History and nature abound in the region’s leafy hills and valleys, with quaint townships that will make you feel as though you’ve’ stepped back in time.
When it comes to beautiful and historic townships, Clarendon and Kangarilla are among the historic favourites. Each have their own distinctive character and quaint village charm and perfect for a stroll.
Kangarilla is home to a small petrol station and general store, as well as the trendy Dawn Patrol Coffee on the town’s outskirts. But it’s well worth a visit, just to see the magnificent heritage buildings and soak up the peace and quiet country lifestyle.
The stone buildings and towering trees that line the main street of Clarendon are reminiscent of an old English village. Add the striking ranges as the backdrop and it’s definitely a shot worth posting on Instagram. “Clarendon offers a beautiful scenic gateway to the McLaren Vale Wine Region,” says Pru Fowles, co-owner of Emprades Vintage and Design. “It’s a lovely little town cradled by the valley.”
Emprades is a unique antique store housed in an 1860’s jam and pickle factory. Lovingly restored by new owners Pru and Des Fowles, it’s perfect for an afternoon unwind as you browse through the old cottage.
You can even pick up a historic piece to take home with you too. “We’re an antique shop with a difference,” Pru says. “We sell artworks, vintage wears, mid-century design pieces as well as antiques.”
Pru says the natural wonders along the strip are not-to-be-missed. “Riverbend Park is a beautiful place within Clarendon. The cliffs around the Onkaparinga River are coloured in reds and ochres – it’s a magical place.” Access the park behind the bakery or by the recreation grounds.
The bakery also remains a favourite with visitors, as well as the Royal Oak Hotel, where you can enjoy a beer on the deck overlooking the town with the hills in the distance.
Whilst in Clarendon, discover it’s heritage at The Clarendon Weir, Former Church, Former Police Station and Courthouse, Oddfellows Hall and Original School.
Other historic townships across the region include Willunga and Old Reynella, with each playing an important role in shaping South Australia’s history. Make sure you plan a visit to Willunga’s Courthouse and Slate Museum filled with stories from yesteryear, as well as experience the days of Cobb and Co coaches first hand at Reynella’s Horse Changing Station.
Explore the heritage trail and unearth the tales of the region. Venture through the gorgeous countryside and delight in the beautiful buildings handcrafted to last for centuries.
The Reynella Horse Changing Station, complete with stables were used as a mid way point for the the coach run between Adelaide and Willunga. Built in the 1850’s, the changing station is believed to be the only one which was not attached to a hotel, the Inn (Crown Hotel) was close by. Today, the carefully restored building houses a collection of stories, historical artefacts and photographs, proudly showcasing the Cobb and Co era.
Willunga was booming in the 1840’s, mining one of the states largest slate deposits. The stories of the miners who worked in the quarries, the daily dangers they faced and a collection of slate working tools can all be unearthed at Willunga’s Slate Museum. The Museum forms part of the Willunga Courthouse and Police Station complex and is well worth a visit. There are many historic buildings dotted around Willunga, showcasing the beautiful slate and there is a slate quarry on the outskirts of Willunga, which is still operational today.