McLaren Vale’s latest things to do + some of our tried and tested favourites!
McLaren Vale is one of the most extraordinary wine regions in the world. Not only is it less than an hour’s drive from a state capital, but it’s also a short hop to the sea and some of the state’s most beautiful beaches. Sometimes we can’t believe we’re so lucky to live here.
While we wholly support visitors making it their goal to pop into as many Cellar Doors as possible, there is plenty to do down here in the Fleurieu outside of the wine world.
The region’s best coffee hands-down is Goodness Coffee in Aldinga. Don’t forget to grab some of their beans to take home when you order your flat white. There are heaps of new spots popping up at the little complex off Port Road in Aldinga which are great for whiling away a morning – gift shops Little Road Studio and Sage House offer a host of local and international treats, and Miss Gladys by the Sea is great for clothes that show off your personality.
If you want to impress your green-fingered friend, you can book in for a tour at Tipsy Hill, our home in Blewitt Springs. We offer guided garden tours where you can learn all about one of South Australia’s most treasured gardens and take in the stunning views over the Vale. The garden was just named in the Adelaide Advertiser’s list of ’25 of South Australia’s most astonishing gardens’ by a team including renowned gardening expert Sophie Thomson.
Or if you want to while away the afternoon, book in for a Premium Picnic experience – which includes a grazing platter and three hour wine package, and there’s the opportunity to also add on a flower crown workshop. We also offer intimate dining experiences, where we host you for a meal of seasonal, locally-sourced produce, and you can hear tales of the Hardy family passed down the generations.
Active types might want to hire bikes from the McLaren Vale and Fleurieu Coast Visitor Centre and take a trip down the Shiraz Trail. Or if you’re feeling a little less energetic, give an ebike a go. You can even pop into some Cellar Doors along the 37km trail. Just remember cycling and alcohol don’t mix, so don’t forget to spit 😉 .
And if you’re not in the mood to plan yourself, take a look at this tour from new venture Gone AWOL. They organise a fun packed schedule of e-bikes, stand up paddle boarding, lunch and wine tasting, what better way to see the Vale!
If you want to catch some rays, go for a swim or get active near the water, there’s several spots to choose from. Unlike the city beaches, those at the Fleurieu have waves, so they’re surfer-friendly. The most picturesque has got to be Port Willunga, and is famous for the Star of Greece restaurant with breathtaking views. If you don’t have the time of funds for a slap-up meal, just grab fish and chips from the kiosk (and they’ll even let you order a glass of wine to accompany). A bit further along Port Noarlunga is great for families, you can hire snorkel equipment, scuba dive or even kayak up the Onkaparinga river.
The Fleurieu Peninsula has been attracting arty-types for decades; what can be more inspiring than beautiful beaches against a backdrop of rolling hills and vines? Aboriginal artist and Micky Barlow works from her studio in McLaren Vale. You can even book for a workshop to learn about necklace and basket weaving and some of Micky’s artworks and accessories are for sale. August is a great time to visit for culture vultures, when many wineries, cafes and other venues will be hosting exhibitions for SALA – the South Australian Living Arts festival.
We may be biased, but we don’t think there are many other pockets of the world that offer the best of food and wine, but also offer heaps for families, those that like to get active, and those that want to just chill. These are just a handful of ideas for your trip, but pop into the Pertaringa cellar door and quiz our knowledgeable staff who will be able to share the latest tips for how they spend their free time, in the birthplace of the South Australian wine industry.