your ideal McLaren Vale accommodation to explore the famous wine region and beyond:
Find tips and recommendations on cellar doors, restaurants, beaches and National Parks in the McLaren Vale and on the Fleurieu Peninsula
The obvious reason for most visitors to the McLaren Vale wine region is the amazing food and wine we have to offer. Absolutely justifies a trip at any time – but there is more to the region that most visitors are oblivious to and that would easily justify a longer stay.
Whether it is our historic townships like Willunga, Clarendon and Port Noarlunga with its many historic trust buildings, cafés and restaurants, or the Onkaparinga River National Park that is offering activities for all levels of fitness. And then there is the more than 30 kilometres of spectacular coastline, with its magnificent cliffs, long unspoiled beaches, reefs for diving/snorkelling and all sorts of other water sport activities.
McLaren Vale is also the gateway to the Fleurieu Peninsula and your stay at Karawatha Cottages could be your perfect base to explore the Peninsula.
Whatever you are up to, we have listed here a few options for you and have more info in your cottage – but please do check-in with your hosts Friederike and Georg who will be more than happy to talk you through in more detail, considering current festivals and other events.
But let's start with the obvious ... the wineries of McLaren Vale: with more than 80 cellar doors in McLaren Vale making a selection which one to visit my seem overwhelming - or it is easy to go back to the well-known names. And there is nothing wrong with that, but we always recommend to throw in a few wildcards and try something new. How about alternative varietals such as Langrein, Trempranillo or Sangiovese instead of Shiraz and Grenache? And who says that McLaren Vale can't do "Whites"? You should give some the McLaren Vale Fiano's, Verminoto's or Greco's a try.
Below are a few first thoughts and recommendations for cellar doors to call in; but again, do speak to us on arrival and we can suggest more based on your personal favourites. For our dining out recommendations, please see our Restaurant section.
Meet the Neighbours
Meet the neighbours
When choosing our property to fulfil our dream of moving to the McLaren Vale and operating a boutique accommodation business, there was one non-negotiable requirement: we wanted to truly live in wine country, have views over vineyards and be able to explore on foot.
That was actually not as straight forward as we had thought, until we found Karawatha. And that means our guests can equally benefit from this and very often we our guests stroll down our driveway right after arrival to 'check out the neighbours'. With Geddes Wines, the Beresford Tasting Pavilion and the Woodstock Wine Estate we do have 3 renowned wineries and their cellar doors within 500 m from our cottages.
At Geddes Wines, being a true family business, you are bound to meet Tim, the wine maker or his wife Amanda, a well-known chef, when calling into their cellar door. Rightly proud about what they have achieved with own wines (Tim is also winemaker and produces wine for quite a few other well known labels at his winery), they are always more than happy to spend time with you, talk you through their wines and even give a you peek into the winery.
Next up is the Beresford Tasting Pavilion, a ultra-modern cellar door with not only their wines, but also their beers (Vale Brewing and Fox Hat) as well as Gin and other spirits for tasting. Have your tasting outside on their beautiful verandah, overlooking the vineyards up to Beresford House - and don't just go for a standard tasting but do one of their wine experiences with matching food. You won't regret, promised.
And last but not least from our immediate neighbours is the Woodstock Wine Estate, with their newly renovated cellar door, The Stocks Tasting Room, using recycled Jarrah timber from 70 year old brandy vats to create an intimate tasting experience by eliminating the counter altogether. And then obviously there is amazing food from the Woodstock Coterie restaurant. And for our young guests and those young at heart, there is a daily feeding at 11:30 am of kangaroos, wallabies and emus in their wildlife sanctuary .
Karawatha Cottages Flat Mates Wine Walking Trail
Feeling a bit more energetic?
How about a leisurely ~ 5km walk to justify all the good food and wine and to avoid any debate about the designated driver ...
We have put together what we call our 'Flat Mates Wine Walking Trail' (our 'Flat Mates' are a group of wineries and restaurants from the McLaren Flat region that we work closely together) that leads you past vineyards and some amazing back-country to our three immediate neighbours, Geddes Wines, Beresford Wines and Woodstock Wines (see above) and then continues on to add DogRidge, Shottesbrooke Wines and Graham Stevens Wines to the list.
And, with the one-hatted Currant Shed (absolutely amazing lunches) and the Woodstock Coterie Restaurant there are two outstanding options for lunch on either end of the walk. If you prefer just something light or sweet, there are few options along the way: Pruners Hut, offering (open weekends only) pizza, coffees, cakes and an art gallery roughly at the halfway point (with a little detour), Shottesbrooke Wines offering Toasties with a glass of wine, or almost back home at your accommodation, there are pizza and platters at the Beresford Tasting Pavilion.
For us, that is the perfect way to spend a day in McLaren Vale - be out in nature, enjoy the beautiful views and no excuse to not sample the wines and indulge in some fine dining.
And you don't need to be worried about your wine purchases along the way either - we have you covered and are happy to pick them up on your behalf and ship at cost.
You will find a detailed mud map in your guest info folder in your cottage!
Karawatha Cottages Flat Mates Wine Bike Trail
And for the truly active, here is an extension of our Wine Walking Trail - still very much walk-able or take a push bike along.
Just over a 10km round-trip, to tick off plenty more wineries and/or some outstanding restaurants from your bucket list. In addition to the cellar doors and restaurants in the walking trail, this extended version will lead to a few more little gems of cellar doors.
There is the family owned Hugo Wines cellar door, also showcasing artwork and with the option of 'build your own platter' for a picnic lunch in their garden, or virtually opposite is Gemtree Wines, focused on organic and bio-dynamic wine making. Not only are the views from their cellar door among the best in McLaren Vale - across the basin all the way to the ocean, but they also serve regional platters and offer tours of their bio-dynamic hut to learn more sustainable wine growing.
A bit further afield is the modern Kangarilla Road Wines cellar door - great opportunity for single vineyard Shiraz tasting to see the impact of different soil types.
Back on your way to McLaren Flat, you will pass Zonte's Footstep in The General Wine Bar, Scarpatoni, and then Parri Estate (open for pizzas on weekends). From there is back along familiar territory past Graham Stevens Wines and the Currant Shed restaurant to your accommodation at Karawatha Cottages.
Again, we do have a mud map ready for you in your cottage - just speak with us before heading out, as some of the cellar doors won't be open on all days.
Wine Tasting Experiences
A great way to experience both, the award wining wines and amazing regional food that McLaren Vale has to offer, without indulging in a long degustation lunch: try one (or more) of the wine tasting experiences.
A wine flight with matching food, showcasing complimentary and contrasting flavours and textures. And there is something for everyone, from little charcuterie & cheese plates, to creations from award winning chefs to chocolates & deserts. Here some of our favourites:
Chapel Hill Wines Icons Tasting: 4 premium reds (incl. 2 single vineyard Shiraz to taste the impact of the 'terroir'), matched with saucisson, cheeses & pork loin, for only $15
Beresford Wines Classic or Icons Tasting: 6 wines from across their classic or icon series range, matched with small tasting plates, for $25 and $30 respectively ... and this only 250m from your accommodation!
Mitolo Wines offers a structured tasting experience for each of their 3 wine ranges ($15 - $25) - all with matched food accompaniments from their Bocca di Lupo restaurant.
Maxwell Wines Canape & Wine Flight: 5 wines perfectly matched with creations from the award winning Maxwell Restaurant ($39) are not to be missed - and, you can move straight on to something sweet, with the Maxwell Wines Mead Flight: 4 Meads, paired with little sweet sensations for $25
Wirra Wirra Shiraz Revolutions: 5 of their best Shiraz, incl. a rare museum wine, matched with a Four Winds Chocolates plate for $60