The Coonawarra region is located about 375 kilometres south west of Adelaide close to the Victorian border.
It is renowned for producing world class red wines especially Cabernet Sauvignon and its secret is the magical marriage of rich red terra rossa soil, limestone, pure underground water and a long cool ripening season for the grapes.
Its a great wine area to visit as the wineries are all located close together basically along a 21 kilometre stretch of the main road.
29 wineries make up the region with 25 having cellar door sales. Whilst this is an area famous for its red wines a number of the wineries also produce white varieties Patrick of Coonawarra also produces Applelation a very tasty apple cider.
Patrick of Coonawarra
Where to eat
Hollick Wines is the only winery with a restaurant and 5 serve coffee and food. Upstairs at Hollick is open Wednesday to Sunday for lunch and dinner on Saturday.
Pipers of Penola is an award winning restaurant located in the town of Penola on the southern end of the Coonawarra. Open Tuesday's to Saturday this restaurant is great if you enjoy a formal dinner and quality food.
Pipers of Penola
If you prefer a more relaxed feel Fodder's changing menu includes wood fired pizza and other meals all using local and fresh produce. Open for lunch and dinner Thursday to Sunday Fodder is located in Coonawarra.
Penola Station is another option serving modern international food. This restaurant is open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner in the summer and closed Tuesday during winter.
Where to stay
There is a range of accommodation in Coonawarra or nearby in Penola and Mount Gambier which is about 30 minutes south. Our choices include:
Coonawarra Country Cottages all tastefully decorated and furnished these 3 lovely cottages provide comfortable and charming self catering accommodation and 2 have the benefit of large gardens.
Must @ Coonawarra with stylish and fresh apartments with modern appliances this property is located in Penola a short drive to the Coonwarra wineries.
Highbank Winery Accommodation has a choice of accommodation including 2 romantic guest retreats - the Cottage and the Villa both have picturesque views of the vines.
The Barn is located a short distance from Mount Gambier and set in beautiful gardens with an award winning steakhouse. With their award winning Steakhouse and a range of suites spread throughout the gardens its our first choice when we're touring the area.
The Coonawarra Region is also close to a number of other tourist attractions including:
The Blue Lake Mount Gambier is located in a volcanic crater. The colour of the water changes from grey to a vivid blue in November each year changing back to grey after March. Its a beautiful scenic spot and a great illustration of how fascinating nature can be. Nearby are a number of other lakes called the crater lakes.
Umpherston Sinkhole /Sunken Garden is located in the heart of Mount Gambier. Once a cave the sinkhole was created when the top of a chamber collapsed downwards. The topsoil on the floor of the cave creates a perfect environment for a sunken garden.
The Cave Gardens are a State Heritage Area and also located in the city of Mount Gambier. You can walk down into the caves and view the gardens from a suspended viewing platform. Each night there is a sound and light show which tells of Indigenous Dreamtime stories.
Bool Lagoon is located a short distance to the north of Coonawarra and is visited by up to 150 species of birds many migrating from the Northern Hemisphere. UNESCO have designated the wetlands as a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention.
Heading further north towards Adelaide are the Naracoote Caves. Palaeontologists have been studying the fossils and bones found in the caves for over 30 years and now Naracoote Caves are recognised as one of the world's most important fossil sites.
There are more than 26 caves in the National Park with a number are open to the public and others maintained for continuing scientific research. Check tour times and pricing
If you don't like to go underground The Wonambi Fossil Centre provides an opportunity to step back in time and discover what Naracoorte was like over 200,000 years ago. The Fossil Centre is a walk-through diorama with life-sized models of extinct animals in their ancient habitats.
Wonambi Fossil Centre