06 Jul 2024

Australian of the Year Dr Richard Harris to showcase Limestone Coast to the world


South Australia’s Limestone Coast will be in the spotlight, as 2019 Australian of the Year Dr Richard Harris OAM shares his underwater world, filming megafauna fossils that have been unseen for millennia, in a special documentary airing today.
The cave diver, made world-famous for his heroic efforts in the Tham Luang cave rescue, takes viewers on a unique journey back tens-of-thousands of years inside the underwater caves where only the most trained divers can access.
The documentary titled ‘My Underwater World’ will premiere on national television when it is broadcast on Channel 9 at 3:30pm ACST today.
Delivering on its election commitment to promoting the Limestone Coast region and its attractions, the State Government through the South Australian Tourism Commission has partnered with local content production company, 57 Films who worked with Richard’s film company “Speleopix” to create the documentary which showcases the unique geography and sinkholes in the state’s south-east.
While the documentary will air nationally today, 57 Films is in discussions regarding possible international distribution of the documentary, which would showcase the unique Limestone Coast to audiences around the world.
In 2018, Dr Richard Harris OAM drew the world’s attention for his crucial role in the rescue of a junior football team who became trapped in a cave system in northern Thailand. He, together with fellow Australian technical diver Craig Challen OAM, were jointly awarded 2019 Australian of the Year as a result of that rescue.
‘My Underwater World’ is shot at underwater caves near Mount Gambier, and showcases Kilsby Sinkhole, which is world-renowned as one of the best sinkhole dive sites due to its crystal-clear water and breathtaking visibility.
Located 15 minutes from Mount Gambier, it is the only site of its kind that welcomes snorkellers, freedivers and open water certified scuba divers under the supervision of a licensed and industry-qualified guide.
As one of the many natural wonders on offer in the region, Kilsby Sinkhole – among other sinkholes in the region including Umpherston Sinkhole/Balumbul – provide a unique tourism drawcard for the Limestone Coast. They feature in the SATC’s Southern Ocean Drive Road trip, one of six itineraries promoting destinations and attractions across the state which target the valuable self-drive market.
Latest data for the year-ending March 2024 shows visitor expenditure in the Limestone Coast is at $524 million.

Minister for Tourism for Tourism, Zoe Bettison said this special documentary, and the worldwide recognition of Dr Richard Harris OAM, is an exciting opportunity to put one of South Australia’s tourism gems in the spotlight.
"The premiere of ‘My Underwater World’ will help showcase South Australia as a must-see destination which offers unique natural wonders like the Naracoorte Caves and the sinkholes in our state’s south-east," Minister Bettison said.
"Tourism is hugely important to regions like the Limestone Coast and with visitor spend in the region worth $524 million, it is crucial we continue to find new ways to promote this wonderful part of our state to audiences both nationally and abroad."
Dr Richard Harris OAM said the underwater caves near Mount Gambier, just four hours from Adelaide, offer one of the most premier diving locations anywhere in the world.
"People would drive through the Limestone Coast and have no idea what is beneath their feet – kilometres of some of the most pristine water-filled tunnels in the country," Dr Harris said. 
"The opportunity for genuine original exploration still exists on this planet, and, by-and-large the only place to do that is in caves – and that’s what brings me back every single time."
Member for Mt Gambier, Troy Bell MP said the documentary 'My Underwater World' presents an exciting opportunity to showcase the region to a global audience.
"The Limestone Coast boasts world-class natural wonders that many people simply don’t know about," Mr Bell said. 
"Projects like this, along with the SATC’s Southern Ocean Drive road trip, are essential in highlighting our attractions and enticing tourists to explore the unique experiences our region offers."