Wine and Dine in Adelaide and South Australia

By Rachel Pinder

If you're looking for a different Australian holiday option this year, think Adelaide. Just a four hour direct flight from Auckland or a two hour flight from Sydney, it's so close – and there's always something going on to tempt your tastebuds and keep you busy!

Superb dining, great shopping and glorious beaches are all close by in this '20-minute city', but don't forget to spend some time discovering the neighbouring regions as well! Whether it's Barossa wine, Kangaroo Island wildlife, Murray River or the Outback, pick up a rental car and explore at your own pace, or base yourself in Adelaide and join one of the many day or overnight tours.

South Australia is known as the heart of Australia's wine and food scene. In Adelaide, you’ll find entire streets devoted to dining and the surrounding wine regions offer some decadent eating experiences. Take your tastebuds on a tour – there are 260 cellar doors across the state's 17 wine regions, and most are within 90 minutes drive of the city. Start in the Adelaide Hills, just a short 20-minute drive away, then continue north to the Barossa and Clare Valley, or south to McLaren Vale and the Fleurieu Peninsula.

But before you head out into the wine regions of South Australia, ensure you pick up one of the great value Cheese & Wine Trail or Barossa Butcher, Baker, Winemaker Trail, designed to ensure you get a real taste of South Australia. You’ll pick up complimentary bottles of wine, exclusive winery tours, VIP tastings and more on your journey!

Wining and dining in South Australia. Image courtesy of South Australian Tourism Association.

With more than 700 restaurants and ‘eat streets’ dedicated to dining, Adelaide really is one of the best food and wine cities in Australia. Stroll down Hutt Street and soak up the classy yet laidback atmosphere. Rundle Street is given over to al fresco dining with a focus on Mediterranean food – a vibrant wine, food and café experience not to be missed. Haigh’s Chocolate Factory, at the end of Rundle Street makes for a delicious break from shopping. Gouger Street, with its seafood restaurants and authentic Chinese and Vietnamese cafes, is right beside the city's fresh food hub, the Adelaide Central Market.

Foodies will love the sights, tastes and smells of the Adelaide Central Market. Regarded as the ‘pantry of the city’, it has a wonderful atmosphere and a huge variety of regional produce, meat, fish and gourmet specialties. You can take a gourmet tasting tour with a local food expert or wander at your leisure.

Lonely Planet recently listed Adelaide as a Top 10 City to visit in 2014, describing it as “a city of on-going transformation, Adelaide boasts diverse and inspired eateries, “supercool” micro-bars and quirky boutique shopping strips”. Check out some of the city’s new pop up bars and eateries located along Leigh, Peel and Waymouth Streets.

Locals' Top Tip: Free bus and tram transport is the best way to get around Adelaide. Hop on and off at the Adelaide Central Market, wander the cultural boulevard of North Terrace, meet the Giant Pandas at Adelaide Zoo, browse the shopping precinct of Rundle Mall and enjoy the beachside suburb of Glenelg.

A 20 minute drive east of Adelaide is the historic Adelaide Hills. The region makes a great stopover on the way to the Murray River and is known for its premium white and sparkling wines. There are over 30 cellar doors, many with onsite restaurants offering dishes that showcase the local produce – check out the Adelaide Hills Boutique Winery Trail.

The Adelaide Hills Food Trails, cooking schools and the local markets are a great way to sample the region’s fresh and gourmet produce, and arts and crafts. Be sure to taste the local specialty – a hot chocolate from Chocolate @ No5.

A stop at the German township of Hahndorf is a must. Enjoy a traditional German beer at the Hahndorf Inn before browsing the boutique art and craft stores along the main street. In the afternoon, enjoy a scenic drive through the quaint villages, national parks and cooking schools of the Adelaide Hills.

Locals' Top Tip: Udder Delights Cheese Cellar on the main street of Hahndorf is a great spot for a good coffee and cheese tasting.

Wining and dining in South Australia. Image courtesy of South Australian Tourism Association.

Just an hour's drive from Adelaide, the Barossa is one of Australia’s most famous wine regions and renowned for its wine, food and cultural experiences. Stock up on picnic supplies at the Saturday morning Barossa Farmers Market, then spend the afternoon exploring some of the region’s 60 cellar doors. Whether you're visiting the big label wineries of Wolf BlassJacob's Creek and Yalumba, or discovering the hidden boutique cellar doors, you’ll find plenty to keep you busy! If a champion beer is what you’re after, stop in at the Barossa Brewing Company for a tasting on the weekends.

Become a winemaker for a day at Penfold’s Winery where you can experience a Make Your Own Blend tour.  Don a lab coat in the winemakers lab, and try your hand at blending your own wine from Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvedre, like Penfolds’ own Bin 138. You’ll even receive a 375ml personalised bottle of your own blend as a memento!

The Barossa Butcher, Baker, Winemaker Trail card is a great way to discover Barossa's locally produced wine and food. Collect your souvenir hamper containing 100% Barossa-made produce and travel the region picking up additional goodies, a bottle of wine and discounts on various regional experiences.

While food and wine experiences are easily accessible in the Barossa, you can also enjoy hot air ballooning over the vineyards, bushwalking and cycling or a relaxed stroll through the many charming towns and antique stores. Don’t miss Mengler’s Hill Lookout at sunset, a great scenic spot with spectacular views over the region.

Locals' Top Tip: Stop in at Maggie Beer's Farm Shop at 2pm daily for a free cooking demonstration and one of the best coffees in the region!

Known as the Riesling capital of Australia, the Clare Valley is a scenic 90 minute drive north of Adelaide. Just a 30 minute drive north of the Barossa, the region makes a great stopover on the way to the Flinders Ranges and the Outback. Most of the 38 cellar doors are small and family-owned, and can be found everywhere from churches, to quaint cottages and farm sheds. As well as the Valley's knockout rieslings, you'll find some very fine examples of other varietals, including cabernets and shiraz.

Great wine has its natural partner in gourmet food, and the Clare Valley is just as passionate about its produce as its wines. Try the local Saltbush lamb, visit one of the region's many cooking schools, and stop at the historic Sevenhill Cellars, where Jesuit priests and brothers have been producing wines since 1851.

Locals' Top Tip: To experience and enjoy the Clare Valley's wines at your leisure, hire a bicycle and spend the day cycling or walking the Riesling Trail. The 35km trail links wineries and villages throughout the region allowing you to stop and taste as you go!

Cycling the Riesling Trail, Clare Valley. Image courtesy of South Australian Tourism Commission.

A 45 minute drive south of Adelaide is the picturesque McLaren Vale wine region on the Fleurieu Peninsula. Known for its shiraz and crisp sauvignon blancs, not to mention the 80 year old Grenache vines, the region offers a brilliant blend of sensory experiences best explored by self drive.

The region’s 76 cellar doors offer a bevy of wine and beachside experiences, perfect for keeping the whole family happy. Wine lovers are truly spoilt for choice so ‘design’ your trip before you go to ensure you don't miss a thing! D'ArenbergCorioleWirra Wirra and Chapel Hill are all ‘must visits’ before ending the day with a walk along Willunga beach and watching the sun set from the famous Star of Greece café.

The main street of McLaren Vale is home to its own unique food experiences. You won't leave empty handed after a visit to the Almond Train, where you'll find uniquely delicious treats. Wander a bit further and you'll come to Medlow’s ConfectioneryBlessed Cheese and the Olive Grove.

Locals' Top Tip: ‘Meet the grower and taste the region’ at the Willunga Farmers Market on Saturday mornings. It was the first Farmers Market to be established in South Australia and is now considered one of the best!

Images supplied by South Australian Tourism Commission. For holiday information on Adelaide and South Australia, visit 

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Wining and dining in South Australia. Image courtesy of South Australian Tourism Association.