From Melbourne to Adelaide: Experience in the Coonawarra

December 11, 2023
By Patrick Cros

At the end of the Great Ocean Road, between Melbourne and Adelaide, the Coonawarra offers an interesting stopover to live an original experience in South Australia, on the Limestone Coast, famous for its picturesque old fishing ports such as Robe. Discover this region with Graziella Caruso, Head of Product at Goway Travel, during a famil organized by SATC. On the agenda: lunch at a live cattle station - that offers to taste in its restaurant some of the best meat in Australia - and quality vineyards.

Mount Gambier with its Blue Lake and historic Robe are undoubtedly the two most famous sites of this Limestone Coast region. "But it has much more to offer travelers on a road trip from Melbourne to Adelaide via the Great Ocean Road," Graziella Caruso says.

Often overlooked, Coonawarra is a beautiful wine region, famous for its vivid red soil - Terra Rossa - and its world-class wines with nearly thirty wineries, renowned among others for their Cabernet Sauvignon. Some of the best Coonawarra wineries include Wynns Coonawarra Estate, Zema Estate, Patrick of Coonawarra, and Katnook Estate.

Dinner experience at Mayura Station

Near Millicent, about fifty kilometers from Mount Gambier, "Mayura Station is an essential stop to taste one of the best meats in Australia". Home to one of the continent’s largest Full-blood Wagyu herds with over 4,000 Full-blood Wagyu cattle - renowned throughout the world as the highest quality beef-producing cattle - this authentic 6,000-acre property has a restaurant with an open-plan kitchen, where you can interact with Mayura’s in-house Head Chef, Mark Wright. "It’s an interactive experience seated around the grill where the Chef reviews the cuts of meat and cooking style while cooking in front of you," Graziella says. You can enjoy set menu 3 and 4 course dining options, utilizing the cuts of Wagyu Beef available on the day and fresh seasonal produce. "Delicious!"

Self-drive and guided tour options

"An option for travelers is to benefit from the expertise of a local tour operator, such as Coonawarra Experiences", a specialist in tailor-made tours, to discover this region accessible by car via the Great Ocean Road, or by plane with direct connections from Adelaide or Melbourne to Mount Gambier (with Rex and Qantas). Simon and Kerry, the managers, are partners with many of the local wineries, but also with Mayura Station, and know all the secret and charming places around. The couple offer day or multi-day tours, with possible accommodation in the heart of Penola, which claims to be the oldest town on the Limestone Coast and has earned a strong reputation as a center for culture and arts.

Getting to the Coonawarra and the Limestone Coast

Access to the Coonawarra and the Limestone Coast is typically via car. Bordertown at the northern end of the region is about three hours from Adelaide, while Adelaide to Mount Gambier is about 5 hours (430 kilometers). Coming the other direction from Melbourne, it’s about 5.5 hours to Bordertown or 5 hours to Mount Gambier. You also have the option of flying to Mount Gambier, with daily services via Regional Express (Rex) and Qantas from both Adelaide and Melbourne.

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