President's Fly-in 2023
20 - 23 October 2023
The 2023 President's Fly-in is in the picturesque Blue Lake city of Mt Gambier, just 17 km over the Victorian border. Mt Gambier is the main settlement on the Limestone Coast. It is best known for its geographical features, particularly its volcanic and limestone features, most notably the Blue Lake, and its parks, gardens, caves and sinkholes.
Friday 20th October
The weekend will start on Friday as people arrive by aircraft, car or even Rex flights. The Mt Gambier Aero Club is hosting us, and refreshments will be available in their club rooms as you arrive, register and receive the participants' bag, including the programme and sponsors' merchandise.
At 4 pm OzRunways will address a combined group of Airtourer and Mt Gambier aero club members. As this breaks up, there will be drinks and a casual BBQ dinner where we can mix with the Mt Gambier aero club members and size up our adversaries for the Sunday flying event.
This year we are encouraging everyone to stay at the Commodore motel. The Commodore has a range of room types that will cater to most tastes. It also has a bar where we can gather for a nightcap.
Saturday 21st October
Saturday is a leisurely sightseeing day.
A coach will pick us up to take us between the day's activities. It will start at the Commodore, then pick up anyone at the Caravan Park (which has amazing views of the Blue Lake, by the way) or other motels.
The first stop is under an hour's coach ride away at Nelson on the Glenelg River. This will be a revelation for those who haven’t experienced it. This is one of Victoria's best-kept secrets. We have an exclusive 1 hour 45min cruise along the smooth water of the Glenelg River (cost included in the fly-in fee). The Glenelg River has carved a spectacular limestone gorge through the heart of Lower Glenelg National Park with unique beauty found within the lower reaches of the Glenelg River – from jagged limestone cliffs to riverside gum trees harbouring koalas.
The coach will then take us to Port McDonnell for lunch at Periwinkles café. This is a charming café with sea views through picture windows. Lobster will be available when we are there for those interested. We will collect everyone's orders in the morning and phone them through, so there shouldn’t be delays in serving often experienced by group bookings. This lunch is at the individual's expense.
The bus will then take us to Feast's classic car collection and memorabilia museum (cost included in the fly-in fee). This is one of the most eclectic collections of old cars and appliances that is spread over a sprawling collection of sheds and gardens. I challenge anyone not to find something of interest.
After Feasts, we will once again return to the coach and continue up the Riddoch Highway to Mt Gambier via the Blue Lake and Umpherston sinkhole.
We will be a couple of weeks early for the Blue Lake to be its famous shade of light blue. But set in an extinct volcanic crater, the blue lake is beautiful any time of the year. It's just mandatory to do a lap no matter how many times you’ve seen it.
The Umpherston sinkhole is easy to overlook, but once you get there, it is impressive. The beauty of the Umpherston Sinkhole 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.
From the Umpherston sinkhole you can choose to walk off lunch and return to the Commodore Motel ( 3 km) or board the bus and be dropped at the door. At 6 ish we can gather in the bar for a pre-dinner drink before Dinner at the Commodore’s restaurant (meal included in the fly-in fee).
We are honoured to have David Herbert speak at the dinner. David is owner/winemaker of the Herbert Vineyard, a Bonanza owner and a committee member of the Mt Gambier Aero Club. He is a popular speaker and will speak on Bonanza flights across America and the recent Beechcraft fly-in to Maralinga.
Sunday 22nd October
Flying activities are returning to President's fly-in. This year in the form of a 90nm Navigation competition, where we will pit ourselves against the Mt Gambier Aero Club. The flight will be to Millicent, then following the shipwreck limestone coast over Carpenters rocks to the Southernmost part of SA before returning to MtGambier. We will fly over three shipwrecks, although only one is likely to be visible. It will be a competition both between pilots and flying clubs.
We suggest that those who choose not to fly have a sleep-in then breakfast at one of the cafes on Commercial St (600m walk), such as “Presto”, then visit the Riddoch Art Gallery, explore the Cave Gardens behind it and look in on the James Morrison academy of music (yes, THE James Morrison). Why Mt Gambier? James says it's because it has a long history of supporting Jazz, including the world-renowned “Generations of Jazz” competition in May. There is also a Morrison Jazz club further toward the blue lake.
Lunch will be at Herbert Vineyards just outside Mt Gambier. The cellar door cost and cost of lunch is included in the fly-in fee). It is a boutique Pinot Noir vineyard, and we will be hosted by Beech Bonanza pilot David Herbert. David has offered us the special offer of a tour through the “barrel room” with the opportunity to taste his wines at various stages in the winemaking process. In the modern era of commercial “cellar doors”, this is a rare privilege. We will enjoy a “ploughman’s lunch” with David over some of his wines.
The Herbert winery visit marks the end of the formal fly-in. Those that need to leave us can with enough daylight to return to Adelaide, Melbourne or an overnight stop for more distant locations.
For those who stay on, we will have an optional, informal programme that may include a dash to the Coonawarra, then we will gather at the Mt Gambier Hotel at 7 ish for a pub meal.
Register today on the Airtourer Association webpage!!
!!!!! Earlybird special if you register before Monday 2nd October!!!
All registered participants before October 2 will go in the draw for a 3000 lumen FENIX LED tactical torch with a retail value of over $200.
Friday, 20 October 2023
Saturday, 21 October 2023
- 0900 "Hunts" bus pickup from Commodore Motel then other motels.
- 1000 - Glenelg River Cruise
- 1230 - Lunch at Periwinkles
- 1400 - Feats Car Museum
- 1500 - Blue Lake
- 1530 - Umpherston Sinkhole
- 1600 - Motel drop off
- 1900 - Dinner at the Commodore Motel
Sunday, 22 October 2023
- 0900 Transport to the airport
- Morning Flying activities with the Mt Gambier Aero Club
- 1200 Transport to Herbert Vinyard for light lunch, barrel room tour, and tasting.
- 1500 Transport to the airport for those departing.
- 1900 - Dinner at Mt Gambier Hotel.
Monday, 23 October 2023
Accommodation for President's Fly-in 2023
Mt Gambier, SA
20 - 23 October 2023
Phone: +61 8 8724 6400
Discounted accommodation can be booked online using the promo code AIRTOURER5 for travel dates between 19 Oct 2023 - 24 Oct 2023.
The following QR code takes you to the online booking.
- The Blue Lake Holiday Park has a range of accommodation including self-contained cabins.
President's Fly-in Fee
The fly-in fee will be $360, which includes,
- Fri night BBQ
- Sat Cruise
- Sat Feats Museum fee
- Sat night Dinner
- Sun barrel room tour and tasting
- Sun lunch
- Bus hire
A deposit of $50 is required on registration, with the balance being payable either before the weekend or on arrival.
Please pay by EFT to:
- Airtourer Assn:
- BSB:033 028
- Account No. 460085
- Reference: Pres23 your name