A guide to the Clare Valley, South Australia
If you know me or follow me on social media you will probably already know I am a HUGE fan of Australia’s southern state (creatively named South Australia). My love affair can be boiled down to two reasons. Firstly, the food and wine is amazing. Secondly, it is god damn beautiful. Case in point, The Clare Valley.
Beautiful – check. Fun – check. Chilled – check. Loves wine – check. Yep, she sure is a box ticker.
Located only 90 minutes from Adelaide, it is the perfect place for weekend getaway or a day trip if you can convince someone to be the designated driver.
What to do:
Follow the trail:
The Clare is famous for its Riesling Trail which is a 35km path which follows a former railway line. It leads you to many of the beautiful wineries (more on those below) while revealing some of its history along the way. You can rent bikes from Riesling Trail Bike Hire and ride as much or as little as you like, but if you want to do it all I recommend you start early. Warning: I attempted this after a particularly long winter of hibernating and it was not easy! You can download a copy of map Riesling Trail Map
Go to the markets:
If you love a homemade jam, fresh baked bread or a yarn with local farmers, you’re in luck. Each Saturday there is a different market on showcasing the areas local produce. These include the Burra Market (first Saturday of the month), Clare Showground Market (second Saturday of the month), Sevenhill Producer’s Market (last Saturday of the month). To find out more, visit the market website here.
Drink wine (of course)
There are over 50 wineries in the region, many of which have cellar doors open for wine tasting. Clare Valley Map is a map of all the wineries in a region and my picks of the bunch are mentioned blow.
Where to eat & drink
This is perhaps the most important part of your trip. You will be spoilt for choice, so I have made that struggle a little easier for you.
Look up quaint in the dictionary and you will find Skillogalee there, looking old, cute and covered in flowers and vines. Book a table on the balcony where you can settle in for a long lunch while you make your way through the menu made with local produce while sipping on some of their famous wines. You will never look at carrots the same once you taste theirs which are covered in delicious dukkah.
Located in the heart of the cute little village of Watervale, Shut the Gate is a great place to go for a casual wine tasting as well as stocking up on supplies for a cheese board in their providore and deli.
As soon as you enter you can tell this place is special with a pebble drive way lined with rows of perfectly manicured hedges. Opening in 1851 to produce sacramental wine, it continues to be one of the most renowned wineries in the state.
Pikes is home to my favourite wine in the whole entire work, Pikes Riesling. Not only is the wine worth a trip, the cellar door is one of the better equipped and even has its own art gallery.
This café in the heart of Clare is a bustling little hub for locals and visitors. They start serving early and even pack a mean hamper if you’re interested in eating under the stars or amongst the vines.
Where to stay:
Skillogalee offer accommodation only a short walk from the winery and restaurant, very useful for a safe stumble home after a few wines. There are two self-contained cottages on the hill amongst the trees, and the 3 bedroom Skillogalee House, ideal for a romantic jaunt or a weekend away with friends.
All major Australian airlines fly to Adelaide throughout the day. The Clare is a 1.5-2 hour drive from Adelaide.