Wine Tasting in South Australia

Clare in South Australia offers many wineries that are easily accessible by riding a bike on a beautiful dirt path. I recommend using e-bikes.

Day 344

Brittany and I were in Clare, South Australia, after spending a week driving into the “red center,” exploring the outback. Her flight back to New Zealand left the following day, so we decided to spend a day wine-tasting at Clare’s wineries. To get some exercise, we wanted to ride bikes around the path that connects many of the wineries. I called one of the bike places and asked for E-bikes (because who doesn’t want assistance with peddling when you’re drinking wine?). Unfortunately, the shop had three large groups that day and no available bikes. 

We found another place who said he’d get two e-bikes ready for us. While we waited, we walked around the hotel property and played around with the lamas that were curious about us.

When we arrived, Mick met us with the bikes in his shed. He was short, almost bald, and appeared to be in his late 50s. Mick explained that he had just bought the company and relocated it to his property, which also contains a hotel. The property was beautiful, with lots of land and trees. He planned to open the bike company on July 1st (it was June 1st), but the following weekend was a holiday. He knew the other local bike shop would need help filling requests, so he opened early to help with the demand. 

Mick wasn’t familiar with e-bikes, so he took one for a quick spin before we arrived. He warned us that the bikes could be powerful, and we’d need to be careful about how much juice we gave them. Brittany had never used an e-bike before, but I had been on a few different bike tours with e-bikes. Some that I’ve used before have been relatively weak, but others can be powerful. 

These bikes were the most powerful that I’ve used! E-bikes work like a regular bike, but they have a battery pack attached that will help to peddle for you. This bike had several levels of power to choose from. When riding on a flat surface, we kept it at a lower level, but it was great when we went uphill because we could use a power level that assisted in getting us up the hill with less effort.  

Brittany and I hopped on the bikes and drove across the field (or paddock as they say) to the Riesling Trail. Brittany was a natural on the bike. It was a little cold outside, but with our coats and gloves, it was bearable. It was a beautiful day outside with a bright blue sky. The trail was a dirt path surrounded by trees and bushes. We passed farms and wineries, which were like a storybook. Signs directed us to different wineries. 

We only used 20% power for most of the trail, and we were going fast! If we came up to someone on a regular bike, we quickly passed them. We got off the path and took a street to Skillogee winery in hopes of eating lunch. The road didn’t have a bike lane, so we rode on the side of the street. We zipped down a large hill, and the wind pierced through our coats. 

When we arrived at the winery, it was crowded for Saturday brunch. The property was adorable in an old wood and stone building with a fire burning in the fireplace. They didn’t have tables available but offered wine tasting. We agreed to the tastings, and I asked if it was free. The woman said it was and started pouring us some tastings. I was thrilled! In the U.S., wine tasting is around $10+ for four to six tastings. With it being free in Australia, I was inclined to a bottle on the way out. 

We ended up tasting twelve wines. The warm fireplace felt amazing after a cold ride. The wine helped warm us up too, but since I only had a protein shake for breakfast, the wine hit me hard. Brittany also felt it, and we knew we needed food. 

We looked online and saw that Seven Hills had a lunch option too, so we got back on our bikes. We rode up the large hill and onto the trail. We followed signs for Seven Hills, which took us through the woods and up hills. 

When we arrived, we discovered that we were in the tasting room, separate from the restaurant serving lunch. It would take a while to ride to the other part, so we enjoyed some tastings while we were there. 

After our tastings, we made our way back to the trail to find the restaurant but made a wrong turn. We rode for a while out of the way before we realized our mistake. We turned around and eventually made it back to the main street where we found the restaurant.

When we pulled up, we noticed that the sign said they had just closed for food orders. I pleaded with the woman at the front and explained we needed food. She agreed to let us inside if we ordered quickly. We followed her instructions and enjoyed our warm food. 

We were stuffed but kept riding our bikes. We ended up at another winery, Crabtree. We were the only people there and walked in at 4:00 pm (they closed at 4:30 pm). There was a short, older man serving wine for tastings. By this time, Brittany and I were feeling pretty good. We laughed hysterically as we explained our outback excursions to the man. He joined in with our laughter, and we had a blast. He bonded with Brittany when he said he loved the New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern.  

We were far from the bike rental place but had to ride back. It was getting colder by the minute. By the time we returned the bikes, it was dusk outside. We drove back to the motel to enjoy our final dinner together. 

The on-site restaurant was upscale and offered delicious food options. I was starting to feel sick and nauseous with an upset stomach. Brittany and I purchased a couple of bottles of wine on our adventure, but I couldn’t handle it anymore. It was a bummer because we planned on celebrating our trip with a bottle of wine. I ate soup, showered, and went to bed. 

The next morning, I had to put air in my tire again before driving. Once we arrived in Adelaide, I headed straight to the airport so Brittany wouldn’t miss her flight. We hugged and said our goodbyes before she walked inside the airport. 

I was so grateful that Brittany made the trip to Australia. It was the perfect way for me to adventure into the outback. It gave me the confidence going forward to go on my own. Before Brittany flew out, I didn’t know what to expect and was nervous about going it alone. After spending twelve days with her exploring, I knew what to expect, where to go, and how to camp in my car. It was hard saying goodbye to her, but my solo adventure needed to continue. 

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Throughout her wild 3-week journey backpacking 220+ miles in the California Sierra Mountains, Christy encountered freezing temperatures, pelting hail storms, and losing her way, but found trail family, incredible views, and experiences that would change her life forever. Hiking up and over ten different mountain passes gave Christy a lot of time to think about why her nine-year marriage was falling apart, gave her the chance to truly embody her individualism, time to make new friends, and the strength she would need on and off the trail. Her life could never again be the same.
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