The Limestone Coast of South Australia

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Location and description
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The Limestone Coast is a recently adopted name for the southeast coast of South Australia from the Victoria border towards the city of Adelaide.

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

The Murray River finally meets the ocean between the Younghusband and the Sir Richard Peninsulas via a series of shallow lagoons including the Coorong, Lake Albert, Lake Alexandrina and Bool Lagoon.  Meanwhile areas of upland behind the Limestone Coast include the volcanic craters of Mount Gambier.

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

History[edit | edit source]

There are deep limestone deposits created form 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.

Flora[edit | edit source]

The natural vegetation was woodland of River Red Gum and other eucalyptus trees. [1]

Fauna[edit | edit source]

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, Messent Conservation 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.