Coonawarra: The first stop.

There is something special about wine regions – and while it includes easy access to fabulous drops -it’s something much more than that.

Coonawarra; with its beautiful scenery and friendly, community orientated vibe, was a perfect place to spend our first few nights on the road.

Unfortunately, we arrived thinking it might be one of only a few stops on our trip. Driving the few hundred kilometres it took to get here while battling a headwind and with everything we own either in the car or being towed behind it, we were using upwards of 25 litres of diesel per 100 kilometres!

By the time we stopped for fuel for the second time in two hours, we were panicking. We couldn’t afford to be using this much fuel.

While in Coonawarra, we spent some time reshuffling our load. Once we removed the bikes from the roof of the car, instead placing them on the roof rack of the camper, we were set to keep moving until something more restorative was able to be done.

We stayed at the Coonawarra Bush Park relying on our solar panels and batteries for power, it was two nights that we spent in paradise.

While we were there, we walked the recently completed Wineries Walking Trail, visited the town of Penola and just generally enjoyed our new lifestyle.

Now, heed our warning: Coonawarra is a winery region situated on one loooong road, and (outside of the Winery Walking Trail) it’s near impossible to casually wander between wineries. Which means that you’ll need to find either a designated driver or another transport method. Thankfully, the Coonawarra Bush Park offered dog-friendly lifts to and from many different wineries, which is convenient and kind, but was expensive. We decided to splurge and take up their kind offer, but if you can find another way I’d suggest doing so.

The little township of Penola is super cute and worth a stroll through. It also is home to the Koonara Cellar Door, all their wines are vegan and I had a bit too much fun there!

One problem we quickly encountered was the cold.

If you’re like us and from the coast, its hard to imagine enjoying a spectacular day and then being plunged into negative temperatures as soon as the sun sets. The luxury of stable temperatures (albeit cold ones in our part of the country) from having an ocean nearby doesn’t exist in inland areas, and as we attempted to run our diesel heater to warm the camper up we found it had been the first victim of the road.

Lesson #1: Always carry extra layers and blankets…

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