While the Clare Valley in South Australia is best known for its much admired Riesling Trail (with more than 50 cellar doors between the towns of Auburn and Clare along a 40-kilometre corridor), it is the town of Mintaro east of the Clare Valley which draws tourists to its unique character. Mintaro has a great taste of history as well as wine and abundant natural beauty. There are plenty of things to do around Mintaro and hidden gems and out of the way places too for you to appreciate.
The famous ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’ 1975 film featured the Georgian-style 1879 mansion, Martindale Hall of Mintaro, which today lures visitors from the area’s vineyards with its intriguing history, ever present whispers of the past and stories from behind sandstone walls.
But it’s not the only unexpected feature of the Mintaro landscape, as visitors gaze in awe at the most Instagrammable salt lake and Bumbunga Lake half an hour west to Lochiel. This lake becomes a chameleon of colour from bubble gum pink to iced blue and an equally impressive Loch Ness Monster sculpture.
It’s in and around Mintaro that you’ll also discover craft breweries, wineries, galleries, foodie hubs and other historic towns nestled among the vineyards while you traverse breathtaking landscapes. Mintaro is about two hours’ north of Adelaide.
Wellness & Pampering
- Enlightened Beauty Solutions located at Lot 1 King St, Mintaro SA
- Teresa Burner Massage located at 154 Main N Rd, Clare SA
- Allana Kate Hair Studio located at Main North Road, Watervale, SA
Explore & Discover
- Mintaro South Australia is a top notch resource for guests and visitors to this wonderful food and wine mecca.
- Take your sensible shoes and a self guided Historic Mintaro Walk (find a handy map here) that takes in 27 stops that includes all the important landmarks and historic outbuildings of Mintaro and you won’t starve because it includes a famous pub and drinking hole, the Magpie and Stump Hotel.
- Walk around the historic village of Mintaro – admire the historic sandstone buildings, especially Martindale Hall and its beautiful gardens. Martindale Hall – Open 10am-4pm Wed to Mon – 1 Min Man Road, Mintaro, Clare Valley, SA. Phone 0417 838 897.
- Drive farther afield to visit the historic mining town of Burra, the iconic Barossa Valley, South Australia’s little Cornwall; the Copper Coast, and the beautiful Yorke Peninsula are all within easy reach.
- Get lost in Mintaro Maze a hedge maze which is great fun for all ages that’s planted on land that was originally used to impound bullock traffic back in the 1800’s, bullock teams travelling between Burra and Port Wakefield would stop in Mintaro to rest (get fed and watered at the Magpie and Stump Hotel).
- See the memorial tree at Pioneer Park where the ill-fated Burke and Wills rested before continuing their perilous journey into the interior.
- Discover the Clare Valley Riesling Trail (35 kms long) and suitable for walkers, mountain and touring bikes, and wheelchairs. Bike hire available.
- Take a drive with several suggested Roadtrips around Mintaro, along the Clare Valleys winding roads and see stunning countryside (views are especially good during Autumn where the landscape is ablaze with colour and vineyards turn vibrant shades of red and gold.)
- Take a Roadtrip to neighbouring historic towns like Burra and Kapunda. (Burra boasts a rich mining history, while Kapunda offers a glimpse into South Australia’s early settlement days).
- Picnic in Annies Lane Gardens
- Festival of the Lamb is held annually, now in its 4th year. In 2023 its September 20 to 24. Supported by the Mintaro Progress Association and SA Tourism Events, this multi-day event is now the Clare Valleys annual spring equinox food festival. Book your long lunch at Paulette Wines to experience Head Chef Erky in their Bush DeVine Restaurant conjuring innovative cuisine featuring premium lamb from Armagh’s Remarkable Meat Co. And dont forget to attend the sprightly luncheon with speakers that celebrate women working in agriculture. Book here Women can Do Forum!
- The world of wine according to Mintaro and Clare Valley is not to be sniffed at(pun intended)! A league of passionate winemakers, rows of vines – old and new – consistently produce great wines that are recognised nationally and internationally year upon year, such as
- Mintaro Wines is a small boutique winery with an average production of between 3-4 thousand cases per year, established by Peter Houldsworth in 1984. The vineyards were originally planted in 1962 and consistently produce award winning wines.
- Home of the long lunch, Reillys Wines and Restaurant, Mintaro
- Mr Micks Cellar Door and Kitchen, Clare is named after the late K.H. (Mr. Mick) Knappstein, an Australian winemaking legend and Tim Adams’ mentor and friend. The winemaking team continue Mr. Mick’s philosophy of making “affordable wines for everyone to enjoy”, as well as crafting fine quality traditional wines. Tapas is on tap too daily.
- Knappstein Wines Enterprise Cellar, Clare
- Stone Bridge Wines, Clare
- The Wilson Vineyard in Polish Hill boasts low tech, small batch winemaking with a surprising range of varieties for a small vineyard; Riesling. Shiraz. Cabernet Sauvignon. Tempranillo. Zinfandel. Merlot.
- Hill River Clare Estate also in Polish Hill is hidden gem, just a short drive from Clare. A family owned vineyard that’s set amidst 100 year old gum trees and rolling hills, the vineyard boasts fertile soils, a consistent climate and long ripening periods, ideal for grape growing.
- No shortage of wineries…here’s some more; Jim Barry Wines, Shut the Gate Shut the Gate Wine and the memorably named Mad Bastard Wines.
- Koerner Wines is special. The Koerner’s make their wines from a unique mix of unique and traditional varieties from the Clare Valley and Adelaide Hills. Private tastings are held at the Koerner family ‘Gullyview vineyards’ (Mintaro Road, Leasingham).
- Velvet and Willow Wines
- Had enough wine? How about a visit to Pikes Beer Company featuring Pilsner, Pale Ale, IPA and Stout together with Limited Releases. there’s a beer garden that does nosh daily from 12pm to 3pm in a spacious alfresco area adjacent to the brewery, complete with a fish pond.
- Or try a distillery Sawmill Gin located in Sevenhill SA, craft small batch authentic Gin. Born on the banks of the Murray River, raised in Seven Hill. Try their Gypsy Gin, Mr Wriggles or a gin cocktail called the Mucky Pup! They do bites and tasting with a variety of tonics and twists on GIN!
- Try Clare Uncorked to discover history in a bottle whether bespoke of one of their 6 hour tours that includes pick up drop off, lunch, several cellar door wine tastings and a day of fun without the driving!
Many wineries offer sumptuous fare concocted proudly from local produce – see Good eats below.
- Feeling like a real hike? You’ll need your knapsack for this one…a 325 km walking trail from Murray Bridge in the South to Clare in the North. visit Lavender Federation Trail
- Magpie and Stump Hotel– pull up a stump, kick back on the sprawling lawns or dine in one of the oldest (newly renovated) pubs in the Clare Valley.
- Reillys Wines and Restaurant in Mintaro is very local, very special. Dating back to 1856 the name arises from the Irish shoemaker Hugh Reilly who settled in the township of Mintaro, building his home ‘Reilly’s Cottage’ from the local slate. Today it’s an epicurean and wine hub that mops up awards and a reputation for its long lunches.
- Skillogalee Estate, Sevenhill is committed to the art of authentic, hand-crafted winemaking, producing acclaimed wines that truly embody the unique terroir of our high-elevation, hillside vineyards. Guests can eat, drink, stay or get married on the family estate that offers the total wine weekend you yearn for.
- Slate Restaurant at Pikes Wines is a serial restaurant winner – Australian Good Food Guide (AGFG) Chef Hat Winner 2020, 2021, 2022 & 2023. If you’re at Pikes on a Sunday call into the Polish Hill River Church Museum which documents the early history of Polish migrants to the area.
- Ragu and Co is an authentic Italian restaurant and pizzeria in the heart of the Clare Valley Region that’s been awarded Ospitalita Italiana accreditation by the Italian Government and the Italian Chamber of Commerce in recognition of providing an authentic Italian dining experience. Gets great reviews
- Terrior Auburn that rates highly, is housed in a building, circa 1860’s, that’s decidedly Francophilia with an airy Parisian feel. Terroir Auburn boasts a sophisticated locavore dining experience and a range of rustic accommodation.
- Greg Cooley Wines, Clare is one of the Clare Valley’s smallest, more boutique wine producers. By choice their vintages are not available in bottle shops. A boutique producer, wines are sold direct online, or at their ever popular wine lunch series Greg Cooley Wine Lunch Series.
- Paulette Wines and their Bush DeVine Café, Polish Hill River
- Pikes Beer Company stumps up casual nosh in their outdoor beer garden.
- Watervale Hotel & Penobscot Farm, Watervale
- The UPPside Restaurant, Wine Bar & Farm Shop, Penwortham offers a European style menu from local seasonal produce.
- Watervale General Store, Watervale offers gourmet produce on their ever changing cafe menu.
- Seed Bistro Clare, 268 Main North Road. See seedclarevalley.com
- Indie of Clare screams yummy Indian cuisine where multi-generational Head Chef Rupesh creates local award winning delicacies.
- The Rising Sun Hotel offers good old fashioned pub hospitality with local brews on tap and of course the obligatory Clare Valley local wines
- The Bake and Brew Shop located at 266 Main N Rd, Clare SA is unique with a range of produce for your gourmet pursuits such as home brewing and spirit making, baking, home preserving, cake decorating, tea and coffee brewing, sausage-making, chocolate making and more!
- Pick up some local produce at the Clare Valley Gourmet Hub to sample regional cheeses, olives, and other delicacies.
- Browse galleries like Watervale Gallery and Clare Valley Wine, Food and Tourism Centre (discover some unique pieces by talented regional artists).
- Looking Good Clare – 278 Main N Rd, Clare SA
- Mintaro Maze Gift Gallery Store and Cafe – 27 Jacka Rd, Mintaro SA
- The Gift Horse Gallery Clare – 130 Main N Rd, Clare SA
If you think Mintaro sounds like an amazing holiday destination, why not see our Stays with a WOW accommodation.