When you think about South Australia, one of the first things that comes to mind it is wine. However South Australia, other than being the wine capital of Australia, is also well known for cycling and is home to the biggest cycling race in the Southern Hemisphere and Australia’s only World Tour race.
For lovers of cycling and wine there is a region in South Australia that can satisfy both your loves. The McLaren Vale region has dedicated trails and routes that you can experience through hills, valleys, wineries or along the coast (or all four!) and cycling is a great way to explore this beautiful region!
Here the 10 reason why McLaren Vale is worth a visit:
Road cycling - McLaren Vale offers different trails and terrains from the flat coastline to the hills behind Willunga where cyclists can really test their legs.
MTB - Not far from McLaren Vale, around 15 Km, you can get to Prospect Hill MTB Park or Kangarilla MTB trails. Prospect Hill is a good place for beginners with pretty easy tracks while Kangarilla is better suited for more experienced riders and has medium and hard trails to explore.
Leisure riders - For those riders that want to take it easy there are trails that give you opportunities to stop, explore, smell and taste the region. The Coast to Vine Rail trail is the most popular of the area, stretching from Hallett Cove to McLaren Vale. It’s an incredibly beautiful ride and one to take slowly so you can make the most of it. If you want more, the Shiraz Trail (an extension of the Coast to Vine Rail Trail) from McLaren Vale to Willunga takes you through the heart of the McLaren Vale region and its wineries. And if that’s still not enough, there is the 15km Aldinga to Sellicks Trail right on the coast. You won't be disappointed.
Tour Down Under - In January, McLaren Vale is the site of the TDU’s most popular stage, starting right in the main street of McLaren Vale itself and finishing up on Willunga Hill. If you’re looking to travel at this time, we recommend that you book early! This race is Australia’s opportunity to get up close and watch the world’s best road cyclists and masses of people gather to watch them battle it out.
Wine - McLaren Vale is home to some of the best wines in Australia including Shiraz and Grenache, making it an internationally renowned wine region. The area is filled with a collection of century-old vines that still produce some award-winning wines. Lots of these wineries are cycle-friendly so you if you want to give your ride a different taste, do just that!
Family Friendly - McLaren Vale is the perfect family escape. Whether you and your little ones are looking for a fun day out or if you're in need of some relaxing days outdoors, McLaren Vale has something to offer. Adventure playgrounds, parks, beaches, cycling trails, hiking, horse riding, fishing...everything you need for a fun-filled family holiday.
Food - McLaren Vale's restaurants, eateries and cafés are known for their extensive menus that offer some of the best dishes, bites and treats from and around McLaren Vale. Many ingredients come directly from local farms so you can taste really taste the region on your plate!
Stay - There are many different types of accommodations that people can choose from, from luxury accommodation, vineyard stays, B&Bs, hilltop cottages and log cabins in the mountains or rustic shearing sheds among more extravagant villas on the beach. Check out McLaren Vale Motel and Apartments, a Bike Hotels partner just outside the town.
Festivals and Events - The region is bursting with events all year round. One of our favourites (aside from the Tour Down Under) is the Willunga Farmers Market. It’s one of the top farmers markets in South Australia and is a must-visit for all foodies. Visitors of the Farmers Market are greeted by a large, buzzing crowd as they shop for local produce from some of the best regional farms and food producers.
Breweries and Distilleries - McLaren Vale is not just about wine. Ever since the craft beer movement took off, there has been a steady increase of local breweries and distilleries that provide an alternative to traditional pubs. Don’t miss out on trying a selection of beers and spirits distilled right here in the vineyard valleys.
There are so many reasons to go and visit the McLaren Vale region and cycling is the perfect way to see and experience it all!