The Umpherston Sinkhole (or the Sunken Garden) is one of the most spectacular gardens located in the Mount Gambier region.
Thousands of years ago, Umpherston Sinkhole, also known as The Sunken Garden was a cave. Water eventually dissolved enough of the limestone to cause the ceiling of the cave chamber to collapse creating a large open pit know as a sinkhole. James Umpherston purchased a farm property which just so happened included this amazing sinkhole.
He then went on to established this amazing garden on the floor of the open cave. Being retired and having the time James Umpherston wanted to create a pleasant garden for the people of Mt Gambier.
After clearing the existing vegetation from within the sinkhole, he carved a path into the side of the rock, erected wooden steps so visitors could enter his garden. The garden was and still is filled with all kinds of ferns, shrubs and flowers. Even with quite a few other visitors in the sinkhole, sitting down in the bottom of this amazing creation is extremely peaceful.
The beauty of the Umpherston Sinkhole, also known as the sunken gardens, has to be seen to be believed. Appreciate its size and depth from the viewing platforms at the top of the sinkhole, then, walk down into the sinkhole, along the terraces and behind the hanging vines. The resident colony of possums make an appearance at dusk and enjoy being fed fresh fruit.
The depression is fertile, with more topsoil and more moisture than outside, which makes it an ideal place for a garden. The area is well developed, with floodlight in the night, terraced gardens, barbecue, toilets and picnic grounds. A display on the steps down into the sinkhole explains the history of the place. Another display in the gardens outside the sinkhole explains the logging history of the area, with a Mack logging truck and an old bull-dozer on display.
The Umpherston Sinkhole is named after James Umpherston, who established the garden in 1884. Umpherston purchased a farm property in Mount Gambier in 1864 which contained a large sinkhole (or cave remnant).