When it comes to South Australia’s wine districts, McLaren Vale and the Barossa Valley may attract the most attention. However, we’ll let you in on a little secret. The quiet Clare Valley is a world-class culinary and wine destination, with over 50 cellar doors and vineyards going back to the 1840s.
For many, the first visit will be to try some of the region’s most renowned riesling. But what good is a glass of wine without a companion? Long winery lunches are the norm, with locals taking great delight – and rightfully so – in the quality and freshness.
In the Clare Valley, take some time to reconnect with nature. A strangely attractive bubble-gum pink lake, extraordinarily old fossilized megafauna remnants, and a distant wilderness with fading grey-green trees and saltbush await your discovery.
Clare Valley’s Best Attractions
Breweries and wineries
Sevenhill Cellars, Clare Valley’s first winery, offers estate-grown wine and snacking platters and tours of ancient landmarks,, including St Aloysius Church. On the family-owned Pikes Estate, Pikes Wines has riesling, while Pikes Beer Company has beers. At Sevenhill, beer lovers may visit Jeanneret Wines and Clare Valley Brewing Co. The easiest way to visit the profusion of cellar doors along the 35-kilometer Clare Valley Riesling Trail is to rent a bike.
Attractions and activities
Visit the lavish Georgian-style Martindale Hall and the historic mining village of Burra to learn about almost 150 years of European settlement. Clare Valley Gourmet Weekend has been renamed Clare Valley SCA Gourmet Week, and the fall program has been expanded even more. Auburn Frenchfest takes place in the spring. Visit Clare Valley Art Gallery and Arts Collective Clare Valley for some inspiration. Children and adults alike can enjoy getting lost in Mintaro Maze’s hedges.
Nature and strolls
When visiting Red Banks Conservation Park, one of Australia’s richest megafauna locations, look for old fossilized bones. Take a trip through Spring Gully Conservation Park to see the Cascades and lunch amid the spring wildflowers. Gazing at the stunning colors of Adelaide’s nearest pink lake, Lake Bumbunga, is also an amazing experience.
Accommodation in Clare Valley
Hotel rooms and motels
The award-winning Clare Valley Motel offers cheap, relaxing accommodations with a delightful saltwater pool. Another mid-priced choice is Clare Valley Cabins, which offers a pet- and family-friendly stay in the wilderness. Golf and other recreational amenities are available at the Clare Country Club resort. Skillogalee House is a four- to five-star self-contained winery lodging connected to the Skillogalee Restaurant.
Caravan, camping, and vacation parks
On a limited budget for camping? In the Clare Valley, there are free camping and contribution sites at Eudunda Caravan Park and Red Banks Conservation Park. The kid-friendly option provides a little additional comfort. Parks of Discovery Clare Valley is near Clare and offers tent and trailer camping and multi-bedroom cottages. The dog-friendly Burra Caravan and Camping Park feature 32 self-contained miners’ cottages and electrical sites.
Choose something new at Bukirk Glamping, which offers a combination of rustic-style small cottages and elegant tents for adults only. The eco-friendly Pink Lake Tiny House (which you can reserve on Airbnb) with porch views over Bumbunga is another miniature-sized choice. Trestrail Cottage is a charming ‘for two only’ cottage hidden in the Spring Gully Conservation Reserve’s forest. The self-contained, heritage-listed cottages at Bungaree Station provide a delightful historic stay. The Clare Valley Heritage Retreat offers bed and breakfast in, a wonderfully renovated 1860s cottage.
Clare Valley eateries and restaurants
Start your day at the Little Red Grape with a full bakery breakfast, or go to Burra’s snug, busy St Just Cafe. But don’t overdo it, since there are some delicious alternatives available around lunchtime. Tapas-style eating is available at Mr. Mick’s Cellar Door and Kitchen. Stop by the Shut the Gate Provedore Store to stock up before relaxing in the sun if you’re planning a picnic.
The award-winning Bush DeVine Cafe at Paulett Wines is inspired by bush tucker, with a lengthy vineyard lunch menu using foraged, local, and cultivated native products. The Slate Restaurant at Pikes Wines serves wonderful native delicacies, including kangaroo tartare and local Gawler River fowl, for another exceptional meal.
For supper, Terroir Auburn’s seasonally sourced cuisine is difficult to beat. At the same time, Conner’s Restaurant’s views over Lake Inchiquin are only rivaled by its fresh produce, entirely Clare Valley wine selection, and a post-dinner nightcap at Conner’s Bar.
Seed Clare Valley offers a deli by day, a restaurant by night, and a rooftop bar that serves wood-fired pizza for casual beverages and cuisine. Do you have a craving for high-quality pub fare? The cuisine of the Rising Sun Hotel includes everything from traditional tavern food to fusion meals made using South Australian ingredients.
How to Get to Clare Valley
The Clare Valley is slightly over 140 kilometers from Adelaide’s CBD and takes an hour and 45 minutes. You may either drive or take a tour to get there. The Yorke Peninsula Coach service runs three excursions between Adelaide and Clare each week. All of Australia’s main cities have flights to Adelaide, the capital of South Australia. There are several automobile rental alternatives available from the airport.
Clare Valley’s best time to visit
The Clare Valley’s Mediterranean climate sees temperatures hover around 30°C in the summer, with pleasant coastal breezes and dramatic temperature dips at night. Temperatures drop below 14°C in the winter, with overnight lows around 3°C. Frosty – but all the better for a basement door fire. Spring is a good option for a safe transition (coincidentally, when the unmissable Clare Valley SCA Gourmet Week is on).
Clare Valley tours and packages
For many, booking that much-anticipated wine tour will be a top priority while visiting this producer’s area. Clare Valley Wine Trips offers private groups bespoke tours between cellar doors and 4WD hiking and cycling activities.
Clare Valley Tours offers wine tours and excursions to learn about the history of early European settlements. The Clare Valley Experience includes a local driven tour of the vineyards and optional extras like a morning bike excursion along the Riesling Trail.