Old Mt Gambier Gaol | Family-friendly Accommodation | Review

Old Mt Gambier Gaol

Review by Claire Davill

The Old Mount Gambier Gaol is a fantastic family-friendly option for accommodation while exploring the South East region of South Australia. It’s low-cost, historical, flexible and caters to families and groups very well.

The Gaol is a unique accommodation option – it’s the only jail in Australia that you can stay in! The owners live on site with their children and they know what families need. This is a no-frills accommodation option, it’s not a motel. It operates more like a hostel, with shared bathroom and kitchen facilities, but with the added bonus of plenty of space for kids to play. And you won’t have to worry about your kids escaping!

We stayed here recently as an extended family group of seven, and it met our needs perfectly. Room options range from double beds or bunks in small cells, to larger family rooms that accommodate groups of four or up to eight in bunk beds. There are some rooms with kitchenettes and bathrooms, others use the shared bathroom facilities. All bedding and linen is provided, though you’ll have to bring your own towels. Because the cells are constructed with thick stone walls, the rooms are quiet and stay nice and cool in hot weather.

There are two separate kitchen areas, several lounges and lots of large tables in the outdoor areas. There is also a barbeque available making it easy to self-cater and enjoy meals at the jail. We had food delivered to the jail for dinner one night, and the delivery driver had no problems finding the location. The jail is very close to the centre of Mount Gambier, so if you want to go out for a meal, it’s a short walk away.

Shared bathroom facilities are a mix of shower stall blocks, and single-room shower/toilet rooms. The single room showers are roomy enough to make it easy to shower small children or supervise older kids. There are plenty of bathroom facilities throughout the jail, so there’s always one near your room.

The old exercise yards provide space to spread out and play. The main yard has a beautiful mural along one wall, and a patch of lawn to play on. A second yard has a basketball hoop and balls. There is also a table tennis table in the dining hall. You can also head out into the adjacent paddock for a play when the weather allows – a huge, well-fenced (it is a jail after all!) expanse of lawn to run or play on.

There are thoughtful touches for families everywhere. Lots of chalk is provided for kids to decorate the huge areas of concrete – they’ll never run out of space to draw in a place like this. Books, magazines, puzzles and games are provided in the lounge areas.

There are garden areas in the jail too, with chairs to relax in. There’s always a quiet nook to find, and you can sit back and relax knowing the kids are entertaining themselves, and that they can’t go far!

You’ll also learn a lot about the history of the jail while you stay here. There are informative signs everywhere, explaining what each area was used for, and detailing the history of the complex.

The check-in process is easy, you’ll be sent the door code shortly before your stay and your room key will be in the door when you arrive. If you need help, the owners are on site and a phone call away. Even when busy, the jail is quiet and the jail requests guests keep noise to a minimum after 9pm. We stayed for five nights and met many other families, groups and couples, and it never felt crowded.


25 Margaret Street, Mount Gambier

The jail is set back from a quiet road and there is plenty of parking out the front for guests. It’s central to most of Mount Gambier’s businesses and eateries, and a perfect base to explore Mount Gambier, the Limestone Coast, Coonawarra region and Naracoorte.

things to do in Adelaide for families

For more information and all enquiries please visit the Old Mount Gambier Gaol website.

At Play & Go Adelaide we make every effort to provide accurate information to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. We recommend confirming times, dates and details directly before making any plans as details may be subject to change.

Image Source: Play & Go Adelaide

As per all our Play & Go reviews, this is not a sponsored post and our review is done completely independently. 


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