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McLaren Vale and Fleurieu Coast Travel Blog

Get the word on McLaren Vale and Fleurieu Coast with great tips and ideas from our team of local writers.

Fun things to do in Spring in McLaren Vale and Fleurieu Coast 

Fun things to do in Spring in McLaren Vale and Fleurieu Coast 

Spring time in McLaren Vale and Fleurieu Coast is in full bloom and with the October school holidays almost upon us, we have created this guide to include some amazing things to do with friends, kids and even your dog on a day out or better still a few days away in our beautiful region.

Here are some of our suggestions! 

Take the scenic route  

One of the best ways to relax and unwind is to take the scenic route as you explore the Mclaren Vale and Fleurieu Coast. You’re in for a treat meandering the gentle winding roads, enjoying the rolling country-side vistas, all adding to the air of romance.  

There’s Clarendon with its quaint buildings and lovely antiques, the historic town of Kangarilla (make sure you drop into Yangarra Estate Vineyards while you’re there), Coromandel Valley (the Sturt Linear Trail is a great place to stretch the legs with coffee in hand from the local bakery and Old Reynella - a town full of historic cottages (find them on Corn Street). Your scenic route isn’t complete without a visit to Geoff Merrill Wines, nestled amid four acres of vineyards, landscaped gardens and a dam which a large family of geese and ducks also call home. For that nip of something special, you can’t miss Horndale Distillery (it could be a regular ‘port’ of call – the liquid variety of course). 

Route 31 Coastal Drive 

Route 31 Coastal Drive takes in the 31kms of our beautiful coastline (yes, you guessed it, that’s the connection to the name), from O’Sullivan Beach to Sellicks Beach and everywhere in between. From holiday favourites to hidden gems, this stunning stretch of coastline is a must visit for your next road trip. 

The scenic drive lets you take in the amazing seaside views together with our coastal villages, each offering their own unique vibe as well as providing a great mix of things to see, do and explore. To help you plan your trip, our coastal drive map below will have you exploring like a local. Or download to keep it handy!

Port Willunga McLaren Vale and Fleurieu Coast

Jump On Your Bike 

The Coast to Vines Rail Trail is one of South Australia's and Fleurieu Peninsula's most scenic cycling and walking trails. It follows the original steam train rail corridor that operated from Adelaide to Willunga. It is suitable for bike riders of any age and you can be as relaxed and leisurely as you like, or you can put the pedal to the medal! Make sure you don't miss some of the Instagram worthy stops on the way and be sure to use our #valeandcoast.

Another terrific ride is the Shiraz Trail, a 7km stretch of shared path from McLaren Vale to Willunga celebrating the world-renowned food and wine offerings in McLaren Vale and Fleurieu Coast, including cycling-friendly wineries that you can stop at for lunch, locally brewed beers, and regional tasting platters. You can cycle, walk, skate, walk or run as far or as little as you like, as you meander your way through the vineyard landscape.

There are plenty of wineries, parks, reserves and beaches to explore along the way. If walking is more your pace, pick a section and enjoy the great views and fresh air.

The McLaren Vale and Fleurieu Coast Visitor Centre is a great place to start if you need to hire a bike, push bikes and e-bikes are both available. 

Riding Coast to Vines Trail in McLaren Vale and Fleurieu Coast

Travelling With Your Pets 

The spring sunshine and warmer weather provides for great experiences to enjoy with your fur-babies, as the McLaren Vale and Fleurieu Coast offers a range of pet-friendly experiences from dog friendly cafés, wineries and breweries. Some even offer treats for your fur baby too! 

Here are some local favourites that would love to say hi to you and your pooch. You can check out more here 

Alpha Box & Dice, McLaren Vale – winery with handmade dog biscuits 

Gemtree - winery 

Dogridge - winery 

Mollydooker - winery 

Samuels Gorge - winery 

Hugh Hamilton - winery 

Goodiesons, McLaren Vale – brewery 

The Farm, Willunga – café 

Boy and Bloom South  - cafe, they even have a menu just for your furry friend! 

Stump Hill Cafe - located at McLaren Vale and Fleurieu Coast Visitor Centre 

Agatha's Food Store - cafe in Port Noarlunga 

Maxwell's Grocery - cafe in Aldinga 

Ripple and Swirl - cafe located at Christies Beach 

A paw-fect way to start the day is a visit to either the Minkarra Dog Park at Flagstaff Hill or Symonds Reserve Dog Park at Aldinga Beach. These off-leash parks are a dog pleaser, featuring lots of space to play and refreshing drink fountains. Minkarra is popular for its dog exercise equipment, whilst Symonds Reserve offers separate small and large dog areas.  

A recent addition for a new ‘dogs day out experience’ is the Dinton Farm Reserve. The reserve features a dog park equipped with perimeter fencing, drink fountain with doggie bowl, lawn area and large shade trees to watch your dog play and meet other dogs.  

There is also a range of fantastic recreational trails to explore with your pet on-leash including the Coast to Vines trail, Coast Park trail and Minkarra Park trails. 

We can't forget the dog friendly beaches on offer! (on leash or off leash) With plenty of areas to enjoy some off-leash exercise, there is something for everyone. These beaches have off-leashed areas:

Christies Beach

Port Noarlunga South


Maslin Beach

Aldinga Beach

Sellicks Beach

It's handy to know that your dog needs to be under effective control at all times and must be leashed to and from the off-leash area.

Travelling with Kids 

McLaren Vale and Fleurieu Coast is a playground on a gigantic scale with all activities designed to ensure families aren’t short of things to do and Spring is the perfect time to explore! 

There are plenty of family-friendly wineries  that are child friendly too, here are the top cellar door spots for kids. Many of them have plenty to do in the spring/summer season in 2022, so get out there and explore! 

Gemtree – Kids can say hello to the sheep and two alpacas, Gus and Caruso. A playground, toy box and kids packs are available. Plus there’s a massive hill to roll down and the eco-trail and nature reserve is a must do!  

Maxwell Wines -  Maze – First planted in 1990, the maze is fully grown with plenty of opportunity to get lost. 

Woodstock Wines  - Wildlife sanctuary (paid visits) – Supervised feeding time is 11:30am daily for the western grey kangaroos and wallabies. A lovely playground too . Bookings are required and can be made online.

Lazy Ballerina – If you love Pizza, this is a must do and the kids are well and truly taken care of with the  gardens to explore, a bocce area and a massive paddock with a swinging ropes and balls 

McCarthys Orchard – Be greeted by the pony and donkeys as soon as you enter this awesome spot. The kids can also explore the outdoor area, complete with a rope swing and boat to play in. Their apple and cheddar toasties served with delicious golden north ice-cream are also a must try!  

Woodstock Wildlife Sanctuary im McLaren Vale and Fleurieu Coast

Playgrounds are a must do! 

Jubilee Park at Port Noarlunga is always a winner and voted one of South Australia’s best playgrounds. The adventure playground is home to a collection of castles, forts, slippery dips, swings, and a ball game space. There’s plenty of seating, shelter, BBQ facilities, plus walking and cycling tracks. Don’t forget to pack your picnic basket and rug! 

Other great playgrounds include: 

Frank Hilton Reserve, Maslin Beach 

Gemtree Wines, McLaren Flat 

Market Square, Old Noarlunga 

McLaren Vale & Fleurieu Coast Visitor Centre, McLaren Vale 

Rotary Park, Christies Beach 

Thalassa Park (including the storybook walk), Aberfoyle Park 

Wilfred Taylor Reserve - Morphett Vale 

Woodstock Wines, McLaren Flat 

Find out more on Top Playgrounds 

To Market to Market

Spring weather and Saturday mornings means a visit to the Willunga Farmers Market! The award winning market is home to over 80 producers, think fresh fruit and veg, meat, fish, artisan bread, cheese, cakes and pastries, the list goes on! Grab a coffee and a gourmet toastie as you wander, then fill your basket with fresh Fleurieu produce! Then, why not go and explore the main street where you will find galleries and studios brimming with mosaics, glass, silver jewellery, and furniture abound. Meanwhile, op shops and other stops, featuring vintage bric-a-brac, retro clothing and curios await discovery.

willunga farmers market mclaren vale fleurieu coast

Off to the Beach! 

Spring is still a perfect time to visit the beach, with some stunning beaches and a variety of water-based activities, there is something for everyone! 

Aldinga Beach is one of our top picks, one of the only beaches that you are able to drive on in the region, pack the dog, kids and big BBQ picnic and settle in for the sunset. 

The crisp white sand at Christies Beach makes for the ideal walk through to Port Noarlunga and then why not enjoy snorkeling the reef and see what sealife you can spot or  try your hand at fishing off the jetty and seeing what fresh fish you can catch for lunch or dinner! 

Sellicks Beach Mclaren Vale and Fleurieu Coast

Discover more to do with the kids 

Get your Nature Fix 

Onkaparinga River National Park is a spectacular hidden treasure of the region. In Spring, enjoy the wildflowers in bloom. There is a magnificent display and the whole park comes alive at this gorgeous time of year! 

There’s plenty of native animals around the park, including kangaroos, koalas, echidnas, kookaburras, magpies and more. See how many you can spot with the family. 

Enjoy a small walk with a barbecue and a picnic at the end. There’s two public barbecue areas in the park, at Chapel Hill Picnic Ground in the heart of McLaren Vale and Perry’s Bend in Noarlunga Downs. There’s also plenty of other seating and amenities, including Sundews Lookout, Pink Gum Campground or others north towards Clarendon. 

Walk and wander. While there’s a selection of more challenging hiking trails throughout the park, the Punchbowl Lookout Trail is just an hour return, and great for visitors of all ages and abilities. 

Bushwalking Onkaparinga River National Park

Gin and Beers Lovers Unite 

Not only is McLaren Vale and Fleurieu Coast known for its wineries, there are some awesome breweries and distilleries to explore. Give some of these a try!

Settlers Spirits – One of the first distilleries in the region, Settlers now crafts a selection of gin, Whisky, liqueurs, Rum and Vodka. They offer tastings of their products in their distillery door and even masterclasses for gin too.  

The Salopian Inn – Known for their fresh local fare and home to one of the most abundant bars in the region. Over 100 gins (mostly Australian and South Australian) grace the shelves, including two of their own gins.  

Penny Red Beer Co, The Range (McLaren Vale)

Their beers are all brewed & served onsite. The character filled brewery & taphouse is located on a beautiful vineyard in The Range, just minutes drive from McLaren Vale. The location offers incredible views across the vines, it's the perfect spot to enjoy a beer & take in the surroundings with family & friends.

Vale Brewing, Beresford, McLaren Flat 

One of the first breweries to come out of McLaren Vale, Vale Ale, is now popular throughout the state. They boast a variety of beers in their range, from their flagship ale and lager to their summer favourite Mid Coast Bright Ale and their IPA. Experience a structured tasting at their new home at Vale Taphouse, set amongst the spectacular vineyards of McLaren Flat and home to ever-popular Vale Brewing, is an exciting state-of-the-art micro-brewing facility, visitor centre and restaurant all wrapped up in one.

Never Never Distilling Co. – Voted the World’s Best Classic Gin at the prestigious 2019 World Gin Awards in London. Part of the Chalk Hill Collective, Gin, Wine and Pizza, is there any better combination! 

Swell Brewing – Try your hand at food and beer matching at this poplar brewshed. It’s a fun, family friendly place with a large lawned area where kids and dogs are welcome 

Shifty Lizard Co and Soul Bird Distilling –With quirky names and eye-catching illustrated labels, the brews are certainly conversation starters! 

Kick Back Brewing is the newest addition to Aldinga. Choose from the charming indoor space or the spacious beer garden and the comfort food daily is a treat.

Check out the brewery trail!

Image  - SATC

Never Never Distillery Mclaren Vale and Fleurieu Coast

Events Galore!

The spring season also brings some wonderful events. Experience the internationally renowned food and wine, eclectic mix of arts and culture, as well as the spectacular nature and great outdoors. Discover them here


With so many things to see and do, you might need somewhere to rest your head and throughout McLaren Vale and Fleurieu Coast, there are all sorts of accommodation options to choose from. Think hotel, vineyard B&B’s, caravan parks, luxury cabins, camping and much more! 

Plan your itinerary here. All you need to do is click on the heart symbol on any of the tourism business to start planning.

So what's first on the to do list?!









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