenty of signs when you arrive and it is roughly 2km east of town on Jubilee Hwy East.

      I recommend checking out this Wotif page and you can then search for accommodation that is close by (use the interactive map).

      The are plenty of day trips available, but if you are only staying within the town, i’d recommend at the very least checking out The Blue Lake and Crater Lakes (all of which are bike friendly and quite nice to ride around), take a stroll through the Valley Lake Wildlife Park, as well as hiking to the top of Mount Schank. All of these can be found on our attractions page.

      I also happen to have a site dedicated to the Grampians if you are interested of what to do and see there – http://www.thegrampiansvictoria.com.au/.

      All the best and have an excellent trip!

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