McLaren Vale picture
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Price & Hours

Free

Details

Beaches, Wineries/Breweries, Free, Neighborhood/Area Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.9scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 5.0Food Scene
  • 4.5Atmosphere

To see where South Australia's famous wine industry began, head 25 miles south of Adelaide to McLaren Vale. Roughly 65 wineries call this region home, where grapes have been turned into shiraz, grenache, cabernet and more since the first vines were planted in 1838. Travelers will also find six white-sand beaches, two walking and biking trails, five art galleries and a farm-to-table food scene that includes locally produced olive oil, fresh produce and an array of cheeses and chocolates in McLaren Vale.

For some of the region's best vino, previous travelers recommend stopping by Old Oval Estate, d'Arenberg Wines and Primo Estate. Oenophiles rave about the cheese platters and wines available at Old Oval Estate, while Primo Estate and d'Arenberg Wines are great for tours and tastings. "The Blending Bench" class at d'Arenberg Wines, an interactive experience that involves blending and bottling a sample of shiraz, is especially popular with former visitors. It costs 70 Australian dollars ($53) per person.

No public transportation is available to and from McLaren Vale, but the region is a convenient stopping point for travelers driving from Adelaide to Kangaroo Island. Another option: take a full-day wine tour with Wine Diva Tours. Rates start at AU$165 ($125) per person and include lunch, private wine tastings and round-trip transfers to and from Adelaide. Travelers can also visit wineries without a tour group, but charges generally apply for each tour and tasting. Expect to pay about AU$15 to AU$55 (or $11 to $42) for each standard tour. Most wineries are open daily from 10 or 11 a.m. to 4 or 5 p.m. However, some smaller locales are only open on weekends. For a complete list of winery hours, plus information about area beaches, hotels, restaurants, markets and more, check out McLaren Vale's website.

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#1 Adelaide Botanic Garden

Adelaide Botanic Garden offers eight gardens, a wetland and a forest, as well as architectural marvels like the Bicentennial Conservatory and the Santos Museum of Economic Botany. Noteworthy features include the Garden of Health (an area devoted to plants with healing properties) and the Little Sprouts Kitchen Garden (where kids can learn about fruits, vegetables and herbs).

The 124-acre Adelaide Botanic Garden regularly woos visitors with its tranquil atmosphere and well-maintained landscaping. But if you really want to relax while in this city sanctuary, travelers recommend bringing a blanket and food for a picnic on one of the lawns. Also, save some time to admire the Palm House and the Bicentennial Conservatory's architecture. The former is a restored Victorian glasshouse from Germany, while the latter is the Southern Hemisphere's largest single-span conservatory.

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