Gateway to 24 sq km of some of the most precious soil in the world, Penola and its vineyard showcase, Coonawarra, are famous for their ‘greats’ - great food, great wine and great Australians.
Great food and wines, of course, are synonymous with the Penola-Coonawarra and the town’s notable citizens have included poets Adam Lindsay Gordon, John Shaw Neilson and Will Ogilvie.
Another illustrious former resident was Sister Mary McKillop, founder of the Josephite Order and short-listed by the Vatican for sainthood. The beatified nun is honoured by the Rose Garden which has been planted on the site of the old stable school where she first taught. The life and times of this remarkable woman, who is remembered as a ‘saint for all Australians’, is recorded in the Woods McKillop Schoolhouse and Interpretive Centre.
To wander Penola's Petticoat Lane is to take a giant step back in time to the 1850s when simple stores sold fine linen, hand-made toys, bric-a-brac and toffees and treats.
Just north of town you can pig out on fresh fruit, vegies, locally-smoked trout and home-made jams at the Strawberry Farm.