Mount Schank, Mount Gambier

#5 of 9 in Parks in Mount Gambier
Mountain · Nature / Park
Mount Schank is a 100 m (330 ft) high dormant volcano in the southeast corner of South Australia, near Mount Gambier. It was sighted by James Grant on 3 December 1800 and named after Admiral John Schank, designer of Grant's ship, HMS Lady Nelson.
Mount Schank is part of the Newer Volcanics Province, which is the youngest volcanic field in Australia. Mount Schank erupted about 5,000 years ago, around the same time as Mount Gambier. It is a very basic ash cone and the base of the crater does not extend below the water table, so there is no crater lake as with those at Mount Gambier. There are two small subsidiary craters adjacent to the main cone and some lava flows resulting from the eruption. The northern crater is circular, 300 m (980 ft) in diameter and 100 m (330 ft) deep, the older southern crater is 200 m (660 ft) in diameter and partially overlapped by the larger crater.
The local Aboriginal Bunganditj people witnessed Mount Schank's eruptions over time. Their creation story about the local volcanic landscape was recorded by a local woman, Christina Smith, in 1880. It tells the tale of Craitbul, a giant, who was looking for a place to live with his wife and two sons. They camped at Mount Muirhead and Mount Schank, but were scared away from both these camps by a moaning bird spirit. They fled to Mount Gambier, leaving their camp ovens (the volcanoes) burning. After some time, water came and filled their ovens, putting them out and driving the spirit away. They continued to live in a cave on the side of Mount Gambier.
The site is accessible from the Riddoch Highway about 20 km (12 mi) south of Mount Gambier; there is a small carpark and picnic table, and steps have been placed to facilitate the short but very steep walk to the rim of the crater. It is a fairly simple walk to traverse the rim, though the exposed situation can be treacherous in gusty weather.
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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
108 reviews
  • Over 1000 steps to top of the dormant volcano. The going was a little steep (for non hikers), but well worth the view once at the top.  more »
  • Not a hard climb as there are concrete steps and plenty of places to stop. It’s about 130m from the car park. The walk around the volcano rim is spectacular with amazing views. It’s a bit dangerous.....  more »
  • This in something. Have to see for yourself. Amazing. Remember to take water in climbing ;)
  • Nice walk, short but steep in some sections

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