Devouring the Limestone Coast
Caledonian Inn, Robe (Mark Fitzpatrick)

Devouring the Limestone Coast

Last Updated June 22, 2022

Just you, your bestie(s) and an appetite for adventure…

Good times and great wines go hand in hand, and if your local bottle-o is as close as you’ve been to a Coonawarra Cab Sav then it’s time to take your taste buds on holiday.

But before setting your out-of-office and disappearing into vino utopia, you’ll also want to loosen your belt and ditch those bathroom scales. Every kilo counts, and travelling here on your tummy shouldn’t be taken lightly!

Upstairs At Hollick
Upstairs At Hollick, Coonawarra

More than a mouthful.

Sure, wetting your whistle comes pretty easy around here. This is hallowed ground, and the rich soils of wine country are laced with legends who’ve been plying their trade for generations. If you’re keen to dig a little deeper (and maybe even get your hands dirty) there’s a barrel-load of possibilities around every corner.

Pull up a chair for Hollick Estate’s ‘Immerse Yourself’ experience and you’ll sit down with the maker for a fully guided wine flight before an epic degustation lunch in their restaurant, Upstairs – where the views are just as delicious as the food!

At Di Giorgio Family Wines, tour the ancient terra rossa and 100-year-old vines before sipping from the barrel and feasting on Nonna’s meatballs. Oh, and how about a pasta making lesson and lunch with the family? Prego!

At Raidis Estate, a long lunch with winemakers includes a guided tasting, while their amazing vineyard dinner is totally next-level, with four sumptuous courses served under starry skies and matched to top-notch vino.

Down the road at Wynns Estate, frustrated winemakers can live their dream with the Make Your Own Blend experience, where after making your own drop from select parcels of Cabernet, Shiraz and Merlot you’ll also snag a personalised bottle to take home.

At Bellwether Wines, there’s always something to dig your teeth into, from private tours and tastings to making their famous sourdough and even helping in the garden – where you’ll bag an armful of organic goodies for your next meal. Budding vignerons can also combine glamping with grapes over one huge week of hands-on vintage action in March.

Of course, we all know driving’s just a drag, so there’s no better excuse to leave the keys at the hotel and join a private Coonawarra Experiences wine tour. Along the way, you’ll unravel the riches of the region while setting your own pace, meeting local vignerons, tasting incredible tipple and feasting on local knowledge.

Food, glorious food!

Shelve your diet plan. We’re home to some of the most sought-after produce in the country, and if you’re keen to find the fat of the land there’s lots to devour in between drinks...

At Pipers of Penola you’ll find some of the best chefs in the country. This Coonawarra icon is a mecca for foodies nationwide, dishing up anything from local lamb and roast Jerusalem artichoke tortellini to seared whiting and Coffin Bay oysters. For something more casual, take a stroll to The Royal Oak Penola, whose locavore line-up will have you back for seconds.

Mayura Station
Mayura Station (SATC)

The legendary Mayura Station is home to the nation’s only full-blood Wagyu beef, and a genuine culinary celebrity in every sense. Feeding their highly prized cattle a high-fat diet of anything from chocolate and jellybeans to lollies and biscuits, the end result is a paddock-to-plate dining experience that’ll take you straight to carnivore heaven.

Meat freaks (and their less carnivorous friends) will also love The Barn Steakhouse in Mount Gambier for it’s menu of grain-fed goodness and over 700 different wines. Better still, it’s just a short stagger to their stylish on-site accommodation, making reaching for that second (okay, third…) bottle all the more palatable.

On the coast you’ll find all things aquatic, with Robe’s classy Sails Restaurant dishing it up in style. If you’re after a Southern Rock Lobster caught fresh this morning, this is the spot to do it, or for something more low-key just ‘do as the Robe locals do’ and visit Sky Seafoods to bring home the catch-of-the-day. Beachport’s The Lobster Pot also dishes up local crustaceans either fresh-cooked or live, but really... how about a Build-Your-Own Lobster sandwich or picnic box to take away? Twist our arm.

Land Of Tomorrow Wines, Coonawarra Experiences Vineyard Lunch
Land Of Tomorrow Wines, Coonawarra Experiences The Chapel Studio

Consume by the calendar.

Of course, this is the land of plenty so our culinary calendar also tips the scales. With a smorgasbord of local wine events we'll keep you well fed and watered across the seasons.

Some of the more notable ones to plan for include the official Coonawarra Vignerons showcases, namely Coonawarra After Dark (April), Coonawarra Cellar Dwellers (July) and Coonawarra Cabernet Celebrations (October).

A few local wineries are also known to turn it on, so just keep an eye on their socials. Raidis Estate’s Pizza and Tunes day is a staple throughout the year!

For more salt, vines and good times it’s also worth a trip to the Mount Benson and Robe wine regions for the Cape Jaffa Food and Wine Festival (January), where you’ll wash down some of the area’s most succulent local seafood with regionally distinct wines.

If you’re after something truly unique, hop on board with Coonawarra Experiences for a gastronomic gallop through Wrattonbully Wine Region.

After salivating over your window-seat views, sit down to a private wine tasting session under the gums at Land of Tomorrow Wines with local families that have made this patch of terroir their home for generations before a lavish lunch at Bellwether in Coonawarra.

Alright. Food coma. Where to stay?

You’ve drunk all the wine and eaten all the food. Okay fat stuff, let’s finish what you started! At the end of a day’s gluttony there’s a comfy bed with your name on it, and some of the very best options start in the vines…

With panoramic vineyard views, sun-drenched timber floors and wall-to-wall glass, Coonawarra’s Punters Vineyard Retreat just oozes class and character. With four luxurious bedrooms and all the mod-cons, this is a place to bring your mates, or just soak in a romantic rendezvous.

Delgattie Estate Mount Gambier
Delgattie Estate Mount Gambier (Zoe Wighton)

Down the road, The Menzies Retreat is perched in a sea of vines, with Yalumba’s equally tasty Menzies Wine Room conveniently on site (open by appointment) while Highbank Vineyards’ Honeysuckle Rise Cottage is surrounded by grapes and gums, with a separate two-level Villa kitted out with a commercial kitchen for true gourmands.

How about a million-star hotel? Sure, we’ve got you covered.

The amazing Bellwether Wines isn’t just plonked in the heart of Coonawarra wine country, it’s also home to some pretty amazing glamping tents to cosy up in after a big day of indulgence. Drift off to the crackle of the campfire and rise to the chatter of birds before hopping back in the saddle at the adjoining cellar door.

So you’re not a camper? That’s cool. Let’s try settling into a grand country manor instead. Mount Gambier’s super-refined and ultra-luxurious Delgattie Estate delivers boutique elegance that few other places can match. With cushy cribs and stellar city views, you’ll also score a private dining hall and billiard lounge just to dial up the decadence.

If you’re keen on the coast, it’s hard to go past Robe Lifestyle Properties whose chic holiday houses range from total beachfront luxury to quirky little retreats, each with their own distinct personality. With over thirty houses in the portfolio, expect stunning décor, the very best views and luxe furnishings to match even the pickiest traveller’s tastes.

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