The Clare Valley is just an hour and a half north of Adelaide, but you might as well be a world away. With a rich cultural tapestry dating back 160 years and more than 35 cellar doors, the region is perfect for immersing yourself in the finer things in life. It’s famed for its wineries, restaurants and country pubs. Settle into a bed and breakfast within one of the valley’s historic villages, where you’ll relish the bucolic vistas and the charm of this engaging region.
See where it all began at Jesuit’s Sevenhill Cellars, founded in 1851 to produce sacramental wine and still distributing to churches across Australia and Asia. Explore the Clare Valley’s oldest winery and visit the magnificent St Aloysius Church and crypt before tasting award-winning wines at the cellar door. If you’re lucky, the charming Brother John May SJ might lead your tour.
Burra’s Mine of Information
Explore one of Australia’s most beautifully preserved towns on Burra’s Heritage Passport Trail. Armed with a guidebook and your own key, you’ll drive past 65 fascinating sites and learn why Burra was once South Australia’s copper central. The 11 kilometre route includes Redruth Gaol, the Monster Mine and “Creek Street”, where 1600 people lived in dugouts along the riverbank. The trail cost for adults is $15.00.
The Riesling Trail
Taste the delectable wines of the Clare Valley along the Riesling Trail – a 25 kilometre walking and cycling route linking world-renowned boutique wineries and towns between Auburn and Clare. The old railway line journeys through some of South Australia’s most stunning wine country and bush scenery, so be sure to look out for the natives (animals that is).
Martindale’s Hall of Fame
Return to a bygone era at Martindale Hall, the lovingly restored 1879 mansion that featured in the hit 1970s Australian film Picnic at Hanging Rock. Stay overnight in Georgian opulence before exploring the delightful historic town of Mintaro, State Heritage listed and the boyhood home of Australian poet CJ Dennis. You can also tour Martindale Hall for $7.
Burra Trail Rides: Blazing Saddles
Spend your days in the saddle and starlit nights under canvas on a Burra Trail Ride through wilderness in the northern Clare Valley. Graham Radford guarantees a friendly steed, unforgettable scenery, abundant wildlife, great bush tucker and even better banter around the campfire on his one, two or three-day trail rides.
Cellar Door Restaurants
Match fine Clare Valley wine with delicious dining in restaurants right at the cellar door. You can’t really go wrong, but a few of the best include Skillogalee, with its cottage charm and sensational regional flavours; the courtyard dining of Neagles Rock Vineyards; and the seafood and steak of Salt’n’Vines Bar & Bistro at Kirihill Estates.
Kapunda’s Cornish Charm
See where Australia’s first major mine was developed and meet the towering sculpture of Map Kernow the Cornish miner at Kapunda. Armed with a Kapunda Heritage Trail brochure, you’ll discover a town steeped in history, with elegant stone buildings and the Bagot’s Fortune mining museum. Duck into a bakery for a traditional Cornish pasty, and don’t miss Sunday lunch at the character-filled Wheatsheaf Pub, just north of town.
Gourmet Festival Pioneers
Time your visit to coincide with the Clare Valley Gourmet Weekend, one of the first events of its kind in Australia and now held every May. It’s just one of many exceptional events on the regional calendar. You’ll also find rodeos, country shows, the Gongolope season of spring activities, antique fairs and race days. Check out our events listing for all major Clare Valley events.
The riesling trail
In South Australia’s picturesque Clare Valley, visitors can stroll between wineries – or hire a bicycle. A network of regional restaurants has sprung up along the way, serving venison, duck, gourmet cheeses and other delicacies.
This premium winegrowing region is a 90 minute drive north of Adelaide. It dates back almost 160 years to when James Green, servant to the district’s pioneer John Horrocks, planted the first vines in 1842. The region’s Mediterranean climate, with dry summers and cool wet winters, suit the production of high quality riesling, chardonnay, shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, semillon and merlot wine varieties.
The Clare Valley is renowned for its rieslings – crisp, dry and refreshing. A great way to get to know them is to set out along the Riesling Trail, a 27 kilometre pathway for cyclists and walkers, built on the old railway line between Clare and Auburn. Its gentle gradients make it ideal for cyclists and walkers of all ages and levels of experience.
You can travel in either direction, choosing between about 30 wineries. A major highlight is Sevenhill Cellars, founded by Jesuit priests in the 1850s and still making great table wines and sacramental wines. Tour the St Aloysius Church and crypt before tasting award-winning wines at the cellar door. You can start your Riesling trail journey anywhere along the route, as a host of bed and breakfasts and towns are located near the pathway.
Activites and Experiences at Clare Valley
- Wine Tasting
- Food and Wine
Nearest Airport: Adelaide Airport