the countryside, wine tasting in the many wineries, playing golf at the highly rated Clare 18hole Golf Course and all is well at lawn tennis courts.
you can hire bikes at Clare's Cycle Hire
cycling out to the old Jam Factory, which houses a much lauded Winery now.
and if you like to buy good, quality Olive Oil, you'll find it right here in Clare
at the Visitor Center you get all information and help you require for a pleasant stay in and around Clare Valley
Skilly Hill is an area located near Sevenhill. It makes for a wonderfully scenic drive and the area has a number of boutique cellar doors and vineyard lunchtime restaurants.
Skilly Hill also has a number of self-contained B&Bs.
Annie’s Lane at the Quelltaler Estate in Watervale is a MUST-SEE for all wine lovers.
Annie's Lane winemaker Caroline Dunn makes some wonderful wines at Annie's lane. Her wines have an emphasis on fruit ripeness and a savoury structure. She was the first woman to win the Jimmy Watson Trophy and after our visit to Annie's Lane at Quelltaler Estate we can see why.
Please try their Copper Trail Shiraz.
The winery also holds a number of events on it's estate so check it's homepage for more information. Wish I were there this month as on Jan 22nd 2005 will be hosting the SA leg of "A Day on the Green" tour with many famous performers and musicians.
Auburn is a small town at the southern end of the Clare Valley wine region.
Many of Auburns beautiful bluestone buildings are listed on the National Trust.
Auburn was one of the very first settlements in this region and it is steeped in history.
Their are many well-preserved heritage building in Auburn's St Vincent Street. This precinct has a number of restaurants and acoomodations.
Halfway between Mintaro and Sevenhill you'll find a number of small vineyards in the Polish Hill River Valley. Here it is worth visiting Pauletts Vineyard, with it's spectacular views from the cellar door and also Pikes, nestled in the valley itself.
There are other wineries in this area, but these were two that stand-out in my memory. Pikes makes some lovely crisp white wines and Pauletts (less famous than Pikes) had some delicious wines on offer too. The view from Paulettes cellar door alone makes the visit worthwhile.
Sevenhill is home to the oldest winery and vineyard in the Clare Valley - the Jesuit's Sevenhill Cellars. This winery is worth visiting for those not interested in wine also. The winery is in a delightful setting and you can visit the Jesuit St. Aloysius Church and it's crypt.
Sevenhill Cellars produces a number of excellent ports and wines.
Nearby is the Riesling Trail and there is a great picnic spot at the nearby Richardson Oval.
Mintaro is a wonderful little town and actually where we based ourselves when exploring the Clare Valley. It is in easy reach of the surrounding townships and the town itself is very quaint.
The town of Mintaro is a State Heritage Area. It's a small town that can be explored on foot. It has one main road and most of what you need is located on (or just off) that street.
Mintaro was established in 1849. I enjoyed the local cemeteries and thought the local cottages were very quaint also. The local pub was good fun, with a warm fire on a cold winters night and friendly locals to have a chat with.
Mintaro has a number of vineyards, two cellar door outlets, a boutique winery and an old country pub "The Magpie and Stump".
Accommodation is available. We hired a cottage, but there were B&Bs etc.
Mintaro is also famous for the magnificent Martindale Hall. Here you can see the gracious lifestyles that were once enjoyed by the early large-scale pastoralists. Martindale Hall is also, of course, famous for being the location where much of the film "Picnic at Hanging Rock" was filmed.
Crabtree is a small family run vineyard that produces a number of wonderful hand-crafted premium wines. Their muscat of Alexandria is delightful and we also enjoyed their Crabtree Watervale Riesling.
They produce small quantities of semillon, cabernet sauvignon and grenache, but their main wines are their riesling and shiraz.
I highly recommend including Crabtree of Watervale on your wine tour if you're interested in visiting one of the small boutique cellar doors in the Clare Valley.
Leasingham was once a small town that catered for the miners travelling from Burra to Port Wakefield. Now more of a road juntion than a village it is located between Auburn and Watervale in the Clare Valley.
There are a number of wineries in this area, so stop the car and have explore them.
My highlights from Watervale were Crabtree wines & Annie's Lane winery. Crabtree is a lovely boutique cellar door with some delicious wines to be tasted. We bought a dozen at a very reasonable price. Annie's Lane is a larger winery producing some very fine reds and crisp, fruity whites in the tradition of the Clare Valley. These two wineries were probably my favourites from this trip.
This small town also has a number of heritage buildings. If you pick-up a "Historic Walk" leaflet for the Clare Valley you can enjoy a leisurely stroll through this town and see the historic buildings on offer.
Quelltaler, in Watervale, also has a Wine Museum which was quite interesting.
Watervale is in close access to the Riesling Trail so it's a nice stopping off point for those exploring the area by bike or on foot also.
Flowering Gums are a variety of Gum Tree you will come across in the northern towns of Australia. They grow well here, so it was no surprise that I came across the one in my photo. It was April, and they were in flower.
This was a gum blossom I hadn't seen before, different and pretty! When you look at the blossom, you will see it isn't petals, but actually hundreds of stamens which attract pollinators such as insects or nectar-feeding birds. You will always find Honeyeaters getting nectar, a tip for Bird watcher's!
Gum blossoms are mainly white, but they do come in bright yellow, orange, vermilion, red, pink, lime and purple and maybe more colours, they are a real picture when in full bloom.
I really enjoy walking towns when I have a "historic walk" brochure to follow.
Luckily, our accommodation was next to the Information centre which is located on the Adelaide side of Clare. We were free to browse the centre which was chocked full of FREE brochures and booklets. The kind lady behind the desk gave me the Clare historic walk brochure, which had a detailed map and information about every sight on the walk.
Now we have the brochure, how about joining me as we discover some of Clare's historic buildings.
Allow anything between 1.5 - 2 hours to complete the walk. This doesn't include the Clare cemetery which we drove to later.
The Clare Information centre is located at 229 Main North Road Clare.
FREECALL: 1800 242 131
OPEN....9-5PM Monday - Saturday
10 - 4pm Sunday & Public Holidays.
This was our 1st building we came across, the now "TAFE" building, but was once the Clare Public School, opening its doors in August, 1879. By 1900, there were 162 students atttending School here! Eventually, more and more students came to School here, making this School too small and a new one needed to be built.
A TAFE college is where Adults can go and learn, doing either short or long courses.
Just a little further along Main North road from the Tafe College, is Clare Oval and its War Memorial Gates.
The Oval is located on the opposite side of the road.
Next to the Gates, make sure you look at the Glassed in 9th Light Horse Memorial, which has a Turkish Krupp field gun, Australian soldiers clothing and more on display.
It was 1884, when the Salvation Army came to Clare and the Mid-North. The Salvation army tries to help people, but here in Clare, the Officer's copped a lot of harrassment from the locals.
It was sold in 1996, and today, its a Hairdressing Salon.