Take a 300km (186mi) circle drive through the Clare Valley – one of Australia’s premium wine-growing regions – exploring historic towns that were once the lifeblood of South Australia. Perfect for adventurous honeymoon couples.
Sample fine wines at some of the numerous cellar doors, all within a 15-minute drive of each other, and taste local produce from their fine restaurants.
Discover remnants of the region's copper mining heritage in the historic towns of Kapunda and Burra, step back in time in the Heritage-listed towns of Auburn and Mintaro, enjoy panoramic views over vineyards and woods in the Skilly Hills and browse numerous galleries and antique shops found along the route.
Follow the 10km (6mi) Kapunda Heritage Trail past tunnels, open cuts and miners’ cottages at the birthplace of Australia's copper industry. Along the way get a sense of the historic richness of Kapunda as well as an understanding of the early mining industry.
Explore the old mine site and the main open-cut mine at Mine Lookout and Main Open Cut. A number of displays point out features of the mine and provide fascinating early photographs which show historic views of buildings and activity. Included in the walk is the Mine Manager's House which was built for the first mine manager, Captain Steven Osbourne, in 1867.
Standing like a sentinel on the hill above the operations, the mine chimney and lookout sit on the site of the 1842 copper ore discovery at Dutton Hill. It is still possible to see the sides of the cuttings covered in the distinctive bright green of copper washed down by the rains.
At Bagot’s Fortune Interpretative Centre a series of interpretative displays depict the lives of the early miners, including a model of a miner pushing a load of copper ore, a small mine, a miniature of the main Kapunda mining operation, an accurate recreation of an Irish workers cottage, 'Rosie's Cottage', at Kapunda in the 1840s and a scale model of a Cornish Buhl Pumping Engine as well as an audio visual presentation.
Admire the many buildings adorned with magnificent 'Kapunda lacework' and enjoy lunch at the Wheatsheaf Pub at Allendale.
Admire 'Map Kernow the Miner' on the southern edge of town – this 8m (26ft) high statue was constructed – on the Thiele Highway at the southern entrance to Kapunda – as a tribute to the copper miners of Kapunda.
The statue was named Map Kernow, being the Cornish dialect for 'Son of Cornwall'.
'Map the Miner' or 'The Big Miner' is a monument to the profound role and contribution of the Cornish miner in the Kapunda area and in due course in other mines in South Australia.
The Kapunda mine, established in 1844, was the first successful metal mine in Australia and contributed greatly to the economic development of South Australia. Up to its closure in 1878 up to 340 men and boys, mainly from Cornwall were employed at the mine.
Kapunda is located 82km (51mi) north-east of Adelaide via the Thiele Highway.
Discover one of the most beautifully preserved towns in South Australia.
In its heyday, Burra was the seventh largest town in Australia, with a population larger than Melbourne.
Explore the town on Burra's 11km (6.8mi) Heritage Passport Trail and pop into the Redruth Gaol, the Monster Mine and Creek Street, where 1600 people lived in dugouts along the riverbank.
Stroll the picturesque walking trails, tee-off at the local golf club, hire a bike and then browse the antique shops. Don’t miss Thorogoods of Burra – the boutique cider brewery – and the Burra Art Gallery.
Burra is located 161km (100mi) north of Adelaide via the Horrocks Highway.
Redbanks Conservation Park – Explore the meandering gorges of vertical red alluvial cliffs, near Burra, which are covered in Mallee scrub and bluebush. The area is home to wombats, echidnas, euros and various megafauna.
Paleontologists have called this area one of the richest megafauna sites in Australia. Thanks to the fascinating 'Landscapes of Change' interpretive walking trail, you can walk the path of the diprotodons, who lived here until about 65,000 years ago.
The park conserves numerous threatened ecological communities including scented mat-rush tussock grassland and mallee box woodland, as well as the rohrlack's bluebush. Short-beaked echidnas, southern hairy-nosed wombats, birds and reptiles are among the park's wildlife, as well as present day descendants of megafauna, such as western grey and red kangaroos.
Redbanks Conservation Park is located 15km (9mi) east of Burra on Eastern Road.
Located in the heart of the Clare Valley – one of South Australia's premier wine regions – Clare offers fine dining, panoramic views and secluded accommodation.
Clare sits at the northern end of the Riesling Trail, and is surrounded by a landscape of fine vineyards mainly to the south, cereal crops and sheep farms.
As well as sampling fine wine at the local cellar doors, you can choose to tee-off at the highly rated Clare Golf Course, hire a bike, play lawn tennis or try the bowling greens. And of course there’s plenty of opportunity to browse for local handicrafts and to dine at a range of restaurants that offer a gourmet food and wine experience.
With 35 cellar doors, the Clare Valley Cellar Door website (https://www.clarevalley.com.au/wine/cellar-doors) provides a map and all the details of opening hours, phone numbers and contact points.
Clare is perfect as a base to explore the Clare Valley and sample the diversity of wines offered in the region.
Clare is located 143km (88mi) north of Adelaide via Gawler and the Horrocks Highway.
Riesling Trail – Explore one of the world's top wine trails. Following the disused railway line between Auburn and Clare, the 27km (16mi) trail consists of three ‘loops’ and passes through picturesque countryside, stands of 150-year-old gum trees, rolling farmlands and a dozen cellar doors.
The trail is equally enjoyable on foot or bicycle. Other vineyards lie close by.
Bicycles can be hired in Clare either from Clare Valley Cycle Hire (https://clarevalleycyclehire.com.au) or Riesling Trail Bike Hire (http://www.rieslingtrailbikehire.com.au). There is an excellent downloadable map of the entire route at https://www.clarevalley.com.au/assets/maps/Riesling-Trail-Map.pdf.
The village of Sevenhill marks the turn-off to exploring Skilly Hills – a series of picturesque green valleys covered with steeply wooded slopes set beside open fields under vine.
Discover Clare Valley’s oldest winery at Sevenhill Cellars. Owned and operated by Jesuits since 1851, it is perhaps one of the most picturesque and unusual wineries in the country.
Sample wine in the old monastery cellars and tour the winery and surrounding buildings – at the winery’s heart is the magnificent St Aloysius Church (photo).
Sample premium wines at a variety of well-known boutique cellar doors including Eldredge Wines, Stringy Brae, Jeanneret, Mitchells, Kilikanoon and Penna Lane.
Many offer lunchtime restaurants as well as delightful bed and breakfasts with scenic outlooks. Don’t miss the Sevenhill Market, held on the last Saturday of each month, for freshly baked bread and a variety of local food products. Dine in style at the award-winning gourmet retreat of Thorn Park Country House.
The tiny village of Sevenhill is located 128km (80mi) north of Adelaide in the heart of the Clare Valley.
Established in 1849, Mintaro is part of a State Heritage Area and home to one of Australia's finest stately homes, Martindale Hall (photo), which was featured in the classic film Picnic at Hanging Rock. The Georgian-style mansion was completed in 1880 for pastoralist Edmund Bowman Jr.
Many of the town’s buildings feature Mintaro slate, renowned worldwide for its use as a playing surface on billiard tables.
Stroll through quaint old streets, reminiscent of those you might encounter in the English Cotswolds or Dales. Discover stone churches, a water-wise classical garden, cottage gardens, a ruined flour-mill, interesting cemeteries and an antique shop (where poet C.J. Dennis lived for most of his boyhood).
Sample wine from several small vineyards and enjoy a traditional pub lunch at the historic 'The Magpie & Stump' pub. Overnight at nearby Martindale Hall, a Georgian-style mansion that was built in 1879: don’t miss the ornate carved stonework. Take a tour of the cricket pitch, boating lake, race course and polo field.
Mintaro is located 135km (83mi) north of Adelaide via Gawler. It is 21km (13mi) from Clare and is often included in the Clare Valley Region.
Auburn is the southern gateway to the rich vineyards of the Clare Valley and provides a splendid array of guest-houses, great dining options and a collection of renowned cellar doors.
Admire Auburn's magnificent bluestone buildings that line the quiet streets in this character-filled town. Wander along St Vincent Street, busy with many stone cottages that have been converted into restaurants, antique shops, gourmet coffee shops and heritage-style accommodation.
Don’t miss dining at the historic Rising Sun Hotel (photo) or the Mount Horrocks cellar door. Sample wines at the award-winning Grosset wines or nearby Taylors wines.
Auburn is located 24km (15mi) from Clare and 115km (71mi) north of Adelaide.
Discover a number of heritage buildings, including the beautifully preserved Stanley Grammar School (now a private residence) and several cellar doors including Annie's Lane at Quelltaler, which features a wine museum with a display of century-old wine-making techniques and equipment.
Surrounded by vineyards, Watervale is a tiny village in the Clare Valley, south of Clare and between the popular Riesling Trail, and the Main North Road.
Watervale is located 129km (80mi) north of Adelaide via Gawler and Riverton.
Trip length from Adelaide 2–3 days
Total distance 300km (186mi) Road conditions Sealed and unsealed roads Segment distances: Adelaide to Kapunda – 76km (47mi), 1hr 30mins; Kapunda to Clare – 71km (44mi), 1hr; Clare to Burra – 42km (26mi), 35mins; Burra to Adelaide – 154km (95mi), 2hrs 20mins.
Suggested overnight stops: Claire, Burra or Mintaro
Accommodation: Find the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say about hotels in Clare at TripAdvisor.
Latest update: Clare Valley Attractions: 22 March, 2021
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