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 its route.
SA is without a 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.
If you’re thinking of heading down there in person you really should take your bike and stay on for a few days of riding, or better still, plan a dedicated riding trip to the area, it will not disappoint.
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 riders 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 is 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 prepare 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 backup 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 900km 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.
BAROSSA WINES AND WINERIES
Although the Barossa Valley is just 25km long it produces more than 20 per cent 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 into small farms and plots to produce wine; something which has remained the case ever since.
The result is that unlike other regions where wineries can be industrial in scale, in the Barossa that small boutique approach has continued, with the valley 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.