South Australia’s Clare Valley is home to more than 30 wineries, most of which are small and family run. Known as the home of Australian Riesling, it’s one of Australia’s oldest wine-producing areas, with a winemaking history dating back 160 years. Don’t despair if you prefer red wine, as the Clare Valley is also fast becoming known for its Shiraz and Cabernets. At the annual Clare Valley Gourmet Weekend in May you can be the first to sample the year’s vintage before the winemaking process is complete, a privilege usually reserved for the winemaker.
How to get to there
The Clare Valley is well suited for a self-drive holiday, with most visitors using their own vehicle or hiring one in Adelaide from one of the many city-based hire car companies. The Clare Valley is only 90 minutes drive from Adelaide – simply head North, leaving the city at Gepps Cross. The most direct route is to follow Port Wakefield Road onto the Northern Expressway, and then turn left onto Horrocks Highway, just after the bypass to Gawler. Alternatively, if driving from Port Augusta you could head South on the the A1 Highway and take the turnoff from Crystal Brook to Horrocks Higway, or for the scenic route, take Horrocks Pass to Wilmington, and then follow Horrocks Highway through the Southern Flinders Ranges to Clare. Use the Map to help plan your route.
The Clare Valley is perfect touring country, with diverse countryside, scenic routes and mapped trails and circuits. Having your own car will provide you with the freedom to either plan your daily route or be spontaneous, as you travel through the varied landscapes, from quaint townships, rolling vines, tree-clad hills and spectacular agricultural plains. Pick up a Visitor Guide and Map from the Clare Valley Food Wine and Tourism Centre, who will also be able to provide assistance in planning your visit, whether its following the scenic driving routes to secluded boutique wineries or exploring the more remote back roads.
Make sure to check out the National Public Toilet Map when you’re planning your trip. Most major wineries will have accessible bathrooms.
The Clare Valley is home to the famous Clare Valley Gourmet Weekend, along with the Burra Antiques and Collectables Fair. There are markets held each month in many of the towns across the region, including the Clare Valley Food, Wine and Art Market. Burra, Clare and Eudunda all host their own family-friendly annual shows, where the best of the area is on display. Many of the local wineries also offer entertainment, from outdoor theatre to musical interludes throughout the year. See here for a list of Major Events throughout the year.