Cycling in Melbourne Australia
My better half and I just spent a week tandem riding on the Clare Valley Riesling Trail about 110kms north of Adelaide South Australia.
We began by basing ourselves at the Rising Sun Hotel at Auburn. Lovely old historic hotel, clean and comfortable run by a wonderful family and staff providing excellent company, food and wine.
Rising Sun Hotel Auburn
We spent the first day exploring Auburn. A beautiful old town with many 1800 and 1900 buildings. The homes on the river side of the Main North Road are especially charming. Cygnet Cafe was also a good place for lunch.
Next day we rode the Rattler Trail 19kms to Riverton which was once a major transport hub. We also diverted to the lovely little township of Rhynie. The Rattler Trail is washed away in a few places from the December rains but easily gotten around. Had our only 3 flat tires for the week on this trail due to the three corner jacks. Riverton is a pretty town with informative attractions like the Pioneer Garden. While it sounds like an odd observation but a practical one, the public toilets here and throughout the Clare Valley are outstanding - clean with paper, soap and handtowels.
The next day we rode to the lovely old towns and hamlets of Leasingham, Watervale and Penwortham. Penwortham has the particular interest of the oldest house in the Clare Valley that was originally built for Horrocks butler, John Green. Horrocks was the pioneer/explorer who first introduced vines to the valley. His grave faces North South, a direction apparently reserved for explorers.
Greens (Horrocks) Cottage Penwortham
Skillogalee Winery Restaurant
Next day we set off for Clare about 24kms up the Riesling Trail. Because the Trail follows the old railway line, the maximum grade is 5% or less making it a good but not difficult ride. Along the way we visited the Sevenhill Jesuit winery and church - very beautiful place. We then had a great lunch and wine at the Sevenhill Hotel a modern well renovated and expanded establishment.
Sevenhill Aloysuis Church
In Clare we stayed at the Clare Hotel, better known as the "Middle Pub". Nice people, good food and a lively bar on a Thursday night. Get to know everything about everyone - lot of fun! Clare is a historic town with lots of nice public buildings. Good Thai up the street.
Clare "Middle Pub"
Next day we went to the north end of the Trail about 8kms. Met a very nice and funny couple on the trail who are touring Australia and had a great stock of interesting tales. Discovered Knappstein Sparkling Riesling on the way back to the Clare Hotel. Bought some mettwurst, mixed cheeses and olives on that way back to the Middle Pub. All together a great late lunch.
Next day we rode back to Auburn and the Rising Sun via Mintaro. Stopped at Polish Hill and Pikes Winery - an early and relatively large rural Polish Community (wine is good too). In Mintaro we looked up a lady who once had a B&B we had stayed at about 10 years ago. Great to have a cup of tea and catch up. She and her husband travel extensively and she has a great stock of interesting stories.
Pikes Winery Polish Hill
We had lunch at Reilly's. Excellent lunch and great wine.
On the way we stopped to watch a bit of the Aussie Rules match and chat to the gatekeepers. Back at the Rising Sun we had a great lunch and wine.
On our last day we mooched around Auburn including tasting Horrocks wines at the old railway station. The cafe serves good coffee and cake. We had another look at the town and then sat down to a perfect Scotch Fillet at the Rising Sun with more good wine. After that we went to the roadhouse and boarded the bus back to Adelaide. The driver who had taken us to the Auburn the week before had left a luggage bay clear for our tandem - great service and a really nice guy.
In summary, a wonderful cycling holiday with friendly helpful people in a beautiful place with first class food and wines. We will be back.