South Australia has a whole lot more to offer cyclist than a few glimpses of the pro riders, which is why you should seriously consider handing around a little longer, or making a dedicated visit.
Climbs such as Willunga Hill have well and truly carved their slopes into modern day cycling legend, yet for cyclists the region has a whole lot more to offer than the race and it’s route. SA is without doubt one of the best areas for road and gravel riding in the country, not to mention home to some of the finest wineries in Australia.
Where to ride
There is a load of great riding to be had in the Adelaide Hills straight out of town, which is perhaps some of the best in the whole state, and it’s very popular with local rides because it’s so accessible, and has some tough and long climbs to go at.
You will also find a whole lot of cracking rides and pleasing scenery between here and the Barossa Valley. This area is slightly less hilly than the Adelaide Hills and there are also miles of dirt roads to ride too, making for some great daylong rides.
South of Adelaide things are also great for cycling, through the rugged coastal Fleurieu Peninsular, which is quite dramatic in places, and peaceful on the whole.
If you want a seriously remote adventure ride then take the ferry from here to Kangaroo Island, but be prepared to be self-sufficient.
West of Adelaide is the Yorke Peninsular, which is very pretty, and also great for riding. Continue a fair bit further west you reach the Eyre Peninsular, another very enticing and remote place which is well blessed with deserted roads, but less in the way of back up ground facilities.
South Australia has some great mountain biking, from city based marked trails to epic outback adventure, you can find them all here.
Kangaroo Island is a popular “rough stuff” ride (MTB or gravel), while the Mawson Trail makes for a real epic adventure. The trail is a mix of back roads, fire roads and dirt roads. It starts just north of Adelaide, and runs 900-km through the hills and countryside to the Finders Range, where you’ll also find great trails.
There are several loop rides around Riverton (marked), and you can even take on multi day supported tours from here to Alice Springs!
Check out www.southaustralia.com for downloadable maps and links
Barossa wines and wineries
Although the Barossa Valley is just 25-km long it produces more than 20% of Australian wine, making it the major wine-producing region in the country.
The valley is quite different to other wine growing regions in the country; it was first settled for wine production in 1842, by predominantly German immigrants, who divided things up in to small farms and plots to produce wine; something which has remained the case ever since. The result is that unlike other regions where wineries are huge, here in the Barossa that small boutique approach has continued, meaning that the valley is a veritable patchwork of around 80 small wineries, producing excellent white Rieslings and fruity red Shiraz varieties amongst many others.
The real wine boom started and was shaped when in 1847 vines were first planted in Jacob’s Creek, and we all know where that lead. Be sure to check out the Barossa Wine Centre in Tanunda.
Here’s a selection of some of the best wineries to pedal your way around when in the Barossa region.
Beasdow Wines in Tanunda - huge and busy place
Bethany Wines, Bethany - very scenic.
Chateau Dorrien, Dorrien – small winery that also produces interesting liqueurs.
Orlando Wines. Rowland Flat - Jacob’s Creek’s home winery.
Peter Lehman Wines, Tanunda - the regions most famous wine.
Seppelts, Seppeltsfield – a big and very interesting complex.
Yalumba, Angaston - famous for its blue marble clock tower.
Langmeil, Tanunda - the oldest surviving Shiraz vines in the Barossa.