McLaren Vale Attractions


McLaren Vale winery
McLaren Vale vineyard – Image courtesy of

Introducing McLaren Vale, SA

Take the Fleurieu Way and experience a drive that brings together all of the best elements of southern Australia, from the world-renowned McLaren Vale winemaking region, nestled between gently rolling hills and the sea, to peaceful little coastal hamlets and sandy beaches that stretch all the way to Cape Jervis.

What to do and see in McLaren Vale

While inland, explore winding roads that cross rivers and take you past gorgeous scenery into pristine conservation parks. Look out for seasonal specialist nurseries offering displays of roses, begonias and native flora. Savour fabulous seafood, gourmet produce and premium wine from the more than 75 wineries and cellar doors found along the way.

Enjoy a range of exciting possibilities for fun and adventure, from scuba diving and surfing to game fishing and the discovery of championship golf courses, spectacular natural attractions, picnic spots, walking trails and fascinating wildlife – all within two hours drive from Adelaide.

Trip length from Adelaide 2–3 days Total distance 170km Road conditions Sealed roads Segment distances: Adelaide to Goolwa 1hr 30mins; 90km Goolwa to Cape Jervis 1hr 25mins; 80km Cape Jervis to Adelaide 2hrs 10mins; 114km (via McLaren Vale) Suggested overnight stops: Goolwa and McLaren Vale

Must-see sights along the route, include:

McLaren Vale

– Synonymous with fine wines for more than 150 years – South Australia’s first vineyard was established at Old Reynella in 1838. McLaren Vale is one of Australia’s most renowned wine regions.

Take a few hours or a full day to tour Route 60 – a 28km scenic drive through the region’s heartland. Within the McLaren Vale you can explore more than 76 cellar doors, and you can often meet the vineyard owners to discuss bouquets and cellaring potentials as you sample their wares.

Head to Main Street and browse art galleries and craft shops and spoil yourself with an evening meal at any one of a number of award-winning restaurants.


– Explore one of South Australia’s most attractive towns, complete with village green, ducks on the gently flowing Angas River, rose gardens and a gorgeous picnic spot. Admire the fine old blue and sandstone heritage buildings, pop into the district museum, which occupies the original police station and courthouse, and browse the crafts and antique shops along High Street.


– Stroll around the inner section of town, a State Heritage Area with many fine colonial-era buildings dating back to the mid-1980s. Learn more about the Murray River at the Signal Point Centre, browse the local craft shops around Goolwa Wharf area and then cool off with a fine ale at the Steam Exchange Brewery.

Take a wood-fired paddle steamer for a river cruise up the Murray, across to Hindmarsh Island or into nearby Coorong National Park. Try to spot some of the 238 resident and migratory wading birds feasting on the rich wetlands.

Or go ashore and stroll the boardwalks, keeping an eye out for the beautiful red-necked avocet, the sharp-tailed sandpiper and the black-winged stilt.

Middleton and Port Elliot

– Enjoy fine surf beaches, fishing at Middleton and the winter spectacle of the southern right whale on its annual migration. Unpack your roller blades or bike, fly your kite in the sea breeze or just enjoy a stroll along the coastal pathway that runs from Goolwa to Victor Harbor.

Take the Port Elliot Maritime Heritage Trail to learn more about Port Elliot's role as the first seaport for the River Murray trade. Browse the arts and crafts shops along The Strand and don’t miss Horseshoe Bay or the lookout at Freeman Nob for great views.

The Cockle Train

– Enjoy a 30-minute ride on one of Australia's most beautiful scenic train rides between Victor Harbor and Goolwa. Journey past beautiful Southern Ocean beaches and through historic towns on Australia's oldest public railway, which first ran in 1854.

Victor Harbor

– Stroll the wide sandy arc of beaches that line Encounter Bay, take the horse-drawn tram across to the penguin colony on nearby Granite Island, visit Urimbirra Wildlife Park, the Wild Rose Cottages, Greenhills Adventure Park or Nangawooka floral reserve.

Don’t miss the historical display at the Encounter Coast Discovery Centre where you can learn about the meeting of English and French naval captains Matthew Flinders and Nicolas Baudin, which took place in Encounter Bay in 1802. Look out for whales from on top of the Bluff (from June through to October) or just enjoy the 270° views along the coast.

Glacier Rock

– Drive out to Glacier Rock (also known as Selwyn's Rock), just 14km west of Victor Harbor, to discover a 500-million-year-old boulder carved out by the glaciers that once covered the entire area of the south coast some 250 million years ago.

Deep Creek Conservation Park

– Discover some of South Australia’s most spectacular semi-wilderness areas and coastal scenery, offering unparalleled views across the Southern Ocean. Enjoy rugged coastal panoramas as well as tranquil settings beneath tall stringybark forests.

Spot some of the 120 species of birds, ranging from black cockatoos and the mighty wedge-tailed eagle to the tiny superb blue wren. Look out for western grey kangaroos grazing on the grassland as you stroll the Heysen Trail, which passes through some of the most dramatic parts of the Park on its way from Cape Jervis to the Flinders Ranges.

Cape Jervis

– Fish off the beach or the jetty and enjoy the superb ocean views from the lookout on Sappers Road or ride the ferry to Kangaroo Island. Take a side trip to Rapid Bay to the point where Colonel William Light first stepped ashore to establish the colony of South Australia: the boulder where he recorded the event by carving his initials and the date is still on site.

Further on at Second Valley, see dramatic cliffscapes, fish from the jetty, go scuba diving or snorkelling.

Aldinga and Sellicks

– Discover some of the best beaches in South Australia: Aldinga Beach offers a wide and sandy swimming beach with boat-launching facilities, while Sellicks has great views along the coast. Enjoy wind surfing and hang gliding, or get below the surface of the water and scuba dive or snorkel the nearby underwater trail in the Onkaparinga Estuary Aquatic Reserve.


– Stroll the charming historical village of colonial buildings that date back to the late 1800s. Browse the antique and craft shops, and if you're in the area during July, don’t miss the colourful Almond Blossom Festival, the town's biggest annual event.
Short breaks for a weekend getaway from. . .
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Latest update on this honeymoon destination: 27 May, 2017
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