A freelance writer, reviewer and broadcaster passionate about South Australia's fabulous wine and food.
Published March 24th 2015
Meander through the Vale and beyond
The Shiraz Trail
This picturesque walking, horse-riding and cycling trail runs through the heart of the McLaren Vale Wine Region, from Stump Hill Road, at the entrance to McLaren Vale township, to the historic neighbouring village of Willunga.
The Shiraz Trail is a 9 kilometre section of the longer Coast to Vines Rail Trail and follows the line of the old railway track, which closed down in 1972, terminating at the former Willunga station.
The site of each of the old railway stations is marked along the way by shelters and picnic areas, and there are children's playgrounds at the McLaren Vale & Fleurieu Visitor Information Centre, McLaren Vale Station and the Rose Garden in Willunga.
Heading south east through McLaren Vale, the Trail allows a leisurely visit to shops and wineries en route, before the scenery turns to flourishing rows of grapevines.
At McMurtrie Road, travellers can loop off the Trail for a trip down the McMurtrie Mile, a welcoming cluster of boutique cellar doors plus a café and bed and breakfast, each offering a unique experience to visitors.
At the McLaren Vale Railway Station the Shiraz Trail Labyrinth can be found and this presents a quiet place to sit and meditate. The Labyrinth was designed by renowned artist Cedar Prest and constructed by a group of dedicated volunteers – see if you can find their names along the path.
Just past the Main Road crossing at Willunga is the Hans Christian Anderson seat, a quirky memorial to the children's author. Willunga offers many cafés and galleries along slate lined streets dating back to early days as a slate mining community and on Saturday mornings there is a thriving Farmers' Market in the main street.
The Trail is surfaced along its length and is suitable for wheelchairs and pushers. Trail user protocol dictates cyclists give way to all users and walkers give way to horse-riders. Dogs on leash are permitted and there are several water stations along the way for humans, dogs and horses.