With room to roam, the expansive Clare Valley Wine region is best discovered by bike. For a unique experience in South Australia, here’s how to get the most from cycling the Riesling Trail.
Hop on the saddle (the bike saddle, that is) for wine touring on pedal power along the Riesling Trail - a breezy, easy 33km-long flat rail track that connects the charming villages of Auburn and Clare. Set your own pace and marvel at the breathtaking views, vast parks and friendly cellar doors and see what makes this one of the ultimate winery experiences in South Australia. Get started with our guide to cycling the Riesling Trail.
1. Auburn to Watervale, 10km
Strap on your helmet and hire a bike and start pedalling - you don’t have to be an athlete to get this thing done. If cycling isn’t really your thing, or you want to take it easy, e-bikes are a great easy to use option, and also available for hire in Clare. As you head south along the bitumen path, marvel as Mother Nature begins her therapeutic endeavour where blue skies are met with rolling hills lined with vineyards. Here, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to tasting world-famous Clare Valley wine. At Wines by KT, the bottles are beautifully elegant, while at Velvet & Willow, you can savour gourmet lattes and freshly baked pastries. Make a pit stop by O’Leary Walker Wines for an extraordinary lunch that specialises in local ingredients before washing it down with a refreshing glass of riesling to finish.
2. Watervale to Sevenhill, 9km
One of the most charming sections of the Riesling Trail, the journey from Watervale to Sevenhill will take you through picturesque Penwortham, where pioneering history is still evident. It was the first European settlement in Clare Valley, thanks to explorer John Horrocks, way back in 1839. Travel to the highest point of the trail and be rewarded with scenic vistas and pastoral farmland, providing a delightful backdrop to your unique experience. Cruise on into the recently renovated Watervale Hotel and indulge in six courses of pure epicurean pleasure with their farm to table degustation dining experience. Further along, nestled amongst bush and birdsong rests Skillogalle Winery and Cellar Door. If you’re looking for Clare Valley Winery Accommodation, why not book a night or two in one of the well-appointed holiday cottages here and wake up just a stone’s throw from the dew-laden trailing vines that make this riesling region so welcoming.
3. Sevenhill to Clare, 6km
Rolling toward the beating heart of Clare, enjoy a slight downhill assist – you deserve it after all of this cruising and tasting! Eucalypts surround you, and there’s no doubt that you’re on the prettiest part of the trail. For something different, satisfy your thirst with a little side trip to Pikes Beer Company and enjoy the alfresco spaces and the lush lawn. Down the road, step into the most storied Clare Valley Winery, Sevenhill Cellars where the first grapevines were planted in 1851 by Jesuit priest Father Kranewitter. Take an ever-so-slight swerve off the main trail towards the multi-award-winning Shut the Gate Wines and Cellar Door and be sure to taste their cult fave Barbera. After all that riding, take a load off (and a break from wine) at the Clare Valley Art Gallery. Aboriginal art is the focus here, and while you can browse to your heart’s content, you can also purchase something to bring home with you. Every piece here has a story and conveniently offers a delivery service so you don’t have to worry about cycling home with your purchase, or fitting it into your suitcase.
4. Clare to Barina, 8km
You’re in the home stretch now, and no matter if you’ve ridden straight through or chosen to stretch it out by taking advantage of the Clare Valley winery accommodation, there’s still more to enjoy on the wine tour. Steer your way into Mr. Mick Cellar Door and Kitchen, undoubtedly one of the most splendid in the region, and nibble on tapas-style dining or gourmet snacks while you try a tasting paddle of five different wines from the extensive selection. After you’ve had your fill, peek in on the Gleeson Wetlands and walk around the tranquil White Hut Cemetery before steering your way to the official end of the trail.
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