Piccaninnie Ponds Conservation Park
At Piccaninnie Ponds you can snorkel across the top of The Chasm and peer down into the dark depths below. The crystal clear waters have been slowly filtering through the limestone and forming the Pond’s features over thousands of years. The freshwater rising to the surface under pressure has eroded a weakness in the limestone to form The Chasm, with its white walls covered in delicate green algal growth contrasting with the dark depths below.
This same process has formed the large underwater cavern known as The Cathedral because of its majestic white walls of sculptured and scalloped limestone. With visibility that can exceed 40 metres, this is one of the prettiest and most spectacular underwater sites in the Mount Gambier area.
Snorkel permits are issued to any individual on an annual or a single snorkel basis.
Dive and Snorkel time slots (SA time)
5 am - 6 am; 8 am - 9 am; 11 am - 12 noon;
2 pm -3 pm; 5 pm - 6 pm; 8 pm - 9 pm; 11 pm - 12 midnight.
Diving and snorkelling time slots coincide but a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 4 persons per diving or snorkelling group is allowed. >Therefore, up to 8 persons may be present in the Ponds during any of the 1 hour time slots. You must be out of the water before time expires. A maximum of 2 dives or snorkels per person are allowable per day.
Diving permits are only issued to divers who are current financial members of the Cave Divers Association of Australia (CDAA) and rated at sinkhole category. Proof of current CDAA membership and categorisation will be supplied by the CDAA.
When booking we require the names of people who wish to dive or snorkel in a time slot, dive or snorkel date and time, their Piccaninnie Ponds permit number and CDAA membership number (if applicable). Advanced bookings must be confirmed 1 week prior to the day of diving or snorkelling.
Walking along the beach towards Victoria brings you to fresh water bubbling up on the beach. These springs are used by birds for fresh water and are also a favourite spot for shellfish.
A walking trail leads to the west through coastal wattle and beard heath to the ponds outlet, a drain cut through the dunes sometime after 1917. The crystal clear waters flow out to sea at about 0.6 cubic metres per second. The walk then leads inland via boardwalks through beard heath into silky tea-tree and cutting grass to a lookout where views of the wetland and bamboo reed and bulrush can be seen.
Bookings and further information
For further information or to make bookings, please contact the Department for Environment and Heritage’s Regional Office at Mount Gambier:
11 Helen Street
PO Box 1046
Mount Gambier SA 5290
Phone: (61 8) 8735 1177
Fax: (61 8) 8735 1110
Information for this National Park has been supplied courtesy of The Department for Environment and Heritage (DEH)