7 things to do in Clare Valley

1. Taste wine in one of Australia’s most beautiful grape-growing regions

The Clare Valley … one of Australia’s most beautiful grape-growing regions.

The Clare Valley … one of Australia’s most beautiful grape-growing regions.

Let’s face it, most people visit the Clare Valley to go wine tasting. It is one of the spiritual homes of Australian riesling, so do taste some of these. They have the longevity to cellar for decades, especially in the era of screwcap closures. Also seek out shiraz and cabernet sauvignon reds, especially when the latter is blended with malbec. Visit www.clarevalley.com.au 

2. Stop at Auburn

Auburn’s Rising Sun Hotel … have a drink to Doreen.

Auburn’s Rising Sun Hotel … have a drink to Doreen.

This town is the southern gateway to the Clare Valley, and is best known as the birthplace of that great poet and storyteller CJ Dennis. The Auburn Hotel, where his father was publican and he was born, was demolished in 1969 but stop at the historic Rising Sun Hotel, which has stables dating to the 1850s, and drink to Dennis’s Doreen. Visit www.auburn.sa.au and www.therisingsunhotel.com.au 

3. Take a stroll through Mintaro

Mintaro … just oozes historic buildings.

Mintaro … just oozes historic buildings.

It’s a town that just oozes historic buildings and dry-stone fences. There’s also a good selection of really quaint colonial-style accommodation and some fascinating stores. Visit www.mintaro.sa.au 

4. Time your visit to coincide with the Clare Valley Gourmet Weekend

A time for indulgence … the annual Clare Valley Gourmet Weekend.

A time for indulgence … the annual Clare Valley Gourmet Weekend.

This is held every year in May, and celebrates the region’s exceptional wines and food, with markets, tastings and dinners — and plenty of art as well. Visit www.clarevalley.com.au 

5. Wander through historic Sevenhill Cellars

The Riesling Trail … an essential Clare Valley experience.

The Riesling Trail … an essential Clare Valley experience.

Sevenhill dates from 1851 and was the first winery in the Clare Valley, initially established by the Jesuits to produce sacramental wine. Just seven Jesuit brothers have been winemakers in that time and the place simply reeks history and character. Visit www.sevenhill.com.au 

6. Cycle or walk at least some of the Riesling Trail

The Riesling Trail … an essential Clare Valley experience.

The Riesling Trail … an essential Clare Valley experience.

The 33-kilometre Riesling Trail runs basically the length of the Clare Valley, between the towns of Auburn and Clare. The use of the old railway line guarantees that rises are gentle. There’s plenty of history, nature and wine sampling on the way. Several places offer bike hire for this essential Clare Valley experience. Visit www.rieslingtrail.com.au 

7. Be amazed by unheralded historic rural ruins and grand eucalyptus

The Clare Valley … full of unheralded historic rural ruins.

The Clare Valley … full of unheralded historic rural ruins.

Decaying old stone buildings are a feature of rural South Australia, but nowhere more so than in the Clare Valley. Get off the main road, especially around the village of Watervale, and the district also features some of Australia’s finest eucaplypts. Visit www.clarevalley.com.au 

John Rozentals is a freelance writer whose passions are travel, food and wine. He lives at Molong in the Central West of NSW, from where he hosts Oz Baby Boomers, a lifestyle-resource for mature Australians, and Molong Online.