The charming village of Clarendon, tucked away in the north-east corner of this special region, is well worth a visit.
Nestled in the gullies on the Onkaparinga River, Clarendon is a beautiful little village rich in heritage with wonderful examples of late 1880s colonial architecture. The buildings are celebrities here, well photographed, untold stories and touched up from time to time. Don’t miss the old police station and courthouse, Oddfellows Hall, former church and original school.
John Silvestri, co-owner of an award-winning wedding venue in Clarendon, has lived here for 30 years. He says its beauty never dates. “It has that European country town feel, with spectacular scenery,” he says. “It hasn’t been exploited and is absolutely beautiful.
The manchurian pear trees that line the main street create so much colour, with white blooms in spring and red leaves in winter.”
He says visitors love to wander down the main street checking out the heritage buildings and drinking in the sheer beauty of the town – it’s also very popular with keen cyclists and walkers. It’s the perfect spot to stop for lunch or dinner. And like all good country towns, the bakery has quite a reputation.
“Visitors often wander down to the Onkaparinga River, pastries and treats in tow, and enjoy a picnic at the Clarendon Recreation Ground,” John says. “It’s the perfect spot.”
Kangarilla is a gateway to the McLaren Vale wine region with several highly-regarded wineries and vineyards. Surrounded by farms, the quaint town is home to an old general store, local footy club and the rustic fuel station; you won’t miss this one – the roof is covered in pushbikes. Local wineries Yangarra Estate Wines and Kangarilla Road Vineyard & Winery are a must do.
Yangarra Estate’s wines are made by Peter Fraser, Winemaker of the Year in James Halliday’s 2016 Wine Companion.
Kangarilla Road cellar door is very contemporary, offering expansive views across their vineyards from their tasting bench. You can also sit outside with a glass of wine or experience a tutored tasting which you can book in advance.
For a coffee fix, stop at Dawn Patrol Coffee – a local roaster offering a cellar door approach to coffee in the scenic setting of the vineyards (open Sundays only). Owners Dominic Ossa and Nick Suggitt’s passion and enthusiasm is infectious and you can try their range brewed through a variety of methods. If coffee’s not your thing, sit on a chunk of timber and look over the rolling vineyards. The boys love the area. “Kangarilla and the surrounding region has so much diversity with forests, farms, hills, vineyards and is close to beaches,” Dom says. “We’re among some of the best wine, food, beer and producers in the region.”
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