The recent trip to Adelaide was my 3rd trip and I thought it is time to explore beyond the city of Adelaide. Although I am not a wine lover or connoisseur, I never decline a glass of good wine especially if it is sweet and fruity.
While Australia produces some really good red and white wine, we discovered there is an area in Clare Valley that produces Riesling wine. Since I have a preference for sweet wine, Clare Valley is definitely on my must-visit list on the trip.
Driving 2 hours (130 km) towards north of Adelaide, you will reach Clare Valley, one of Australia’s oldest wine regions. We don’t want to do the usual cellar hopping in a car, like everyone else. Instead we hop onto a bicycle to explore The Riesling Trail. This is a 36 kilometres long walking and cycling track. Named after the grape and wine variety that the region is famous for, the Riesling Trail travels past many cellar doors and other visitor attractions, making it ideal for those who want a leisure walk. It is suitable for recreational walkers as well as wheelchairs and pushers, and cyclists of all ages.
The Riesling Trail traversing the Clare Valley wine region, is one of the first rail-trails to be developed in South Australia. The trail is open all year round although the ideal times to visit are Spring (Sep to Nov) and Autumn (Mar to May) seasons. You can cycle the entire trail in 2.5 hours, depending on your speed and number of break stops. There are numerous loop trails that allow users to return to their starting point without travelling over old ground.
We picked up our bicycles and armed with a map and some navigation tips from the bike shop owner, we headed onto the trail. About 20 minutes into our ride, we reached the first wine cellar. After enjoying a glass or two, we continued our journey. We are mindful on the effects of too alcohol consumption, so we like to reserve our consumption to try the other cellars’ wine. While it is a refreshing activity to experience wine tasting (cellar hopping) and riding at the same time for the adults, we must “Drink & Ride” responsibly.
It was a week day when we visited and the area was quiet. It does make the cycling experience more pleasurable as there were not many cyclists and not many cars. We could make stops as and when we prefer, stay in the area as long as we like to take pictures and enjoy the vineyards and its cellars.
We made a stop at Skillogalee Winery and had lunch. The food was really good and they even have a kid’s menu. We almost didn’t want to hit the trail again after the delicious lunch! As time is running late, we made our way back after lunch.
The trail is mostly unsealed and certain parts of the routes require you to cross 2-way roads and railway track. The route is adequately marked although it can be done better as we almost got lost at one point on our way back. We would classify the trail as grade 3.
If you have an extra day, it is recommended to visit Clare Valley in 2 days 1 night, staying over in one of those lovely accommodations in the region. This way, you can explore the Riesling trail more leisurely and drive around the next day visiting other parts of the Clare Valley.