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The team at Watervale Hotel are passionate about fresh local food and Clare Valley produce.
What else to do – by foot, cycle or car
The Clare Valley has an amazing diversity of experiences to enjoy. Here are just a few suggestions.
When in Watervale
Watervale is in the middle of the Clare Valley wine region, and tourism region. It is 15km south of Clare, 10km north of Auburn and 10km west of Mintaro. It takes less than 90 minutes to drive from Adelaide on the Northern Expressway. It is perfect for a Clare Valley holiday, or as a stopover on the way to the Flinders Ranges.
If you are staying in Watervale, or even if you are not, a visit to the Watervale General Store is a must. Chef Louise Haines cooks up a killer breakfast, and serves all day coffee and lunch.
The Crabtree Winery right opposite the Watervale Hotel is open every day, but Clos Clare, opposite Penobscot Farm is only open on weekends. In nearby Leasingham visit Claymore, and O’Leary Walker which has beautiful views, lunch and coffee. Great spot for kids to run around. Tim McNeil has an amazing view from his Cellar Door as well.
The historic Quelltaler Winery is currently closed but the Watervale Hotel has access to the venue for weddings and functions. It would make a wonderful place for a wedding or corporate function, catered for by the Watervale Hotel.
Watervale Hotel Wine Masterclass
Start your Clare Valley experience off by learning what makes the Clare Valley so unique. Be guided through traditional owners, history, geology, geography, climate & culture, whilst you taste six wines in a one hour masterclass. Wines selected by Sommelier Warrick Duthy from our 2021 Best Pub Restaurant Wine List in Australia.
The Lavender Trail is a 325km walking trail from Murray Bridge to Clare. If you do it all you will be needing a good feed by the time you get to Watervale, 310kms in.
Otherwise just do the 10km walk from Mintaro, around Mount Horrocks and to Watervale for lunch, before heading off for another 15km to Clare.
The Riesling Trail
The Riesling Trail is not just for cycling. It is a 10km walk from Auburn to Watervale with O'Leary Walker a recommended stop for coffee. Alternatively take a 15km walk from Clare to Watervale via the Sevenhill Monastery and Cellars.
Best Cycling in Clare Valley
There are three kinds of cycling adventures in the Clare Valley and surrounds.
The roads are ideal for road cyclists, which is why the Clare Classic operators chose our region to hold their event. The Horrocks Highway is currently being upgraded, and when they have finished the surface will be outstanding.
There are tracks for mountain bikers in the Spring Gully Conservation park and other off track sites. For real mountain bike obsessed stop in at the Watervale Hotel on the way to Mount Remarkable one hour to the north – a world famous downhill track.
For the less fit or thrill-seeking among us, or simply those more interested in food, wine, history or relaxation you can hire a bike to see much of the Valley.
The Clare Valley is famous for the Riesling Trail, a bike path built on the site of the old railway line. It isn’t flat, but its not that challenging either. There are some other great rides on the roads either side of the Riesling Trail, but then it gets a bit more hilly. The Horrock’s Loop through Skilly Valley is a must!
If you are fit enough and want a work-out you have an wide range of wineries and attractions to visit. If n you have not, hire an e-bike.
We suggest leisurely half or one day rides (more dependent upon your speed than length), with the start point determining the suggested routes.
The Riesling Trail
From Auburn ride 10km north to Watervale for lunch stopping at O'Leary Walker, and Claymore wineries on the way. Crabtree is ideal just before or after lunch.
From Clare drop in at the Sevenhill Monastery on the way to the Watervale Hotel, and then take the Horrock's loop and visit Penna Lane, Kilikanoon, Mitchells, Skillogalee and Jeanerret before riding back along Gillentown Road.
The Rattler Trail
Best Driving Tours in and around Clare Valley
A day trip to Burra is a must. The history and heritage assets of this old mining town are outstanding.
There are also some great walks in Redhills Conservation Park.
From Watervale you can go via Clare and come back via Mintaro, or the other way around.
The Skilly Valley
The Skillogalee Valley drive is a must for wine lovers. Penna Lane, Kilikanoon, Mitchells, Skillogalee and Jeanerret are all close, whilst Stonebridge is not much further north on Gillentown Road.
Spring Gully is a great extension visiting Eldredge and Sussex Squire as well as great place to picnic at sunset.
Mintaro is home to the Mintaro Maze, a favorite for kids, and the nearby historical museum Martindale Hall.
A walk around this heritage town is lovely, stopping to lunch at either Reilly's Winery or the Magpie and Stump Hotel. Check out Jen Prior's art gallery too.
Go to Mintaro or back via Pikes and Paulett in the Polish Hill River region.
Auburn is an ideal visit on the way into the Clare Valley, or way back to Adelaide.
Check out KT and Mount Horrock's wineries, and grab a coffee at Velvet and Willow.
Terroir Restaurant is excellent!
Only 8km north of Clare is the historic Bungaree Station, still home to the Hawker Family.
You can visit Jim Barry Wines run by Peter Barry and his sons, and Mark Barry's well named 'Mad Bastard' winery on the way out north.
If staying outside of Clare, the commercial centre of our region is worth a visit to do your shopping.
There are several great places to eat - notably Seed Restaurant, Umbria for Italian, and Indii for Indian food. 1871 is best for coffee and light breakfast.
Best Day Trips & Overnights from the Clare Valley
The Yorke Peninsula is a rural area known for its broad acre farming. From a tourist perspective it has so many amazing beaches, and you can easily find yourself alone on one.
A little over an hour north of Clare is the Mount Remarkable Conservation Park is well named. It has fantastic walks but is better known for its world standard downhill cycling tracks. Melrose at the Mountains foot is a lovely town with nice hotels. Check out Laura on the way.
Its only a hour to the Barossa Valley from Clare. Seppeltsfield historic winery is a must visit. Nearby Hentley Farm has an amazing long lunch if you have the time.
Greenock is emerging. Try El Estanco for lunch.
The town of Angaston is a pretty town.
The River Murray
Morgan on the River Murray is only an hour and a quarter from Watervale. You can hire a houseboat in Morgan for a lazy cruise up this wonderful river.
More likely the Watervale Hotel is an ideal stop-over meal to and from the Flinders Ranges around three and a half hours north.
Make sure you visit the Prairie Hotel in Parachilna, Brachina Gorge, Arkaroola, and of-course Wilpena Pound.
Only 90 minutes west of the Clare Valley is the beautiful beach town of Wallaroo and neighboring copper triangle towns Kadina and Moonta.
You can take your dog onto North Beach near Wallaroo.
Best art galleries
There are several galleries in Clare. Check out the Visitors Centre and see if there is an exhibition there before traveling north to the Clare Art gallery specializing in Aboriginal art. Further north again is Blackman art galley. In town is the Mill Street Gallery.
Art in Auburn has exhibitions at 36 Main North Road whilst the HATs art centre also promote dramatic art.
The Burra Regional Art Gallery in Market Street hosts monthly high quality exhibitions alongside of permanent collections, sculpture garden and events.
Best activities with kids
The model train rides in Melrose Park next to Inchiquin lake operate every second and fourth weekend of each month.
The Burra Passport self guided tour operated by the National Trust and the Goyder Council is an excellent way to tour this heritage mining town at your own pace, and with the certainty that you are not missing anything.
Bungaree Station runs farm stay and farm tours. It is a fantastic way to understand life in pioneering times on a massive sheep station.
Mini Golf at Rice Creek just east of Auburn on the Saddleworth Road is a great place to entertain the kids.
The Mintaro Maze is a real favorite with children. It is hard for them to get lost, but it will exercise their minds for an hour or so.
Richardson Park between the town of Sevenhill and the Sevenhill Monastery is a fantastic playground for energetic kids. It has a flying fox and other great activities.