By Lauren Ferrone
Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2019
With some of the world’s oldest vines and more than 700 wineries and counting, there’s no denying South Australia bottles some of the best drops. However, far from the Barossa Valley’s bold reds and Clare Valley’s renowned Rieslings, there are lesser-known grape-growing areas proving big in their own right.
Mount Benson, Limestone Coast
Known for much more than a 17-metre tall red lobster, many of the vines in this region are planted in distinctive terra rossa soil above limestone, which formed over millions of years while the area was underwater.
This fertile soil structure is known for producing some of the best drops of red because it regulates the water supply to the vines. For evidence of this, head to Cape Jaffa Wines (pictured at top), whose owners grow their fruit in biodynamic vineyards. Don’t leave without wandering around the massive veggie patch or saying hi to the winery’s resident sheep.
Adventurers who’ve sipped their way through the region and want to explore further afield can visit the World Heritage-listed Naracoorte Caves – known as one of the world’s most important fossil sites.
It’s believed ancient species fell through a hole in the ground and were trapped. Don’t let that scare you off – this beautiful part of the region is much safer than it was half a million years ago.
DO: Drive 20 minutes out of town to Kingston SE and climb the 122 stairs to the top of Cape Jaffa Lighthouse, which is open only during school holidays or by appointment.
Located on the esplanade amidst houses and quaint holiday shacks, it’s one of the best ways to see the town from a different perspective. In fact, you’ll get a 360-degree view, and on a guided tour you can even hear stories about the families who once lived here.
TASTE: Try the new gluten-free vegetarian sausage rolls at Aggie’s Place, a café just a little more than a kilometre from the Cape Jaffa Lighthouse.
STAY: Camp out among the vineyards at Coonawarra Bush Holiday Park’s glamping tents after a day sampling what the region has to offer. Pitched halfway between Mount Gambier and Naracoorte, the tents are decked out with heaters, aircon, TVs and even beds. RAA members save 10% when they book a stay here.