|Moderate/Hard – Some steep ascents and descents, but generally friendly. One steep-sided creek crossing.
|Taylors Wines, Clare Valley, 89A Winery Rd, Auburn SA 5451
|Paulett Wines, Bush de Vine Restaurant, 752 Jolly Way, Polish Hill River SA 5453
It is somewhat invidious to choose favourites, but Stage 5 of the CVWWT is a belter walked in either direction, but the added lure of a well-earned lunch at Paulett Wines’ fabulously appointed Bush DeVine restaurant tips the scales firmly in the direction of an anti-clockwise progress. Please note, prior booking at the restaurant is strongly advised. Clockwise recommends itself to those days when an easier perambulation is required as one is largely proceeding downhill; however, in whichever direction it is walked, one is rewarded with lovely views, beautiful vineyards and stunning countryside.
Starting at Taylors Wines, surrounded by the largest contiguous vineyard in the Southern Hemisphere, don’t pass up the chance to visit their brand new cellar door opened in July 2023. There’s a vast range of delicious and beautifully made wines over an array of price-points.
Leaving Taylors behind, the trail starts in a very gentle fashion, as one heads first West [on Winery Road] then North [on Taylors Road] on a brief stint on bitumen and then dirt road. (Please note if walking in fire season, there is a seasonal diversion in place. Do not head North on Taylors Road; rather, continue West on Finns Road and then North on Hean Road to rejoin the trail). A little way North, on Taylors Road you mount a set of earth-hewn steps on the Western side of the road and cross a stile to walk gradually uphill [heading West] through a line of trees adjoining an old vineyard. As you ascend, the long views to the South and South-East unfurl, and it’s absolutely worth a brief pause to soak them in. There’ll be plenty of other occasions on this Stage when you’ll want to do the same.
Presently your axis of march will change from East-West to South-North and this axis dominates the rest of the stage. As you climb further, the views particularly to the West are stunning as more and more of the Valley’s hidden folds reveal themselves. Once you’ve gone a little further North, there’re some wonderful views to the East where you can literally see for miles; if there’s any mist about it can be magical. Eventually one descends gradually towards Lesingham where the trail crosses the bitumen of the Lesingham/Mintaro Road [watch out for traffic]. One follows this briefly west before the trail heads North again, along and gradually up a little valley with vines to either hand. Presently a stile will appear on the right-hand side, the trail keeps uphill and soon you’re walking along a North-South ridge with fabulous views down over the heart of the Clare Valley vineyards just to the south of Watervale. There’s a fallen log with a Westerly prospect which makes a perfect spot for a short break and a cup of something warming or cooling depending on the season.
Suitably refreshed, keep going North and after crossing a dirt road and negotiating various stiles, you’ll be heading North on the Great Northern Road with the historic Quelltaler Winery , nestling in its vines to your right-hand side. You cross Mount Horrocks Road and keeping North, you walk through more vineyards and eventually cross the Eyre Creek. Please note, this crossing involves descending and ascending steep steps and the creek can flow swiftly [and deeply] after rain. Please exercise caution. Shortly after the creek is crossed you will come to Pearce Road where you turn right, cross the Eyre Creek [this time by a bridge] and then cross the left-hand fenceline by a stile. You follow the creek North and then cross it again [again, please be careful after rain] and then the trail follows a gentle uphill North with fine views to left and right. Crossing another stile you continue uphill on Morrison Road until the junction with Trillians Hill Road where you turn right. After a while, look out for [and cross] a stile on your left into bushland. If you get to a sharp corner on the road you’ve gone too far. The trail now climbs through some really pretty country, with vineyards initially down to the left, before you become completely immersed in the bush. This is a standout section and leads all the way to Paulett’s where you can enjoy your well-earned lunch.