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Scuba diving in the Ewens and Piccaninnie Ponds.
Scuba diving in the Ewens and Piccaninnie Ponds.
Sorrel swimming through the ponds.
Fresh water springs at the bottom of the ponds.

Piccaninnie Ponds

Thursday, September 28, 2000
Sorrel takes you scuba diving to see the plant and animal life not found in the ocean. The Piccaninnie Ponds in Victoria are quite breathtaking.

On the surface, Ewens Ponds look just like a dam or swamp. Their unpromising appearance serves to increase the sense of awe you feel when you first see plant and animal life below the surface. You can see cracks in the limestone and actually feel currents of filtered, cool water coming through from the caves beneath. Ewens Pond 2 is only five metres deep and has water bubbling through a silt-covered bottom. Pond 3 is eight metres deep and has a shallow cave from which more groundwater filters up. One day’s flow from Ewens Ponds could supply the town of Mt Gambier (population 23,000) and its industries for 21 days.

Piccaninnie Ponds Conservation Park is near the Victorian border and covers an area of 550ha. It has been protected since 1972. The unique aquatic conditions are perfect for rare animals and plants. It is also an important site for migratory and wading birds. Piccaninnie is a world-renowned diving and snorkelling mecca, with crystal clear waters which have been slowly filtering through limestone for thousands of years and offer unlimited visibility.

Ewens and Piccaninnie Ponds are the result of the region’s unique geology and hydrology. The lower south-east region sits on limestone from two to 30m below the surface and varying in thickness from 10m inland to 300m by the coast. The groundwater in the limestone forms the aquifer that moves water slowly towards the coast, rising under pressure through many springs along the coastline. Piccaninnie and Ewens Ponds are the largest of these freshwater springs.

Both ponds contain many species of insects, fish, sponges, snails, mussels, mites, amphipods, shrimp, crabs, frogs and tortoises. The lush green plants, combined with crystal clear water, make them look like an underwater garden.


30 minutes south of Mount Gambier.


Diving at Piccaninnie Ponds costs $10 per dive and is for registered cave divers only.
Snorkelling is $5 an hour for adults and $3 for children and concessions. For information about Ewens Ponds contact the NPWS.

More information

National Parks & Wildlife Service
Ph: 08 8735 1173
Fax: (08) 8735 1110

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