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Just over one hour’s drive from Adelaide, McLaren Vale on the Fleurieu Peninsula is a popular wine region with more than 70 cellar doors at your fingertips.
You can jump on a bike and follow the Shiraz Trail or enjoy a long lunch along the famous McMurtrie Mile wine strip and take in some of the local artists’ fine work.
Food and drinks
Treat yourself at the multi-award winning family owned and run Scarpantoni Estates wines cellar door. Scarpantoni Estates boast a variety of premium wines and liqueurs, produced with passion and experience.
Dotted along the McMurtrie Mile are five highly-praised wineries and breweries that value good friendship and high quality produce. Immerse yourself in the land of fine wines as you hop from Hugh Hamilton Wines, home of the unique black sheep experience, to Wirra Wirra where you will be bowled over with ‘The 12th Man’. Settle in at Red Poles with a paddle of the marvelous Vale Ale, or sit back and sip on their award winning Brick Kiln Shiraz. And finally the glorious Sabella Vineyards to taste the well match marriage of experienced viticulture and fine winemaking.
Above: d'Arenberg Cube [Pic: South Australian Tourism Commission]
D’Arenberg Food and Wine Experience are the creators of the newly opened d’Arenberg Cube. Take in the sweeping lawns and landscaped vistas through the 360-degree glass windows as you embark on a sensory journey. Known for their fine wines and gourmet food, D’Arenberg have created an experience with the best of food and wine in a beautiful setting.
Chef Karena Armstrong’s drive to always learn more captures the effervescent flair of The Salopian Inn. The menu consists of ingredients from local producers and high-quality, humane farms. The restaurant boasts an impressive list of 230 different gins from around the globe and Australia, as well as a tasting menu to showcase the best flavours the region and kitchen can offer.
Feed your hunger with a difference? The Green Room is an organic vegetarian café on High Street, Willunga with lots of vegan and gluten free options. The Farm Willunga is another certified organic café with a conscience, serving up gourmet paddock-to-plate delights. Or enjoy the contemporary country vibe at one of two Home Grain Bakery’s nearby locations, McLaren Flat or Aldinga. It’s no surprise they use locally-sourced ingredients, and great news for gluten free and vegetarian friends - they have you covered.
Above: Star of Greece Restaurant [Pic: South Australian Tourism Commission]
Star of Greece is a clever combination of fresh seafood, Mediterranean flavours and quality, local produce. Taking its name from the Star of Greece shipwreck not far from the restaurant, this Port Willunga favourite serves up a gastronomic adventure to savour – best experienced with friends.
You know you’ve met a South Australian if they are making grand proclamations about FruChocs. What better way to taste an iconic South Australian treasure than to stop in at the Menz FruChos Shop on Main Road, McLaren Vale? Speaking of tasting South Australia, the delicacies that can be found in the Kangarilla Creamery are angelic thanks to the expert creations of cheesemaker Alison Laffer. Paired with fine wines from the local wine region, this is an ingenious location for a mid-afternoon snack.
Things to see and do
Withdraw into the beauty of the Gemtree Wetlands Eco Trail in McLaren Flat, and discover first hand over 50 thousand native flora, located within the Gemtree Wines Vineyard. The Buttery family, owners and winemakers at Gemtree, dedicated ten hectares of their land to preserve the natural ecosystems, biodiversity and sustainability of the land.
Explore The Almond Train, McLaren Vale, set in a 1920’s train carriage brimming with old-world character. This one-stop regional produce boutique showcases gourmet local produce and boasts the largest range of flavoured almonds in South Australia.
For another glimpse of history, you can examine the shipwrecked remains of the Ida on the beach at Port Willunga, wrecked en route to the eastern states from Port Adelaide in 1857. Although only parts of the brig remain, in low tide you can walk to it.
With such a beautiful landscape it’s no wonder art is big throughout the Fleurieu Peninsula. The Fleurieu Arts and Culture Guide will help you explore some of the studios and galleries across this artistic region.
Ride the eight kilometre Shiraz Trail along the old railway line between Willunga and McLaren Vale. The flat, straight bitumen path is suitable for family bike rides, keen cyclists and walkers. If you're up for it, the trail continues another 24 kilometres north to Marino Rocks as part of the Coast to Vines Rail Trail. Packing light? Spinway Bikes can be hired from Serafino Wines.
Hop on your bike, scooter, or roller blades and enjoy the ocean views from the Esplanade hugging the Fleurieu’s coast. Enjoy a pit stop and feel the sand between your toes while enjoying a refreshing ice-cream in hand.
Spend the afternoon swimming, building sandcastles, collecting shells and body surfing at nearby Moana Beach. A littler further down the coast at Sellick’s Beach and Silver Sands you can drive onto the beach. At low tide, the firm sand makes it possible for all types of cars to drive on the beach. This is a popular beach, so drive slowly and look out for kids, dogs and low-flying frisbees!
Beach culture is embedded in the Fleurieu Peninsula. Surfers jog down to the water each morning with boards under their arms. Families walk along the sand collecting shells and constructing sandcastles. Join in another favourite beachside tradition and grab some fish and chips as you watch the sun set over the ocean.