Travel south from Adelaide along the scenic Southern Expressway for a mere 45 minutes and you’ll find yourself among some of South Australia’s most picturesque landscapes.
The Fleurieu Peninsula enjoys a stellar (and well-deserved) reputation for it’s beauty – rugged coastline with white sand beaches, lively wetlands, sprawling hinterlands properties and ample wildlife. But perhaps its biggest draw are its wine regions; the star, of course, being the renowned McLaren Vale.
More than 70 cellar doors comprise this gorgeous expanse of wine country with a huge array of family friendly café’s and restaurants. Whether you’re looking to spend a weekend at one of the region’s luxurious retreats, dine on fresh and skilfully-prepared produce, or try a drop of the region’s finest wines, there’s something in McLaren Vale for everyone.
Wineries and Cellar Doors in McLaren Vale
You can’t go to McLaren Vale and not visit the world famous d’Arenberg Cube. Designed by Chester Osborne in 2003 to reflect the puzzles of winemaking – the stunning five storied building is nestled among Mourvèdre vines. Each level has been carefully designed to entice the senses featuring an art gallery, wine sensory room, virtual 360 video room, restaurant, private function areas and bar for wine tasting. Indulge in a unique and unforgettable experience.
Another favourite, Coriole’s original homestead was built in 1850 and now produces multi-award-winning estate-grown wines, particularly Shiraz and has more recently established a stunning range of Mediterranean wines. The lovely Gather Restaurant has a seasonal focused menu featuring local produce and its own garden to create a relaxed grazing menu.
With breathtaking views over the rolling McLaren Vale hills, Maxwell Wines is set in a stunning Limestone building amongst a sprawling estate.
Another favourite is Beresford Wines, who offer three fabulous tasting experiences on their elegant Tasting Pavilion. Established in 1985 in the heart of McLaren Vale, Beresford wines is a family-owned operation spread across a 70-acre working vineyard, producing award-winning wines of nuanced excellence. Gusts can choose from a selection of Premium Wines from the estate, locally-brewed craft beers or premium distilled spirits.
Restaurants and cafes in McLaren Vale
Red Poles Café and Restaurant features an onsite kitchen garden and art gallery surrounded by beautiful bushland and nestled in the middle of a vineyard. The gallery proudly supports and showcases South Australian Aboriginal art from both emerging and established artists.
Using fresh produce from its own garden as well as locally sourced, The Currant Shed is a culinary delight located in between stunning vineyards and lime groves – this charming restaurant is home to one of McLaren Vale’s finest menu’s.
If seafood is more your thing, look no further than the award-winning Star of Greece. Located right on the cliffs overlooking the stunning ocean views at Port Willunga try the local and succulent seafood with a glass of delicious McLaren Vale wine.
Pizzateca is a family-run Italian restaurant located in a gorgeous cottage and specialises in Neapolitan wood-fired pizza from recipes that have been passed down through generations. This is not one to miss.
Leonard’s Mill proudly creates everything from scratch and uses only locally sourced produce from family owned farms. It is set in a 160-year-old flour mill, complete with fireplace for winter and there are even two bed and breakfast cottage rooms if you would like to stay a little longer.
Undoubtedly, the best way to optimise your time in McLaren Vale is to join a locally-run tour. Adelaide Sightseeing have recently launched a new day tour that covers the very best of McLaren Vale, visiting some of the region’s top wineries with a two-course lunch at Polly’s Restaurant at the d’Arenberg Cube and plenty of time to peruse the main street of McLaren Vale. You’ll also stop in for tastings at Beresford Wines and the gorgeous Wirra Wirra Vineyards whose expansive grounds are almost as enticing as the wines on offer. Return transfers from Adelaide CBD on the comfy coach make the day a totally stress-free affair.
Find out more about the experience here.
Accommodation in McLaren Vale
The Vineyard Retreat McLaren Vale features six boutique self-contained guesthouses in the heart of the McLaren Vale wine region. Each house has its own private deck to enjoy the stunning views which surround the property. Complete with king beds, combustion fire-places, complimentary mini bar and Jacuzzi platform– the Vineyard Retreat is a luxury stay.
Connect back with nature at a Tent on a Hill – a unique glamping experience in lush bell tents with queen beds, washing facilities, private toilet and shower facilities, and board games, it’s a place the whole family can enjoy. With a fire pit for winter and complete privacy located on top of the hill, watch the stars and enjoy a glass of wine away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Coast Motel and Apartments are located in Port Noarlunga adjacent the Southport beach which you can see through the large windows and open plan living design while you relax and enjoy the sunset. There are 15 self-contained studio apartments to choose from and includes daily housekeeping, free WIFI and free onsite parking.
Hungry for more food and wine escapes in South Australia? Tempt your tastebuds here.