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Nov 1, 2010 12:13 PM

Melbourne, Adelaide Trip Planning

I'm planning a trip to the above areas from mid-Feb to mid-March...I would like some guidance on food, wineries, B+Bs...mahalo nui for your assistance.

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  1. A little bit of time since I lived in Adelaide but let me give you some starters. It is quite a compact wine area with some good areas that can be visited from accommodation in Adelaide:

    Barossa Valley is approx 45 mins from the city centre, obviously the home of big reds, with lots of big name wineries like Jacob Creek and Penfolds. But also lots of little gems like Greenock Creek who regularly have wines in the Parker 95+ league. Most have cellar doors where you can taste although the superstars sell out and close he cellar doors.

    The Adelaide hills region sort of sits behind the Barossa and it can be a nice way to get up there, albeit slower. Some really good wineries up here, more cool climate that big Barossa reds with some Riesling and Pinot, Henske sits on the border of the Barossa and the Hills.

    Further North you get the Clare valley, this is a good two or more hours drive and thus not really a day trip. I like the Clare the best as it is very pretty, in fact it is really three parallel valleys with some of the better ones "over the hill" away from the main road. The Polish River area is good for Riesling, and Skillogalee used to be great for big reds and it had a nice restaurant with terrace which is good for lunch. The village of Mintaro is good to stay in and used to have quite an upmarket restaurant. One good tip is to stay in a winery B&B or self catering accomodation. buy some food as you travel around and BBQ in the evening as you sample the wines you bought.

    South of Adelaide is probably the closest area, McLaren Vale has some top wines and is only 30 mins or so from the City. There are some good restaurants in the area including Star of Greece (on the sea) and the Salopian Inn. One interesting winery restaurant is D'Arenberg which has a great balcony with a good view and reputadly good food. Even further south is Langhorn Creek which is a very small area with a couple of interesting wineries. Even further south is Coonawarra which is home to some very good wineries producuing superb reds (the terra rossa soil). It is a long drive but a good place to stop if driving from Melbourne to Adelaide.

    Adelaide itself is a nice sized town that punches above its weight for restaurants. It is a lot cheaper than Sydney or Melbourne and the local chefs are very competitive thus a good place to eat. The Manse is probably the best in town, Magill Estate is worth a visit as it is owned by Penfolds and has lots of back vintages on offer of their best wines including Grange and 707. It is also good to visit the Central Markets which is a food paradise surrounded by lots of good Asian restaurants and market cafes which are good for breakfast.

    A good source for restaurant ideas is Gourmet Traveller: It is also good to get to the local tourist office in Adelaide (they may also do it by post) as they publish a very comprehensive guide to wineries, accommodation and places to eat in each wine area. As there are hundreds of wineries which change quite frequently it is best to get the up to date info:

    Hope this helps - it is a great region for food and wine - really nice to stay and explore.

    1. Are you doing a road trip from Melbourne to Adelaide?

      If so it would be worth stopping at Loam in geelong and and the royal mail in dunkeld.

      8 Replies
        1. re: kersizm

          If you need any encouragement, it's a gorgeous drive. After a day trip to Barossa, we headed for the Grampians, and then took the Great Ocean Road.

          1. re: Windy

            I'm driving from Melbourne to Adelaide in a few weeks time. My Dad's coming over and we're doing the Ashes in Adelaide. We've got 4 days to do the drive.

            He loves his food, but not a fan of 'fussy dining' as he calls it, so unfortunately Royal Mail is probably out of the question.

            With that in mind where you recommend we head to on the way?

              1. re: holualoa farmer

                It is in a little town called Dunkeld 3 or 4 hours drive outside of Melbourne. The chef was at Mugaritz (Spain) before returning to Australia and I read that Bourdain rated it as one of his best meals in 2009. We are heading their in December so I will report back after then.


                1. re: PhilD

                  I've decided to treat my dad and go ahead and book Royal Mail anyway. Not sure when I'm going to be in that neck of the woods again, so might as well make the most of it.

                  Will also report back

                  1. re: fergal76

                    It wil be good to compare notes. I understand there is a main restaurant menu, a bistro and a bar menu so maybe your Dad could find something less challenging. I have a friend with a rental cottage there and they go to the bar/bistro quite frequently for simple meals.

                    1. re: PhilD

                      I called up a few days ago and the bistro was fully booked, but there was still place in the main restaurant. I would guess the restaurant is mainly booked for special occasions and tourists, while the bistro is a locals place. Always good to have the option if you book ahead

        2. Agree with all of PhilD's suggestions and would add the following:

          Rockford winery in the Barossa Valley. Charming little cellar door.

          Windy Point Restaurant in Adelaide. About 15 minutes from the CBD (very do-able in a cab) and perched on a hill with great views of the Adelaide skyline (what little of it there is) at night.

          Punch Lane in Melbourne. This place is underrated, in my opinion, but I really like the atmosphere and the food.

          All have websites which are pretty easy to find using Google.

          1 Reply
          1. re: 91010

            mahalo nui for your ideas...come to hawaii and i'll assist you