McLaren Vale

McLaren Vale, SA. © South Australia Tourism

McLaren Vale

McLaren Vale is the birthplace of the South Australian wine industry and home to some of the world’s oldest grape vines. McLaren Vale boasts around 65 wineries, mostly boutique-sized. About 270 independent grape growers can also be found here. Visit weekend farmer’s markets and pack your picnic hamper with fresh bread, cheese, olives and fruit or linger over lunch in a picturesque vineyard restaurant. Walk, cycle or horse ride along the Shiraz Trail, which follows an old railway line from McLaren Vale to Willunga. Then soak up the region’s artistic culture on one of the many driving and walking trails.

Nestled between the rolling Mount Lofty Ranges and Gulf St Vincent beaches, the McLaren Vale region is known for its impressive wines, lush regional produce and scenery. McLaren Vale is also rich in history. It is the birthplace of the South Australian wine industry and home to some of the world’s oldest grape vines. The first McLaren Vale vines were planted in 1838. Today McLaren Vale has 65 wineries, mostly boutique-sized, and all within a short distance of McLaren Vale’s main street. About 270 independent grape growers can also be found here.

McLaren Vale’s Mediterranean climate has created ideal conditions for grape-growing. Shiraz is the most important variety grown in the region, accounting for about half of the area’s production. The climate and soil produce intense flavoured fruit and wine with a deep purple colour that can last decades in the bottle. The region also specialises in chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and grenache, as well as merlot, sauvignon blanc and riesling. In between tastings, meet the winemakers or take a guided behind-the-scenes tour.

Visit Chapel Hill which takes its name from the historic ironstone chapel built on the property in 1865. d’Arenberg still uses traditional winemaking methods and its Verandah Restaurant is one of South Australia’s most highly awarded.

Pack your picnic hamper with fresh bread, cheese, olives and fruit or linger over lunch in a picturesque vineyard restaurant. Head to nearby Willunga, where the weekend Farmer’s Market sells artisan breads and cakes, relishes and sauces, traditional cured and smoked meats and fresh seasonal produce. You can walk, cycle or horse ride along the Shiraz Trail, which follows an old railway line from McLaren Vale to Willunga.

After wining and dining, soak up the region’s artistic culture on one of the many driving and walking trails.

Paddle a canoe along the Onkaparinga River, South Australia’s second longest, which flows into a magnificent gorge with soaring cliffs in the Onkaparinga National Park. Along the Echidna Trail you’ll discover heritage-listed huts and ruins of houses that were built in the 1880s.

The McLaren Vale is also a great base for exploring more of the Fleurieu Peninsula, with its rich wildlife and excellent surfing, fishing and diving. Stay in holiday hamlets such as Victor Harbor, dive and snorkel with shipwrecks and leafy sea dragons in Rapid Bay or cruise the Coorong wetlands from historic Goolwa.

McLaren Vale is approximately 35 kilometres south of Adelaide.

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