McLaren Vale is famous for its shiraz, but that's not the only reason you should visit this wine region

Located less than an hour’s drive from Adelaide, McLaren Vale is known as the birthplace of South Australia's wine industry. It has a lively vibe that’s more contemporary than quaint, bucolic scenery and more than 80 cellar doors to discover. Whether you fancy cycling through three wine regions or combining wine, wildlife and wild landscapes on our Flinders Ranges Explorer trip, get ready to fall in love with McLaren Vale's lush green vineyards, pristine beaches, and boutique wineries and restaurants that celebrate local produce.

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McLaren Vale highlights

Cyclist drinking wine

Cycle the Coast to Vines Trail

The Coast to Vines Rail Trail, also known as the Shiraz Trail, has been built along an old rail corridor. This vehicle-free trail takes you past glorious scenery and superb wineries. Make an extended stop at the acclaimed Wirra Wirra Winery for a platter lunch and exclusive tasting and tour. Wirra Wirra is an Aboriginal name meaning “among the gum tree,” and the 125-year-old ironstone winery is still surrounded by the trees today.

View from the Star of Greece

Dine at the Star of Greece

Perched high on a hill overlooking the sparkling beach of Port Willunga, you’ll find the iconic Star of Greece restaurant, one of South Australia’s most famous dining spots. It might look like a simple café, but this breezy coastal dining destination offers a sophisticated menu and a wine list that makes it tempting to linger. From the food to the views, this place is a must-visit.

Port Willunga at sunset

See Port Willunga

Port Willunga feels a million miles from Adelaide, even though it’s just 46 km from the CBD. The crumbling jetty is known locally as ‘the sticks’ and is one of the most photographed spots in South Australia. With golden sands fringed by rugged cliffs and water that beckons you to dive in, it’s hard to believe this beautiful spot was once one of South Australia’s largest ports.

Two women market shopping

Shop for local goods

Shop for local delicacies like juicy cherries, crusty sourdough and avocados from the Adelaide Hills as you stroll around the lively Willunga Farmer’s Market which has been operating for more than 20 years. Revive along the way at wineries and micro-breweries, then stop at a café or a winery restaurant for lunch. After you’ve browsed unique jewellery and handmade accessories at McLaren Vale’s boutiques, stop for a coffee and a delicious pastry.

McLaren Vale tour reviews

McLaren Vale FAQs

Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards

From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises).

However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.

Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.

Learn more about Intrepid’s COVID-19 policy

The closest major airport to McLaren Vale is Adelaide Airport. From here, it's about a 45 minute drive to McLaren Vale. If you're travelling to McLaren Vale from Adelaide CBD, the trip is slightly quicker. Bus and train services are also available between Adelaide and McLaren Vale.

The easiest way to get around McLaren Vale is by car or on a small tour group. A limited bus service is available once you reach McLaren Vale, but it's difficult to travel around to the wineries, beaches and other attractions if you don’t have your own transport.

Any time is a good time to visit McLaren Vale. Summer can be hot but cool breezes keep the temperature at a comfortable level for walking and other outdoor pursuits. Winter is perfect for snuggling up in front of a fire with a glass of red wine. Autumn brings with it sunny days and crisp mornings and nights, while the weather in spring is generally good although it can get chilly after the sun goes down.

What to pack will depend on the time of year you're visiting, but you can't go wrong with clothes you can layer, a jumper and a waterproof jacket. One or two smart casual outfits should be more than enough for dining out unless you're planning on visiting high-end restaurants or wineries.

There's good wi-fi coverage in McLaren Vale's major towns. However, if you're visiting more remote areas, such as those around Onkaparinga River National Park, you may experience periods of time with no internet access.

Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. We’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.

Learn more about accessible travel with Intrepid

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