Top daytrips from Adelaide
Author: Lee Atkinson
The pretty hill-top scenery, vineyards, art galleries and historic towns of the Adelaide Hills make for a great day drive. The best route is a circular one, heading southeast from the city via the freeway and the Heysen Tunnels to Crafers. From there, you can drive the loop, winding up and across the top of the Mount Lofty Ranges, descending into forgotten valleys and meandering creeks towards Gumeracha before heading south to Hahndorf.
There are dozens of wineries and restaurants along the way (head for Hahndorf for German beer and food) as well as artisan cheese and chocolate makers, olive groves, strawberry farms and orchards.
Less than an hour's drive from the centre of Adelaide, the Barossa Valley is easy to explore on a day trip. The Barossa has long been famous for its red wine, but the Lutheran settlers who came here in the 1840s have left not only a legacy of beautiful churches but a bounty of wonderful small meats, sausages, preserved fruits, cheese and delicious breads, all unique to the valley.
The best way to explore the region is to start at Nuriootpa, and meander along country backroads to Seppeltsfield, Tanunda and Angaston for a pretty drive through vine-clad hills.
Practically on the outskirts of Adelaide, McLaren Vale on the Fleurieu Peninsula is a snug valley wedged between the tail end of the Mt Lofty ranges and the coast. The countryside is ridiculously scenic - a patchwork of vineyards dotted with historic stone and timber cellar door tasting rooms, waterfront restaurants overlooking long deserted beaches and grassy hills spilling into the sea over sheer rocky cliffs.
Getting there is easy - it's just a 45-minute drive from the city via the Southern Expressway (M2). But with food, wine and scenery this sublime, leaving is a little harder to do.
The Clare Valley, 90 minutes drive from Adelaide, has more than 40 wineries, all within 15 minutes of each other. All sorts of grapes are grown here, but the valley is most well-known for its riesling.
To get to Clare, head north out of Adelaide on Main North Rd to Auburn, the birthplace of CJ Dennis, of Sentimental Bloke fame and a great place to shop for good-value antiques. Spear off the main road at Penwortham and travel up through the Skilly Hills. The road is mostly unsealed, but winds through beautiful bushland and will take you past many wineries.
Goolwa, at the mouth of the Murray is an historic centre full of beautiful sandstone buildings, many of them art galleries and restaurants. Take a walk along the river's edge, past historic boatsheds and slipways where paddle steamers once docked, or head out the sand dune boardwalk for great coastal views. It's just a little over an hour's drive from Adelaide, but getting there is half the fun.
Option one is to travel via the Adelaide Hills, Strathalbyn - an attractive heritage town with 30 or so historic buildings and dozens of antique stores - and the Currency Creek wine region, but you can also get there via McLaren Vale as well. Whichever way you choose to go, you're guaranteed a great day out.