Established in the 1840s, the townships of Penola and Coonawarra were built upon the ‘Penola Fruit Growing Colony’ now known as the world-renowned Coonawarra wine region. Along with an extensive grape and wine industry, rural land is largely used for sheep and cattle grazing, broadacre crops, horticulture and timber production. Our region is largely characterised by fertile soils, lush green grass, reliable rainfall and significant good-quality groundwater resources.
The towns central location in the region, which includes under an hours drive to stunning coastline, a 25 minute drive to the world-heritage listed Naracoorte Caves or 30 minute drive to our major regional centre of Mount Gambier makes an ideal destination to stay in comfort and explore as a destination in its own right, or for travellers driving through from Melbourne to Adelaide along the Great Ocean Road.
Steeped deep in history and the arts, nestled amongst our highly productive and picturesque landscape and home to some of the most exquisite produce and wine on the planet, Penola and Coonawarra offer visitors a busy food, music and cultural scene.
Penola is the oldest and most central town in the Limestone Coast — rich in tradition and full of hidden treasures. Discover our town’s fascinating history on our heritage walk where you can relive the days of yesteryear along the historic Petticoat Lane which includes National Trust heritage-listed cottages to explore and the St Mary MacKillop Interpretive Centre — a centre created to honour Australia’s first saint and Penola resident, St Mary MacKillop who co-founded the Congregation of the Sister of Saint Joseph with Father Julian Tension Woods.
Our historical charm marries well with an eclectic and innovative mix of cafes, galleries and boutique-style shops. With a population of 2000, artists, creatives and winemakers affectionately call Penola and Coonawarra home.
The world-renowned Coonawarra wine region adjoins the township of Penola. Our delicious wines have been made famous with thanks to our talented winemakers and the unique terra rossa soil (produced by the weathering of limestone over thousands of years and coloured by iron oxide) which influences the quality of fruit and wine flavour. Our region first started exporting wine in the late 1800s and is now referred to as Australia’s leading Cabernet Sauvignon region. Taste a drop or two and you’ll be hooked.
Coonawarra hosts award-winning restaurants and includes over 30 wineries and cellar doors with unique tasting experiences waiting to be discovered. With a multitude of regular events incorporating the arts, food and music — there is always something to do.
For the nature-lovers a visit to the Penola Conservation Park near Coonawarra or Penola’s Greenrise Recreation Reserve on the Mount Gambier side of Penola is a must. Stroll around the arboretum trail of 1.2km showcasing 110 species of trees before linking up to the Adam Lindsay Gordon Walk around the dry lake and cemetery.
There’s something for everyone of all ages in Penola and Coonawarra. See you soon!