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Coonawarra Rail Trail

South Aust. Regional

3.6 based on 7 reviews
Location: 360km south east of Adelaide
Length: 19 km
Surface: Sealed
Start / End: Penola to Coonawarra Region
Public Transport: Coach
Suitable for:
  • Cycling – Mountain BikesCycling – Mountain Bikes
  • Cycling – Touring and Hybrid BikesCycling – Touring and Hybrid Bikes
  • PramsPrams
  • WalkingWalking
  • WheelchairsWheelchairs

  • Rail Trail
  • On Road
  • Potential RT
  • Other Trail
  • Former Railway
View Map
  • The rail trail passes through a 15 km by 2 km strip of terra rossa soil that produces some of the world’s finest cabernet sauvignon. Many wineries are located within 20 km of Coonawarra township and along the rail trail.
  • The trail will extend the Aussie Camino Trail that connects Portland (VIC) to Penola in recognition of Saint Mary of the Cross Mackillop and Father Julian Tenison Woods.
  • It is close to Naracoorte Caves (SA’s only UNESCO World Heritage site) and the Ramsar wetland sites of Bool and Hack Lagoons

Nearby Attractions

  • Coonawarra Wine Region
  • Historic Penola
  • The Aussie Camino Trail
  • Naracoorte Caves
  • Bool and Hack Lagoons

Last updated: 28 April 2024

Coonawarra Rail Trail runs for 19 km through the Coonawarra Wine Region, past vineyards and wine cellars, some dating from 1890.

The sealed trail begins in Penola and follows the unused Wolseley to Mt Gambier rail corridor to end near Father Woods Park, home to seven sculptures depicting the lives of Father Julian Tenison Woods and Saint Mary of the Cross Mackillop.

Limited bike and e-bike hire is available in the area.

There is a good range of accommodation and dining options in Penola and throughout Coonawarra.



Section Guides

Penola to Coonawarra Siding (10.5km)

The trail starts near the Riddoch Street rail crossing in the southwest part of Penola. It can also be accessed at the Robe Rd and Jessie St crossings.

The old station building is now a well maintained private residence.

After passing through the old rail yards and station precinct, it crosses the Riddoch Highway on the northern edge of town.

Penola to Coonawarra is dead straight, passing through a mix of vineyards and grazing properties.

There are no steep or dangerous sections, but take care at road crossings.

Side Trail – Coonawarra Siding to Coonawarra (1.3km)

At Coonawarra Siding, turn right onto Memorial Drive. The small village of Coonawarra is an easy ride on the sealed road-side trail. There are several food options including the Coonawarra Store, as well as a number of wineries close by. There is a shady park with toilets and playground near the end of the road-side trail.

Coonawarra Siding to Glenroy – Bool Lagoon Rd (8.5km)

Heading north from Coonawarra Siding, the trail is again almost dead straight through to its present end at the Glenroy to Bool Lagoon Road, passing through vineyards and grazing country.

Side Trail – Glenroy – Bool Lagoon Rd to Father Woods Park (7.0km)

At the trail end, turn right onto the sealed road and follow 3.3km to the Riddoch Hwy. Turn left onto the highway and proceed 3.7km north to Father Woods Park.

Exercise great caution on the Riddoch Hwy section due to traffic volumes and highway speeds. Not recommended for children or inexperienced riders.

E-bike Hire information Coonawarra Discovery

Bike Hire information Must at Coonawarra

Do you know of a bike hire or transportation service on this rail trail that should appear here? If so, let us know at admin@railtrails.org.au.

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7 reviews of “Coonawarra Rail Trail”

The 19km long Coonawarra Rail Trail travels north of Penola, mostly in a very straight line, while passing vine yards. For most of the time the paved surface still has the rails visible, along with most other rail infrastructure, which adds to its charm.

However there is no signage or information boards along the trail. While the trail just randomly ends, among vine yards, with the abandoned rail line continuing north.

It feels like it's just a bike path which could be anywhere, rather than a rail trail which I presume has some history to this area.

Also in Spring, there are a few magpies to watch out for.

Hopefully one day it can be extended so it actually goes somewhere.

Very flat & absolutely straight! Great bitumen surface. A pleasant ride past the vineyards but a bit boring after a while. Well away from the highway so very quiet.
No cellar doors along the trail. – you need to get across to the main road to find these.
Can be pretty windy & trail is quite exposed.

Really wonderful scenery, riding through vineyards and paddocks, and very interesting to see people at work tending the vines. The trail is well sealed albeit a bit bumpy at the Penola end once you have crossed the Riddoch highway. We took the side trail off to Coonawarra and enjoyed some great food and wine. Just check the wind before you go we had a great tail wind on the way out but oh goodness it was a shocker on the way back!!

Lovely ride with the wife and Dog. The section between Coonawarra and the end is fantastic and smooth. The section between Penola and Coonawarra is a little bumpy and the rails are sticking through the surface, I think the surface has sunk a little and the rails are exposed and the sleepers cause a bumpy ride at times

Perfect trail through vineyards and farmland. Easily accessible. Hopefully the trail will be extended towards Naracoorte or Mount Gambier in the future.

We rode on October 22 long weekend. What at great trail (even with a few magpies :). A massive shout out to those involved in its construction – well sealed, fenced and signposted. 10m of climbing end to end and yes, dead straight.
Will be back next time to include some of the amazing wineries there!

Background Information

Traditional owners

We acknowledge the Pinejunga people, the traditional custodians of the land and waterways on which the rail trail will be built.

Development and future of the rail trail

The Coonawarra Rail Trail was constructed during 2021/22, opening in November 2022.

It is intended to eventually connect with a proposed Naracoorte Caves trail, creating a 50 km trail between Penola and Naracoorte and providing a mix of wine tourism and bush trail along back roads, around wetlands and through conservation parks.

Rail line history

The railway line from Wolseley to Mount Gambier was originally part of South Australian Railways (SAR) narrow gauge network, converted later to broad gauge. Opened in stages from 1881, it reached Mount Gambier in 1887 and connected with the broad-gauge Adelaide-Melbourne line at Wolseley.

Passenger services to Adelaide ended in December 1990, and the line officially closed in April 1995. Some of the line was used by the Limestone Coast Railway tourist service, but this ceased operations in June 2006.

Coonawarra Rail Trail in South Australia now Open

Posted: 05/11/22

November Update The rail trail opened with a well attended family event at Coonawarra on ...


The Coonawarra Rail Trail is taking shape

Posted: 25/02/22

The Wattle Range Council is making good progress with the construction of the Coonawarra Rail ...


Full steam ahead for the Coonawarra Rail Trail

Posted: 26/01/22

Construction on the 20km rail trail through the Coonawarra Wine Region in South Australia commenced ...

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