The Road Ahead : December 2012
ROADAHEAD.COM.AU THE ROAD AHEAD DEC 2012/JAN 2013 36 TRAVEL DEPARTURE NATIONAL THE CLARE VALLEY is the state's northern-most wine region, with rolling hills and gum-tree-lined streams meandering through pockets of vineyards dotted with old stone houses. Famous around the world for its crisp white Riesling, the Clare is also renowned for full-bodied Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. The 36-kilometre Riesling Trail, built on an old railway line between the townships of Auburn and Clare, is a fabulous way to tour the vineyards which include Sevenhill Cellars, the only Australian winery still run by Jesuits, and Skillogalee Wines, located in an 1850s cottage surrounded by gardens. Moving south, the Barossa is Australia's most renowned wine region, whose Shiraz and Grenache vines are the oldest in the world. Once known for fortified wines, the Barossa started producing premium red table wine in the 1950s when Max Schubert created Australia's most famous wine: Grange Hermitage. Barossa's Germanic heritage is still writ large. Picturesque Lutheran-spired churches dot the valleys, German-style butchers and bakers are in every village, and the Saturday Barossa Farmers Market is resplendent with smoked bacon, dill pickles, and suckling pig. You can taste wines at wineries large (Penfolds, Orlando, Wolf Blass), medium- sized (Torbrek, Peter Lehmann, Grant Burge) and small (Rockford, Charles Melton). The Adelaide Hills offer a delightful country escape in the cool, green Mount Lofty Ranges, with interesting villages, rolling vineyards, great vistas and tall stands of eucalyptus trees made famous by Australia's renowned water-colourist, German-born Hans Heysen. It is one of Australia's burgeoning cool-climate wine regions, specialising in Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc. Wander around the historic township of Hahndorf, Australia's oldest surviving German settlement, enjoy a meal at Bridgewater Mill, and taste wines at Ashton Hills and Shaw and Smith and, for a change of pace, visit the National Motor Museum. A mere 40 km south of Adelaide, McLaren Vale undulates from the Adelaide Hills down to a pristine coastline of white sandy beaches on Gulf St Vincent. It is a marvellous place to break the journey between Adelaide and Kangaroo Island. The mellow Mediterranean climate creates an easy going ambience that seduces all who visit. McLaren Vale may also have the quirkiest wine names in the business: Dead Arm Shiraz, Derelict Vineyard Grenache, Woop Woop, and The Mongrel vines, wines, waves and more STORY | PHOTOS SUSAN GOUGH HENLY The best of wining, dining and the great Aussie outdoors -- South Australia has it covered. MAIN IMAGE: WINE TASTING AT SHAW AND SMITH WINERY. VIEW FROM SOUTHERN OCEAN LODGE, KANGAROO ISLAND. TRAVEL OFFER: For a limited time, RACQ Travel and Great Southern Rail are offering members free return flights from Brisbane to meet The Ghan's legendary rail journey from Darwin to Adelaide, providing the perfect opportunity to explore South Australia's wineries and the delights of Kangaroo Island. Contact RACQ Travel to create your dream rail holiday now on 1300 188 542, or email travel@ racq.com.au.