Riesling Trail is a scenic cycling trail winding its way through Clare Valley wine country. Once an abandoned railway track, this Riesling Trail was brought back to life by passionate winemakers who saw its potential.
Bicyclists interested in wine tasting can satisfy their appetite while pedaling between cellar doors, sampling wines along the way and pedalling along three additional loop trails designed for cyclists.
Starts in Auburn
The Clare Valley Riesling Trail covers 35 kilometers from Auburn through Leasingham, Watervale, Penwortham and Sevenhill before concluding at Clare. The gently undulating track can accommodate walkers, joggers, cyclists, wheelchair users and prams for an unforgettable journey along vineyards, mixed farms, natural bushland and historic villages; hence its name after Riesling, one of the region’s renowned white grape varieties.
The Riesling Trail began life as an abandoned railway line after the Ash Wednesday bushfires of 1983, then closed by local government due to lack of funding. Following Tony Brady from Wendouree Cellars suggesting it as a walking and cycling track funded both privately and publicly in 1993, its transformation became reality.
At a public meeting held in May 1999, the Riesling Trail Management Committee was established as a community management group. Founding members included Patricia Jacka, Carita Brown, Graham Mill, Leith Highes, Ted Nettleton and Rosemary Goode. Later that same year EDAW Australia developed a landscape master plan for the Trail as well as including plans for public art along its length.
Anyone hoping to make the most out of their trip should explore the back roads surrounding the Trail. In addition to cellar door hospitality and wine tasting, the Trail offers stunning landscapes as well as numerous Aboriginal heritage sites. When in Clare, start by rolling down Main North Road towards Cafe 1871 or Daily Grind on Main for some pre-pedaling caffeine before taking a short detour towards Sevenhill Cellars where Jesuit priests first planted vines in 1851!
The Riesling Trail covers 35 kilometres between Auburn, Watervale, Penwortham and Sevenhill vineyards and features flat terrain suitable for people of all ages and abilities to enjoy, along with cafes and cellar doors along its route. It takes its name from one of the region’s most renowned white grape varieties – Riesling – which runs along an old railway line between Auburn and Clare – passing charming towns such as Leasingham and Watervale on its route.
The Trail also includes various side loops to keep your exploration going. Take John Horrocks Road off-trail and enjoy stunning countryside as you make your way to Sevenhill Cellars – one of the oldest wineries in the valley, dating back to its Jesuit settlement days in 1851! Still producing award-winning wines today. Additionally, its grounds house an idyllic 1860s church as well as a peaceful cemetery behind.
Other must-sees in Napa Valley include Clos Clare, which specializes in elegantly styled rislings; Pikes; and, recently, Jeanneret. You will also find numerous restaurants which serve excellent meals while pairing fine wines perfectly.
Download or pick up a map of the Riesling Trail here, or purchase one at various points along its route. Alternatively, bike hire from Cogwebs at Sevenhill’s southern end offers bikers the convenience of leaving all of the pedaling to someone else! They have friendly team that will come retrieve you at any point on the Trail before dropping you off at your next destination; in addition they also offer electric bicycles that may help them keep pace with other wine-fuelled cyclists on the Riesling Trail!
Starting in Auburn, this trail begins with a gentle up-grade before passing picturesque vineyards and then gradually descending. At any point along its course, detours can lead to hillside cemeteries surrounded by vineyards or Sevenhill Winery, one of Clare Valley’s oldest wineries established by Jesuit priests who recognized grape farming’s potential in creating sacramental wine for use as part of Catholic religious rituals.
Clare is your final stop on this trail and offers plenty of cafes and restaurants, such as Mr. Mick’s Cellar Door and Kitchen where you can savor tapas-style dining or gourmet snacks with one of their outstanding wines. Also take time out for a stroll through White Hut Cemetery before continuing along Pioneer Avenue where Mad Bastard Wines and Jim Barry Wines await!
If you want a more comfortable pushbike ride, consider renting an e-bike instead. Not only will you receive all of the same workout benefits but the experience will be much less intense and tiring.
No matter why you ride, soon after embarking upon the Riesling Trail you’ll understand why it has become one of South Australia’s premier recreational eco-tourism attractions. From fitness enthusiasts to wine enthusiasts alike, this trail provides an unforgettable glimpse into Clare Valley life.
Pioneering pastoralists to Jesuit priests: our region boasts an interesting past awaiting exploration at historic sites across our region. From individual properties like Bungaree Station or Martindale Hall to entire towns such as Mintaro or Burra, these fascinating heritage listings reveal our region’s vibrant past.
pedal power is the best way to discover Clare Valley’s vineyards, farms and village nooks along this flat and quality-made 35km track. Commissioned by local winemakers as an adaptation of an old railway line from 1998 onwards and opened for use, like a Phoenix rising from its own ashes after 1983’s Ash Wednesday bushfires, this trail has quickly become a recreational pursuit that allows people to experience this region at their own pace and speed.
From Auburn, the trail winds its way through Leasingham, Watervale and Penwortham before arriving at Sevenhill. Boasting an elegant 1860s church and peaceful cemetery, Sevenhill Cellars began operating in 1851 by Jesuit priests – offering wine tasting in postcard-perfect surroundings!
As you head back toward Clare along the Riesling Trail, take some time to visit some of the cellar doors in the area. From lavish, historic estates like Pikes and Jeanneret to modern producers such as Clos Clare and Mr Mick – there’s something here for every palate on this trail!
After an exciting morning of cycling, take time out for yourself and indulge in wine tasting at one of the numerous restaurants and cafes along the trail. Choose between rustic settings like Rising Sun Hotel or classic options like Mount Horrocks & Grosset Wines; their cuisine will provide an exquisite culinary experience. Sip a refreshing riesling while nibbling cheese platters before retiring back to your accommodation for some restorative rest – you earned it after pedalling all that distance! Don’t forget to refuel before setting out again though!
The Riesling Trail is one of Australia’s premier winery experiences. Boasting incredible cellar doors and food stops, it is ideal for families, groups of friends, or those wanting to experience this region by bike.
This trail consists of a well-graded dirt track that can be navigated in two hours by ride or walk. Passing through Leasingham, Watervale, Penwortham and Sevenhill before arriving in Clare it welcomes cyclists, walkers and joggers as well as wheelchair users and prams.
On this tour, cycling takes you past some incredible culinary experiences in the valley. Stops include Skillogalee for an exquisite a la carte lunch and Knappstein Estates for wine tasting and tapas plates – great ways to burn off those three Big Macs.
From here it’s an easy ride into Clare Valley’s wine country and its famed wineries, where cellar door restaurants will have you relaxing while tasting award winning wines from these vineyards.
While visiting Clare, take the time to visit its heritage sites. For instance, Clare Town Hall is an iconic building constructed in 1926 that contains a valuable collection of records from village and district activities, such as church records, school records, cemetery records as well as photos, newspapers and publications from this era. It is considered of “unique national significance.” It can be found at 229 Main North Road Clare or take a short stroll over to Clare Historical Museum for even more historic exploration!