The 28 kilometre Coast to Vines Trail begins at Marino Rocks and meanders its way to McLaren Vale, where it links up with the 9 kilometre Shiraz Trail. The dedicated two-way bicycle and pedestrian path follows the original rail corridor from Marino to Willunga.
The Coast to Vines Trail is divided into five sections:
Through the reserve and beyond the wetland, the trail climbs to regain the original rail corridor. Travelling east the trail heads towards the Southern expressway (unfortunately interrupted by work on the Seaford Rail extension at the moment). The trail then turns south, sharing the track with the veloway, before continuing under South Road into Old Reynella.
At Old Reynella the track is lined with pine trees and is only a stone's throw from the main street (Old South rd) and its shops. Image by writer.
At Old Reynella the trail follows the original Goodwood-Willunga railway line, which opened in 1915. From Old Reynella to Hackham all the old station locations are marked with signs which have interesting facts on the area.
Passing through Coorara the path heads into Morphett Vale and along the old railway cuts and fills.
An elevated section of the track at Morphett Vale. Most of the track is tree lined from Old Reynella to Hackham.
An insight into suburban life can be glimpsed as you pass through Hackham. The track passes the Olive Farm, a heritage farmhouse built in 1850; the surrounding olive trees date to 1860. After leaving Hackham the trail continues parallel to Main South Road, the surrounding area opening up to wide, open fields and new housing estates.
The path passes under the Southern Expressway and Veloway through this long, echo filled tunnel at Huntfield Heights.
35kms south of Adelaide at Korro, you enter the spectacular Onkaparinga river reserve, which is a haven for native flora and fauna. Photography, canoeing, fishing, rock-climbing and bushwalking can be enjoyed by users of the recreation park and wetlands. Noarlunga gets its name from the Kaurna word Nurlungga meaning at the corner, which refers to the horseshoe shaped loop of the Onkaparinga river at Old Noarlunga.
View of the Onkaparinga river from the old 1930's girder bridge which has been restored for users. Image by writer.
After the Onkaparinga wetlands, the trail hugs the new Seaford rail extension before heading back inland through Moana, primarily a farming region until the late twenties when property developers subdivided the land. The last passenger train passed through here in 1957; in 1972 the rail track was removed.
Colourful, modern roadbridge over the new Seaford railway extension. Image by writer.
The trail opens out into the large expanses of Willunga basin which once supported a diversity of vegetation. However with its fertile soils and accessible plains, the basin was attractive to developers and sadly, now only 3% of the original vegetation remains. Further on is Pedlar creek, a site of environmental and cultural significance to the Kaurna people. This section of the track really feels like you are out in the countryside.
Old timber bridge at Pedlar creek. You can walk or cycle from Pedlar creek to the pristine beach at Moana. Image by writer.
Almond trees and scrubland gradually give way to green expanses of grape vines on the approach to McLaren Vale. If you are feeling extra energetic, you can continue past the McLaren Vale Fleurieu Visitors Centre and head the 9kms to Willunga on the Shiraz trail. All in all, a relaxing ride with varied and interesting scenery. And more importantly, flat most of the way!
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