We may earn a commission on products you buy through our links, but we only recommend products we actually like.
Escape to McLaren Vale: A Guide to the Wine Country

Escape to McLaren Vale: A Guide to the Wine Country

McLaren Vale is a gift from nature. Nestled in the sweeping Fleurieu Peninsula of South Australia, McLaren Vale is a wine lover’s paradise and a haven for those seeking natural beauty and culinary delights. 

With its rolling vineyards, charming cellar doors, and mild Mediterranean climate, McLaren Vale offers a unique and immersive experience. 

With this guide, let’s embark on a journey of discovery and unlock the secrets of McLaren Vale for an extraordinary odyssey of taste and wonder.

Time Zone

Australian Central Standard Time (UTC+9:30)

Best Time to Go

Setting a trip to McLaren Vale during the autumn months (March to May) and the spring months (September to November) is a fantastic idea. In autumn, the weather here is generally mild, making it an ideal time to go around the fully-bloomed vineyards. 

Springtime in McLaren Vale will bring you warmer temperatures and beautiful scenery with colorful flowers and lush greenery blossoming once again.

Things to Know

Currency: Australian Dollars (Check the current exchange rate)
Language: English
Calling code: 08

How to Get Around

Car: Renting or hiring a car is one of the best ways to get around McLaren Vale because it provides comfort and flexibility. 

If you decide to go this route, the trip from the CBD to McLaren Vale will take approximately 45 minutes, and you can explore the area at your own pace.

Bicycle: McLaren Vale has a network of bike trails ideal for exploring the region. You can bring your bicycle or rent one from a local bike shop.

Bus: Although the bus service from the CBD to McLaren Vale isn’t as frequent as the others in this section, it’s still a viable option. If you want to go this route, Adelaide Metro operates a bus service that connects Adelaide with McLaren Vale.

Where to Stay in McLaren Vale

The Vineyard Retreat McLaren Vale

Address: 165 Whitings Rd, Blewitt Springs SA 5171
Phone: +61 420 370 310
Pricing: $$
Book Now

The Vineyard Retreat McLaren Vale is a modern accommodation situated amidst vineyards. With spacious villas and private outdoor areas, it’s a luxurious and cozy choice.

Moreover, the Vineyard McLaren Vale features a swimming pool, BBQ facilities, and a cozy guest lounge—all making the idyllic setting more captivating.

Serafino McLaren Vale

Address: 39 Kangarilla Rd, McLaren Vale SA 5171
Phone: (08) 8323 0157
Pricing: $$
Book Now

Serafino McLaren Vale offers a welcomed combination of comfort and convenience, thanks to its contemporary rooms and prime location amidst the inviting McLaren Vale vineyards.

With its on-site winery and restaurant, Serafino McLaren Vale provides a unique opportunity to savor the region’s well-kept flavors while enjoying the rural views, creating a memorable experience for guests.

Karawatha Cottages

Address: 285 Blewitt Springs Rd, Blewitt Springs SA 5171
Phone: 0434 163 040
Pricing: $$
Book Now

The timeless allure of an elegant accommodation is strong with this one. Karawatha Cottages is a romantic hideaway situated in sweeping vineyards and breathtaking landscapes.

With cozy fireplaces, private balconies, and luxurious amenities, Karawatha Cottages is an intimate retreat in the heart of McLaren Vale’s wine country you shouldn’t miss.

McLaren Vale Studio Apartments

Address: 222 Main Rd, McLaren Vale SA 5171
Phone: 0413 618 145
Pricing: $$
Book Now

McLaren Vale Studio Apartments boasts a homey atmosphere and laid-back ambiance. Every room here is a meticulously designed haven of modern indulgence, offering a seamless blend of coziness and panache. 

The private terraces offer panoramic views of the enticing vineyards, and the living area’s spaciousness makes it an ideal spot for relaxation. 

Casavino Luxury Villa

Casavino Luxury Villa

Address: 230 Main Rd, McLaren Vale SA 5171
Phone: 0424 144 348
Pricing: $$
Book Now

Casavino Luxury Villa may be the pinnacle of refinement and sophistication you’re looking for in an accommodation. 

This spot’s villas are flawlessly designed and adorned with premium amenities, romantic outdoor spaces, and breathtaking views. Their entertainment areas, gourmet provisions, and spa services are also top-notch. 

McLaren Vale Lakeside Caravan Park

Address: 48 Field St, McLaren Vale SA 5171
Phone: (08) 8323 9255
Pricing: $$
Book Now

Nestled beside a serene lake, McLaren Vale Lakeside Caravan Park offers a tranquil and idyllic setting. Here you can relax and unwind amidst the peaceful surroundings of nature without losing access to modern necessities. 

This spot offers caravan and camping sites, well-maintained facilities, and access to various recreational activities such as fishing and kayaking. 

Where to Eat in McLaren Vale

d’Arry’s Verandah Restaurant

Address: Osborn Rd, McLaren Vale SA 5171
Phone: (08) 8329 4848
Pricing: $$

Foodies will fall in love with d’Arry’s Verandah Restaurant, a highly-rated resto where you can enjoy not only exquisite cuisine but also breathtaking views of the surrounding vineyards from a charming verandah. 

d’Arry’s Verandah Restaurant’s menu is a delightful fusion of modern Australian and international flavors expertly prepared by talented chefs. 

Have a taste of their best-selling dishes including the succulent Chateaubriand steak and mouthwatering seafood platter.

The Salopian Inn

Address: Main Rd, McLaren Vale SA 5171
Phone: (08) 8323 8769
Pricing: $$

Revel in an enchanting dining experience within The Salopian Inn’s historic building surrounded by visually pleasing and fragrant gardens. This resto’s interior exudes warmth and character, with rustic decor, exposed beams, and cozy nooks. 

Its menu offers dishes showcasing a blend of local produce and Asian-inspired flavors. Their best sellers include their crispy pork belly, renowned for its perfectly crackling skin and succulent meat, and the aromatic Thai green curry.

Maxwell Wines

Address: 19 Olivers Rd, McLaren Vale SA 5171
Phone: (08) 8323 8200
Pricing: $$$

With extravagant and exceptional drinks and dishes, Maxwell Wines claims a spot on our list. Dining here is a memorable experience, as the resto’s warm wooden accents, cozy fireplace, and large panoramic vistas give it a luxurious feel.

Maxwell Restaurant takes pride in its contemporary Australian cuisine, showcasing the best regional, sustainable ingredients. Their exquisite slow-cooked lamb shoulder and delectable pan-seared barramundi perfectly go well with their world-class wines.

The Currant Shed

Address: 104 Ingoldby Rd, McLaren Flat SA 5171
Phone: (08) 8383 0232
Pricing: $$$

The Currant Shed might be sophistication at its finest, with enticing views of the vineyard and a menu boasting the best local and international flavors. This restaurant has a farmhouse-inspired theme which creates a laid-back and rustic aura.

Their signature Currant Shed lamb is cooked to perfection and served with flavorsome accompaniments highlighting the quality and freshness of the local produce. They also have a slow-cooked pork belly with melt-in-your-mouth levels of tenderness.


Address: 319 Chalk Hill Rd, McLaren Vale SA 5171
Phone: (08) 8323 9762
Pricing: $$

Pizzateca is a slice of culinary delight and Italy’s hospitality, with authentic and mouthwatering Italian cuisine and a casual dining area that captures the essence of homey Italian trattorias.

Pizzateca is renowned for its delish wood-fired pizzas, made with pure passion and traditional techniques. 

Their best sellers include the classic Margherita—topped with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and fragrant basil—and the savory and spicy Diavola.

What to do in McLaren Vale

Visit the vineyards

Visit the vineyards

McLaren Vale is synonymous with world-class vineyards. The beauty of the sunset and sunrise at d’Arenberg, Wirra Wirra Vineyards, and Primo Estates is borderline paradisical. 

Sipping reds while resting atop a hill at Samuel’s Gorge or dining at Hugh Hamilton Wines’ plant-covered veranda while looking at the vast vineyards below is an experience you shouldn’t miss. 

If a picnic is what you want, Mollydooker Wines’ plains got you covered.

Taste the local wine

Taste the local wine

Having a glass (or glasses) of Shiraz, Grenache, and Chardonnay has almost become an unwritten rule when in McLaren Vale. There’s no denying the flavorful depth, complexity, and capacity of McLaren Vale’s wines to age gracefully.

For a complete experience, why not uncork a bottle at every McLaren Vale tourist site you visit? From its unspoiled greenways to aerial vistas where the land’s elegance is in panoramic mode, everything will look more enticing with a glass of McLaren Vale wine.

Explore the Shiraz Trail 

The Shiraz Trail is a remarkable pathway offering a unique and scenic journey through vineyards, quaint landscapes, and charming towns. 

Discover the allure and beauty of this trail as you cycle or walk along its path—experiencing firsthand the rich history, exquisite vineyards, and breathtaking vistas that make McLaren Vale a tourist magnet.

Check the local farmer’s markets

Check the local farmer’s markets

Address: High School, Main Rd, Willunga SA 5172

Discover the world-renowned flavors and freshness of McLaren Vale’s farm products at the local farmer’s market. Make sure to check every stall, for every vendor here sells something unique.

We love this culinary haven, as this is where we usually sample and purchase a delightful array of local fruits, vegetables, artisanal products, and gourmet treats. 

For a more convenient experience, visit this spot early in the morning when it’s not too crowded.

Have fun at the Onkaparinga River

Address: 12 km northwest of McLaren Vale

The Onkaparinga River is known for its tranquil and clear waters—making it one of the best for canoeing or kayaking. If you’re a huge fan of wildlife like us, the riverbank is home to animals like herons, turtles, wallabies, and water skinks.

Don’t forget your fishing rod too, as the Onkaparinga River brims with aquatic life. Try to catch some perches, mulloways, and breams while the lush trees shade you from the sun. 

Hike the Onkaparinga River Gorge 

Address: 9 km northwest of McLaren Vale via Olivers Rd

If you ever get tired of the Onkaparinga River, embrace the challenges of the nearby Onkaparinga River Gorge.

As you traverse the rugged terrain and winding trails of the gorge, you’ll be rewarded with awe-inspiring views of breathtaking cliffs, lush vegetation, and, of course, the meandering river below. 

Soak up the sun at Port Willunga Beach

Address: 12 km southwest of McLaren Vale

If you’re an avid beach-goer, you may have heard of the stunning Port Willunga Beach, an iconic tourist site offering a glimpse into one of Adelaide’s historical maritime landmarks—the ruins of Port Willunga Jetty.

This is a team-favorite spot, especially since our group is full of snorkeling and diving enthusiasts. If you share the same hobby, explore Port Willunga’s marine reserves that serve as the sanctuary of seagrass meadows, colorful fish, and the rare seadragon. 

Try the Wuldi Cultural Experience

Try the Wuldi Cultural Experience

Address: Gemtree Wines 167 Elliott Road McLaren Vale SA 5171

Beyond McLaren Vale’s ravishing vineyards, the region is also home to rich traditions and heritage. If you want to take part in an extraordinary cultural adventure, we suggest signing up for the Wuldi Cultural Experience. 

In the Wuldi Cultural Experience, you’ll learn traditional skills such as bush tucker foraging and fire making. You’ll also be engaged in interactive storytelling sessions, where the Kaurna elders share their wisdom and ancestral tales.

Take snaps of the wildlife at Woodstock Wine Estate

Address: 215 Douglas Gully Rd, McLaren Flat SA 5171

The Woodstock Wine Estate is a sanctuary for wildlife and animal lovers alike. This peaceful winery is home to various native bird species, including kookaburras, rosellas, and cockatoos—all thriving in the surrounding undisturbed bushland.

As you stroll further, keep an out for kangaroos, wallabies, and other small mammals that freely roam the estate. If Lady Luck is on your side, they might even come to you to ask for food.

Find your way out of the Maxwell Wines Maze

Address: 97 Chalk Hill Rd, McLaren Vale SA 5171

The Maxwell Wines Maze is a meticulously designed labyrinth within a lovely vineyard. This mindboggling maze of hedges offers visitors an interactive experience as they navigate through winding paths and discover hidden surprises along the way. 

It’s also perfect for all ages and a great way to take a short break from wine tasting. Plus, with the maze as your backdrop, every moment you’ll capture is going to be Instagram-worthy. 

Pick apples at McCarthy’s Orchard

Address: 207 Sand Rd, McLaren Flat SA 5171

Perched in the heart of McLaren Vale lies a well-kept gem for apple aficionados—McCarthy’s Orchard. Here, you’ll handpick fresh apples in a shady orchard where the air is fresh. 

The gentle rustling of leaves and the soft chirping of birds here were enough to make us plan a return trip. The cafe of McCarthy’s Orchard also serves tempting apple pies—the perfect treat for a day of fun apple-picking.

Play at the Willunga Public Golf Course 

Play at the Willunga Public Golf Course

Address: St Peters Terrace, Willunga SA 5172

The Willunga Public Golf Course is a grassy showstopper. With its meticulously manicured fairways, challenging greens, and stunning backdrop, this golfing hub is ideal for golf enthusiasts seeking both skill and serenity. 

Take a peek at Coriole Vineyards’ olive enterprise

Address: Chaffeys Rd, McLaren Vale SA 5171

Almost everything that comes out of McLaren Vale’s soil can be put in the “premium” category. The olive trail at Coriole Vineyards, for example, has been producing cream-of-the-crop olives since the late 19th century. 

Their olives burst with robust, fruity, and buttery flavors. After handpicking some, go up the nearby hills to catch a glimpse of the jaw-dropping vineyards and the sunset. 

Chug pints at Vale Brewing Restaurant and Bar

Address: 128 Ingoldby Rd, McLaren Flat SA 5171

The golden barleys of McLaren Vale pack a world of rich flavors. Get down to Vale Brewing Restaurant and Bar to learn why, as this taphouse run by local brewers produces McLaren Vale’s original beer.

They also serve crisp and refreshing lagers, robust and hoppy IPAs, and powerful stout. Best enjoyed during happy hours, Vale Brewing Restaurant and Bar’s drinks will lead you to Miller Time. 

Where to Shop in McLaren Vale

McLaren Vale Central Shopping Center

Address: 130 Main Rd, McLaren Vale SA 5171
Phone: (08) 8297 2400

It’s hard to top McLaren Vale Shopping Center. It almost has everything you need. 

With a diverse range of stores, including local and independent businesses, you’ll find a variety of unique products and services conveniently located in one place. 

In addition to shopping, the McLaren Vale Shopping Center offers a range of services and amenities. These include banking facilities, post office services, healthcare clinics, and more.

It’s Ozzy - A Gallery of Gifts

Address: 92 A Main Rd, McLaren Vale SA 5171
Phone: 0437 332 203

Quirky and stylish, this charming boutique is a haven for those seeking one-of-a-kind gifts and delightful surprises. 

Here, you’ll discover a range of handcrafted items, local artwork, and distinctive souvenirs that capture the essence of McLaren Vale and beyond. 

From light bottles crafted by local artisans to Czech marionettes and Graupner miniatures, the amount of gifts you can purchase here is astounding. 

They even have traditional wooden horses! Just don’t give it to someone with a Trojan bloodline.

The Organic Store McLaren Vale

Address: c148 Main Rd, McLaren Vale SA 5171
Phone: 0423 667 005

The Organic Store McLaren Vale is our number-one shop for organic products. From fresh produce to pantry essentials, beauty products, and household items, every item in this store is carefully selected to meet strict organic standards.

The Almond Train

The Almond Train

Address: 196 Main Rd, McLaren Vale SA 5171
Phone: (08) 8323 8112

If it were up to us, every day would be almond day. Thankfully, McLaren Vale has The Almond Train, a unique train-inspired destination for almond lovers like us. 

From freshly roasted almonds to gourmet almond chocolate butter, everything here oozes with the flavor of this beloved nut. 

Coles McLaren Vale

Coles McLaren Vale

Address: Central Shopping 130, 130 Main Rd, McLaren Vale SA 5171
Phone: (08) 8324 4100

From renowned local wines to prestigious international labels, Coles offers a variety of reds, whites, and sparkling wines showcasing prime winemaking craftsmanship.

For those seeking a wider array of spirits, Coles McLaren Vale also boasts a comprehensive selection of liquors. They have premium whiskies, vodkas, gins, and rums, which are either crafted from local or international distilleries.

Which Neighborhood to Visit in McLaren Vale

McLaren Flat

McLaren Flat


With a welcoming and tranquil ambiance, it’s hard to say no to the charming McLaren Flat. Located just north of McLaren Vale, McLaren Flat is known for its picturesque countryside and vineyards. 

Take a leisurely drive or bike ride through the rolling hills and discover boutique wineries, cellar doors, and farm shops offering local produce. 



This southeastern paradise is a historic town brimming with character. Willunga is home to the buzzing Willunga Farmers Market, where you can sample fresh products like fruits, meat, and wine. 

If you stroll along the charming main street, you’ll be welcomed by heritage buildings, boutiques, galleries, and delightful cafes. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the historic Willunga Courthouse too, an architectural wonder that easily attracts the eye.

Aldinga Beach


In the mood to go to the beach? Located on the coast, Aldinga Beach is a coastal neighborhood known for its stunning sandy shores and pristine waters. 

Go for a swim here or take a leisurely walk along the peaceful esplanade. You can also explore the nearby Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park, a protected area sprawling with native flora and fauna.

Port Willunga


If it isn’t obvious yet, we can’t have enough seaside neighborhoods. Port Willunga is a charming coastal area known for its rugged cliffs, sandy beaches, and historic jetty. 

Here, you can dine at one of the beachside cafes or enjoy a picnic on the soft sand while soaking up the serene coastal atmosphere. Only the sound of breaking waves is loud here. 

Sellicks Hill


Enough of the beachside neighborhoods (for now), and let’s proceed to Sellicks Hill. Situated on the eastern edge of McLaren Vale, this neighborhood offers awe-inspiring scenery. 

If you climb to the top of Sellicks Hill Lookout, you’ll get a clear view of vineyards, coastlines, and rolling hills. The area is also known for its stunning sunsets, making it a perfect spot for a romantic evening or a scenic photography session.

What to Expect from McLaren Vale Weather

Spring: In McLaren Vale, spring brings mild temperatures ranging from 15°C (59°F) to 25°C (77°F), with occasional showers.

Summer: During summer, McLaren Vale experiences warm to hot temperatures ranging from 25°C (77°F) to 35°C (95°F), with plenty of sunshine and perfect conditions for beach visits and wine tasting.

Autumn: Autumn in McLaren Vale showcases mild and pleasant temperatures ranging from 15°C (59°F) to 25°C (77°F), with colorful foliage, harvest season, and ideal conditions for outdoor activities.

Winter: McLaren Vale’s winter brings cool temperatures ranging from 10°C (50°F) to 15°C (59°F), occasional rainfall, and a cozy ambiance, making it a great time to enjoy hearty red wines and explore the region’s culinary delights.

Apps to Download for a Trip to McLaren Vale

Uber: used for ride-hailing and food delivery
iOs | Android

TheFork: for restaurant booking
iOs | Android

Moovit: picks the best route and shows the real-time timetable of the Adelaide Metro
iOs | Android

Related topics