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4-DAY TASTE OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Four of Australia's finest food and wine regions, all 90 minutes drive or less from Adelaide – each with their own special regional character, and all easily accessible from each other. Through the food and wine of each of these four regions you'll taste the best of South Australia and experience the grass roots authenticity that defines them.

Leonards Mill Dining

Second Valley, Fleurieu Peninsula

Leonards Mill Dining

Second Valley, Fleurieu Peninsula

Willunga House Bed & Breakfast

Willunga, Fleurieu Peninsula

Georgian stone residence

Star of Greece

Port Willunga, Fleurieu Peninsula

Star of Greece

Port Willunga, Fleurieu Peninsula

Oysters naturale with caviar

DAY ONE

Collect your car from Adelaide Airport and head south out of town. That’s easy, because the main South Road is nearby, leading to the Southern Expressway and the tip of the Fleurieu Peninsula where you'll start your epicurean adventure with lunch at the 160-year-old Leonards Mill in Second Valley. It will take you about 75 minutes to get there.

Along the way you'll pass through the McLaren Vale wine region, but don’t worry – you’ll be back there later in the day. Right now just enjoy one of the best lunches you'll have anywhere, prepared by husband and wife team Brendan Wessels (head chef) and Lindsay Durr (patisserie chef), both formerly from the iconic Lake House in Daylesford.

They work closely with local growers and producers to produce food that is both beautiful and faultless. While the mains are tempting, the star of the show is the six-course Fleurieu tasting menu, matched with the best local wines, featuring dishes such as smoked kingfish sashimi, chargrilled octopus, dashi pearls, daikon and yuzu, matched with a local Lake Breeze Chardonnay. Or there's Kangaroo Island lamb neck with charred shallots, apple and sheep labneh paired with Brocks View Estate Shiraz.

STAY

Take your time over lunch because it's a shortish drive back to Willunga and the supreme comfort of Willunga House, a Georgian-style heritage building that was once the local general store and post office.

DINE

The Star of Greece restaurant is just 10 minutes drive away. This is one of South Australia's most revered restaurants, partly because of its location - the view from your table must be one of the best in coastal Australia, overlooking Port Willunga beach and the bones of the wrecked ship that gave the restaurant its name. Happily the kitchen is able to compete with the view and on a warm summer’s night, at sunset, it’s almost a spiritual experience to be drinking one of the local wines whilst eating salt and pepper squid or King George whiting from nearby Kangaroo Island.

Willunga Farmers Market

Fleurieu Peninsula

Small World Bakery Stall

Willunga Farmers Market

Fleurieu Peninsula

Small World Bakery Stall

Hahndorf Hill Winery

Adelaide Hills

The Lane Vineyard

Hahndorf, Adelaide Hills

Mt Lofty Ranges Vineyard

Adelaide Hills

Enjoy a Platter

Udder Delights

Hahndorf, Adelaide Hills

The Haus Hahndorf

Hahndorf, Adelaide Hills

The Haus Hahndorf

Hahndorf, Adelaide Hills

DAY TWO

Start the day with a wine tasting. This is the place for bold, inky-black shiraz, rich but elegant cabernet sauvignon and grenache that holds its own in any company. But then, it also has some of the best chardonnay in Australia.

There's more than 70 cellar doors from which to choose, but no visit to the Fleurieu is complete without a trip to Hardys Tintara Estate. Thomas Hardy, regarded by many as the "father of the South Australian wine industry" purchased Tintara in the 1870s.

You can lunch on the run, with regional platters available at most cellar doors, or enjoy a courtyard lunch at Coriole, where the chef's selection tasting menu features local olives, oils and cheeses, much of it from the estate.

If you're here on a Saturday, front up to the Willunga Farmer's Market, the first to be established in South Australia and one of Australia's best where you can meet the grower and taste the region at up to 60 stalls.

It's roughly a 40-minute drive to Hahndorf, at the centre of the Adelaide Hills with more than 200 vineyards, 90 or so wine labels and 48 cellar doors in what has become one of Australia's premium cool climate wine regions.

Here, Hahndorf Hill winemaker Larry Jacobs produces a range of the usual Hills' varieties – sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio, chardonnay and cool-climate shiraz, but its climate has also allowed exploration of new alternative varieties such as gruner veltliner and blaufrankisch, which are being pioneered at Hahndorf Hill. Larry also chooses a different way to emphasis the sense of place by adding a Choco Vino tasting.

Nowhere does the sense of region come into play more than at The Lane Vineyard and restaurant, where founder John Edwards searched for two years for land with the aspect and soils he wanted for his vineyard. The Lane also has a much-praised contemporary restaurant where the views are inspiring: neatly-tended vineyards, rolling hills, gum trees, dams, grazing cows and distant farmhouses.

Or there's the Mount Lofty Ranges Vineyard at Lenswood, a sustainable boutique vineyard that’s typical of the many small vineyards in the region still employing the age old practices of hand picking and pruning, resulting in wines of truly artisan quality.

Artisan food producers include the Hahndorf cheese cellar and cafe Udder Delights, with locally-produced organic and biodynamic cow's milk and a range of blue and white mould cheeses, even an unusual blue goat's cheese. Not far away are seafood specialist Harris Smokehouse and nationally-renowned jam maker Beerenberg.

STAY

The Manna of Hahndorf is right in the main street and a perfect base for exploring Australia's oldest surviving German settlement with around 90 buildings dating back to the 1800s.

DINE

For the full German experience head to The Haus, a short walk away; or take a brief drive down the freeway to fine diner Bridgewater Mill (dinner Friday and Saturday only).

Henschke Hill of Grace Vineyard

Eden Valley

Seppeltsfield Centennial Cellar

The tasting room at Yalumba carries a good range of table wines, from old vine shiraz to lighter styles like tempranillo

Seppeltsfield Centennial Cellar

Taste Tawny made in your birth year directly from the barrel

The Barossa Valley Cheese Company

Artisan cheese hand-made in the Barossa Valley

The Barossa Valley Cheese Company

Artisan cheese hand-made in the Barossa Valley

Hentley Farm

Seppeltsfield

Winery of the year 2015

Hentley Farm

Seppeltsfield

Inventive dining

Hentley Farm Seppeltsfield

Inventive dining

DAY THREE

It's just over an hour's drive from Hahndorf to the Barossa, but after all the wine tastings on your journey along the Epicurean Way it's worth making a detour to visit Willabrand at Lower Hermitage. Sample fig products, including the famous Willabrand fig pizza, and in season (February) enjoy picking and eating your own figs. The farm also has a cellar door for several local boutique wineries.

With more than 80 cellar doors, some of them massive visitor centres, others cute and characterful like Rockford, Tscharke and Two Hands, coming to grips with the Barossa Valley's wine offering is a daunting task. For tradition and history you can't go past Yalumba, or head into the hills to visit the Henschke winery at Keyneton.

Langmeil winery in Tanunda is believed to have one of the oldest known surviving shiraz vineyards in the world, first planted in 1843 and still producing, with the Freedom 1843 shiraz available for tasting at Langmeil's cellar door.

Another historic property, Seppeltsfield, was founded in 1851 and offers tastings of both table and fortified wines, including its famous tawny port. The estate also houses the acclaimed Fino restaurant – the perfect place for lunch, which adjoins the JamFactory workshop, renowned for fine ceramics, glass and furniture.

It's easy, too, to make your own memorable Barossa picnic. The butchers, such as Linke's in Nuriootpa, still make mettwurst and smoked meats like lachsschinken (cold-smoked pork loin), the bakers such as Apex Bakery in Tanunda still celebrate their German food heritage with slabs of streuselkuchen and bienenstich, and there are gorgeous cheeses from Barossa Valley Cheese in Angaston. Top of the list is Maggie's Farm Shop, where Maggie Beer's "Picnic Fare" menu includes a mushroom and verjuice pate or a delicious "Pheasant Farm" terrine, plus all sorts of takeaway goodies.

STAY

The latest addition to Maggie Beer's food empire is The Orchard House in Nuriootpa, a two-bedroom cottage surrounded by a picturesque old apple orchard and just a short walk from Maggie's popular Farm Shop. It includes a wine cellar and professional kitchen.

DINE

While Hentley Farm's winery near Seppeltsfield has won wide acclaim, its restaurant in a beautifully restored 1840s former shearing shed has become a gastronomic landmark. Lachlan Colwill's two set menu options (diners are advised to allow up to 3.5 hours for the up to 20 course Discovery menu) are created according to the seasons, to what is abundant, fresh and best quality, and served by one of the five chefs in the kitchen.

Riesling trail

Clare Valley

Cycling through Sevenhill

Sevenhill Cellars

Clare Valley

Skillogalee Winery

Clare Valley

Skillogalee Winery

Clare Valley

DAY FOUR

The Clare Valley, just half an hour's drive north of the Barossa, is one of the most accessible, hospitable and prettiest of all Australia's wine regions.

In 1851, Jesuits from Silesia planted the region's first vines. Today, both vines and Jesuits are still producing wine at the same site, now called Sevenhill Cellars and one of South Australia's loveliest estates

Wineries such as Jim Barry Wines provide year-round opportunities to taste some of Clare's best rieslings and great reds, such as The Armagh Shiraz, while Skillogalee Winery is not only one of Australia's top riesling producers, it also has a very fine country restaurant.

Those who want to combine some outdoor exercise to counterbalance a little wine-tasting should consider the 35km Riesling Trail, which follows a disused railway line linking one end of the valley to the other, binding together its wineries, its history and its diversity. Duck into any number of wineries en route and open a bottle with a picnic lunch.

There's great produce here too, such as estate grown olive oil from Evilo Estate. Stop by their farm door where you'll also find homemade chutneys, sauces and vino cotto.

DINE

Time to head back to Adelaide, about 90 minutes drive, so on the way stop for lunch at Terroir Auburn, a restaurant with a strict locavore philosophy that will leave you with the true taste of the Clare Valley.