Hit me up! A Coffee Lover’s Guide to the Limestone Coast
ConfessionHQ, Mount Gambier (Tim Rosenthal)

Hit me up! A Coffee Lover’s Guide to the Limestone Coast

Last Updated December 14, 2022

Ah, sweet caffeine… Of all the things on your road trip hit list, the one that often underpins everything (particularly your own sanity), is where to grab a killer cup of coffee! Because it’s not just a drink, it’s a ritual, right?

This aromatic elixir of the Gods connects us, starts our days and fills our travel diaries with moments that can last a lifetime. But let’s face it… scooping bitter grains from the bottom of a supermarket jar is just never going to cut it. You need the good stuff, and you need it now – so we’re here to fill your cup with the Limestone Coast’s best local coffee stops!

Henry and Rose, Keith
Henry and Rose, Keith (@henryandrose)

Coffees in Keith.

If you’ve ever road tripped our way you’ll know the small but mighty township of Keith is generally an early pit-stop from Adelaide. With towering gums and lush fields of lucerne, it’s also a great place to linger over a latte (hey, and maybe even do a spot of shopping?) at everyone’s favourite local, Henry and Rose Café. With an al fresco courtyard and homely interior, this latte-loving local is sublime when it’s sunny and snug in a storm, with the fireplace and comfy couches being magnets for a little ‘me time’. These guys take their coffee seriously, and with plenty of food to pair with your creamy cappa, loading up on croissants, paninis, cakes and muffins (plus homewares from the in-house shop) is as easy as taking your cuppa for a stroll to the legendary Don Moseley Playground (home of the iconic monorail train).

Baristas in Bordertown

In the border-hugging township of (you guessed it), Bordertown you’ll find the inconspicuous but irresistible Café La Vie dishing up ridiculously good Amanti coffees with a great selection of small bites and sweets. Whether you’re settling in for a slice of raisin toast, a decent lunch or even just a strong long black (because hey, we’ve all been there right?) this low-key local is known for its ‘no-frills, no worries’ approach and with a handy little selection of scented candles and free wifi is a great little spot to breathe out before getting behind the wheel again.

Pours in Padthaway.

Unpretentious, unassuming and as most would agree - hugely underrated - the Padthaway Wine Region punches above its weight in the vino connoisseurs’ club, and while Farmer’s Leap Wines may be known for it’s stunning vineyard views and spectacular plonk (try a glass of 'The Brave Shiraz') it also happens to have the best coffee in town. In fact, sitting on the deck (or the log fire in winter) with a slice of cherry ripe cheesecake the sun hits the hallowed vines outside is really a life worth living. If you’re sticking around for lunch, a steaming wood-oven pizza will hit the spot just nicely, while a grab-and-go cuppa is always a possibility (but seriously… back to those views)!

Cappas in Coonawarra

Okay, it goes without saying Coonawarra is one of the most famous wine regions in the world, but in between glasses of award-winning Cabernet Sauvignon you’ll be glad to know there’s some seriously good caffeine in between cellar doors (and hey, after a few too many vinos it’s almost a non-negotiable)! Hit up Upstairs Restaurant at Hollick Estates and you’ll be picking your jaw off the floor, with perfectly placed tables set before arguably one of the best vineyard views anywhere. With age-old vines stretching to the horizon and a magic menu to match, this is one of those places you’ll find all too hard to leave, even if it’s just a coffee stop in between sessions.

Upstairs At Hollick
Upstairs At Hollick, Coonawarra
Cafe Lito, Penola
Cafe Lito, Penola (Cafe Lito)

Percolating in Penola.

Just down the road in the historic township of Penola, you’ll find a main street lined with boutique shops, cafés and restaurants, with Café Lito taking pride of place as one of the best coffee spots in town. Intimate on the inside and quaint on the outside, there’s also handy little street-front spillover area to watch the world go by as fresh beans are ground by the owner and chief barista, 'Silver' - with some interesting variations to boot (like, try the turmeric latte). Home to top-notch bagels, toasties and French croissants, Lito also does a killer BLT if you’re looking for something a little more substantial.

Right next to Cafe Lito and living up to its moniker of “food for the soul, feel good fashion and boutique homewares for a considered home”, Moss and Wild is also a prime place for a coffee or lunch date with a difference. After stuffing your face with fresh banana smoothies and house made chocolate brownies, you’ll find it’s tough to leave their gift shop empty handed, with a beautiful range of jewellery, plants, clothes, shoes, homewares and soft furnishings to mill through in between lattes.

Needy in Naracoorte.

In the honeycombed hamlet of Naracoorte, you’ll find the World Heritage-Listed Naracoorte Caves National Park right on the doorstep, but before venturing down into a sunken wonderland, it’s good to know there’s a morning pick-me-up ready and waiting ahead of your day’s adventures. Pull into the bustling KALV & Co. Cafe and Wine Bar in the heart of town and you’ll find sweet salvation on any day of the week, with swift service, amazing coffees and anything from breakfast toasties to lunchtime eats that’ll fuel your subterranean sojourn. Not far away, Sweet Espresso will sort your sugar fix in between steaming mugs of goodness, while early risers will also appreciate Maddie’s Café, which despite being small in stature delivers a great perk-up when you need it most.

Bricks and Mortar Coffee Co., Mount Gambier (@bricksandmortar.coffeeco)
Bricks and Mortar Coffee Co., Mount Gambier (@bricksandmortar.coffeeco)

Mugs in Mount Gambier.

Alright, you’ve hit the big smoke, and with Mount Gambier being home to more cafes and restaurants than you can shake a sugar bag at, well… you’ve just found yourself coffee utopia! For awesome vibes and an all-round caffeine appreciator’s experience, it’s hard to go past Bricks & Mortar Coffee Co for locally roasted small batch brews and a laser sharp focus on producing the ultimate cup via a mixture of art and science. From the Brew Bar to the coffee shop (buy your own beans and merch here too) this is one spot coffee devotees (and their furry friends) won’t forget in a hurry.

At Limestone Coast Pantry local vibes are everywhere, with a firm philosophy on the trace-ability of food and drink – and spectacular coffees to boot. Whether you’re here for breakfast, lunch, brunch, a quick cuppa or cake (maybe all of the above?), a lovingly created cappuccino with hot jaffles or pancakes goes down an absolute treat. With an in-house shop that’s laden with all sorts of sauces and preserves, it’s also a great place to pick up a local produce hamper (or even a packaged meal) for dinner later on!

Limestone Coast Pantry, Mount Gambier (SATC/ATDW)
Limestone Coast Pantry, Mount Gambier(SATC/ATDW)

For more caffeinated goodness, Bay Blue Espresso Bar is open super early (like, with the birds…) and home to some of the best brews in town. In fact, if the feedback is anything to go by even the biggest coffee snob will surrender to their steamy, creamy cuppas in no time! With a prime location near the Blue Lake/Warwar, this place delivers consistent, silky coffee in each and every cup, and when they’re not pouring out perfection, you’ll find good beats and tasty treats being dished up daily too.

Bay Blue Espresso Bar, Mount Gambier
Bay Blue Espresso Bar, Mount Gambier (Bay Blue Espresso Bar)

At ConfessionHQ you’ll find the brews from Latin America and Sumatra blend seamlessly with a lush interior that showcases local artists. Home to a rotating calendar of exhibitions, this place just oozes urban cool, and whether you’re settling in for a big lunch, a snoozy Sunday or a casual ‘pick-me-up’, it’s got a buzz all of its own. They’ve also got a cool little grab-and-go window if you’re keen to get in and out in a hurry!

ConfessionHQ, Mount Gambier
ConfessionHQ, Mount Gambier (ConfessionHQ)

For something totally unique, Metro Bakery and Café is the exclusive Limestone Coast home of Giancarlo coffee (a.k.a. Giancarlo Giusti, founder of Grinders), putting the soul into every flavoursome cup. Whether it’s an espresso, a caffé latte or just a straight up a long black, this stuff’s perfect for those who appreciate something a little ‘bold and beautiful’, much like the décor inside. In fact, with more tattoos and piercings than a Guns n’ Roses gig, this place is literally a riot of colour, with an excellent range of gluten free, dairy free and vegan options to cover off all bases.

The Tuck Shop is home to tender loving takeaways and spectacular coffees and teas – and for lovers of hot chocolate, the house blend of República del Cacao Ecuador cocoa, 56% Ecuador chocolate and Australian sugar make this spot a sweet and simple equation! With renowned local chef Kirby Shearing dishing up all sorts of creative dishes with locally foraged or grown produce, it’s a genuine culinary highlight too.

At Café Melzar, smooth cappuccinos and macchiatos are the perfect pairing with a big breakfast, and with a team of talented young baristas, you're sure to see some Insta-worthy latte art in your cuppa. With top-notch brews and quality beans, these guys are known for killer coffee (and freshly squeezed juices) and with a solid selection of vegan, gluten-free and kids dishes, you can be rest assured that your whole tribe leaves the place happy.

Bricks and Mortar Coffee Co., Mount Gambier (@bricksandmortar.coffeeco)
Bricks and Mortar Coffee Co., Mount Gambier (@bricksandmortar.coffeeco)
Periwinkles Cafe, Port MacDonnell (@jaja_anuwatpong)
Periwinkles Cafe, Port MacDonnell (@jaja_anuwatpong)

Primo in Port MacDonnell.

In the lobster-loving town of Port MacDonnell, you’ll find Periwinkles Café plonked conveniently on the Esplanade with commanding views over the jetty and ocean. Watching the cray boats come in as you’re sitting with a hot latte and a ‘Splendid Breakfast’ (yep, that’s what it’s called) is honestly one of life’s great pleasures. With a handy kids menu and meal deal, your little ones will also score a handy activity pack to keep them occupied as you leaf through the morning paper.

Macchiatos in Millicent.

Surrounded by fertile farmlands in every direction, Millicent is one of South Australia’s most significant rural centres so it makes sense that The Shearer’s Cook is your first go-to for a great cup of coffee. With all-day-breakfasts, grazing boxes and killer cakes and slices, these guys also make a smooth iced coffee for those hot summer days and can accommodate most dietaries. Around the corner on George Street, the super cute Java Café also sits directly opposite the stunning Water Goddess mural on the façade of the old Savings and Loans Bank, making it a handy little pit-stop while you’re checking out the street art around town!

The Shearer's Cook, Millicent
The Shearer's Cook, Millicent (The Shearer's Cook)
Robe Store by Mahalia Coffee (@robestore.sa)
Robe Store by Mahalia Coffee, Robe (@robestore.sa)

In the seaside village of Robe, those long, dreamy days of salt and sand are best bookended by a creamy coffee - and you’ll have no trouble at all finding exactly that. As the unofficial flag-bearer of all things caffeinated, it’s hard to go past Mahalia Coffee to score a decent fix. Whether you’re kicking back on the deck with an aromatic espresso, moka pot (maybe even a plunger?), browsing the gift shop, feasting on homemade cakes or even just buying fresh beans, this place is a temple to those in the know.

Not far away, The Attic House is not only one of this character-laden town's Heritage-listed buildings, but is also known for its creamy coffees and sticky buns, with aq range of other gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan options to wash down in their treat cabinet.

If you’re keen to mix it up, the Union Café is also great go-to’s for cappuccinos and a bite, with heated outdoor spaces and gardens where kiddos and doggos are welcome. You’ll also find a fantastic ‘build your own breakfast’ and single origin Campos coffee, ensuring a full-bodied, rich cappuccino. Oh, and if coffee isn’t the only fuel needed to kick start your day, there’s even a range of breakfast cocktails if you’re keen to spice things up a little!

Union Cafe, Robe
Union Cafe, Robe (Union Cafe)
Waterfront Cafe, Beachport
Waterfront Cafe, Beachport (Waterfront Cafe)

Blends in Beachport.

Following the coast to the sun-kissed shores of Beachport, a stroll along the iconic Beachport Jetty is never complete without a hot coffee in hand, and at 772 metres (the second longest in the State), you’d best consider a large one! Pouring perfect brews, breakfast and lunch daily is the Waterfront Café at the Jetty, where the Southern Ocean laps gently onto the sand down below. With killer views and the best caffeine, croissants and scones in town, the awesome Susan Wilson Memorial Playground is also right next door, with an array of maritime-based equipment that’ll have little sailors running wild.

Kickstart in Kingston.

Rolling past the legendary Big Lobster into Kingston SE, the Candy Store & Café will cure both coffee cravings and sugar rushes with a full dessert house laden with ice creams, milkshakes, waffles, pancakes and churros – plus some of the best brews in town. This place is all about inclusiveness, with their aim to bridge the gap between people with special needs and the wider community. Proudly employing locals with a disability, their connection with customers is worth its weight in gold. In fact, with a handy selection of lollies, toys, board games and trinkets, it’s impossible not to walk away with a smile on your dial after one of the most memorable cups you’ll ever enjoy.

Down the road at Bliss, you’ll also keep well caffeinated here - with bonus shopping therapy (think: homewares, fashion and educational toys for the kids). Both a café and lifestyle store, you’ll find fresh roasted Mahalia Coffee beans here, with a tempting selection of light lunches, breakfasts (including gluten free and vegan options), cakes, sweets and more. The ‘Bliss experience’ also includes free wifi, a charging station, bike parking, dog parking and a sunny alfresco area for that extra shot of vitamin D!

Bliss, Kingston SE (Google Business Profile)
Bliss, Kingston SE (Bliss, Kingston SE)
Bliss, Kingston SE
Bliss, Kingston SE (Bliss Kingston SE)

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