Trail Open

Coast to Vines Rail Trail

South Australia

4 based on 3 reviews
Location: Southern Adelaide Suburbs
Length: 37 km
Surface: Sealed
Start / End: Marino Rocks Railway Station to Willunga
Public Transport: Bus, Train
Suitable for:
  • Cycling – Mountain BikesCycling – Mountain Bikes
  • Cycling – Touring and Hybrid BikesCycling – Touring and Hybrid Bikes
  • Horse RidingHorse Riding
  • PramsPrams
  • Scooters and Inline SkatesScooters and Inline Skates
  • WalkingWalking
  • WheelchairsWheelchairs

Map Legend:

  • Rail Trail
  • On Road
  • Possible Rail Trail
  • Other Trail
  • former Railway

DETAILS

Why visit the Coast to Vines Rail Trail?

  • A great day or weekend destination on the Fleurieu Peninsula
  • High standard rail trail from the southern suburbs of Adelaide to Willunga
  • Sealed surface and gentle gradients
  • Shady cuttings, underpasses, original embankments and bridges
  • Landscape varies from sea views to vineyards, including magnificent ocean cliffs at Hallett Cove, Onkaparinga River Recreation Reserve and the vineyards of the Southern Vales Wine region for the last 15km

Attractions

  • The wineries of McLaren Vale and Willunga with their cellar doors are within easy reach of the rail trail
  • The Shiraz Rail Trail section (McLaren Vale to Willunga) is short at 8 km, but there are so many cellar doors along the way it could be an all-day ride. Visit the McLaren Vale information centre for a map of all that is on offer in this section
  • Many options for dining in McLaren Vale  and Willunga
  • An extensive range of accommodation in McLaren Vale and Willunga, with many bike friendly 

Trail Guide

The Coast to Vines Rail Trail consists of three sections that are quite different in terms of scenery and topography:

  • Marino Rocks to Old Reynella is 9.4 km long and climbs steadily from the coast, heading inland along steep gullies but still within suburbia
  • Old Reynella to McLaren Vale is 20 km long and travels south along the old rail reserve before it crosses beneath South Rd into open farmland
  • McLaren Vale to Willunga is 8 km long and displays the best of the Southern Vales Wine region, including the townships of McLaren Vale and Willunga

McLaren Vale and Willunga combine the tourism features you would expect from a famous wine region with an unrushed and welcoming rural setting. Both offer extensive dining and accommodation. Visit at the McLaren Vale Information Centre – on the trail as you approach McLaren Vale – for all the touring information you will need.

Section Guides

Marino to Old Reynella (9.4 km)

  • From Marino Rocks Station the trail runs south beside the operational railway to Hallett Cove and then follows the alignment of the Old Willunga Rail Line. Frequent stops will be needed to take in the ocean views
  • At Hallett Cove Railway Station, follow the signage through the station (walk your bike) to the ramp at the southern end of the station. This leads you to the overpass above the railway line. On the eastern side of the rail line the path gradually swings to the east; follow it uphill to Zwerner Drive opposite Hallett Cove Mall shopping centre
  • The trail follows a deep gully and waterfall creek. Glade Crescent Reserve has a playground and toilets.
  • Cross Lonsdale Rd at the lights, then follow the old railway line alignment through the scenic Hugh Johnson Boulevard Reserve. Just beyond the Young St crossing you reach the highest point on the trail. 
  • The trail passes beneath the Southern Expressway, then beneath the Main South Rd bridge and climbs to busy Old South Rd where you cross at the lights. The path follows Old South Rd to the right for a short distance before rejoining the old rail alignment.

Old Reynella to McLaren Vale (20 km)

  • From here the trail is a wide, well vegetated reserve through the suburbs, linking conservation reserves and parks. Major road crossings have traffic islands or lights
  • After Hackham the scenery becomes more rural as it descends to Noarlunga Downs
  • At Noarlunga Downs, the trail crosses the Onkaparinga River on a restored bridge (watch for the sewer vent pole in the middle of the path on the approach to the bridge), and after another 600 m it reaches Railway Rd
  • The trail runs next to the electric railway, passing the new stations of Seaford and Seaford Meadows
  • The trail climbs to the Seaford Rise housing estate before turning east into Pedler Creek valley. From here it becomes a rural landscape of rolling hills
  • At the end of the valley the trail joins a pathway beside Victor Harbour Rd for 250 m before passing beneath it to emerge beside Main Rd, McLaren Vale. Take care; the underpass decking has blind corners and can be slippery when wet
  • The Visitor information centre is well worth a stop for a coffee and a great display about the region
  • The trail crosses Main Road into Caffrey St for 300 m, then turns left. Cross Main Rd as you reach the Almond Train, an old railway carriage that has been converted into a gift shop
  • There are many shops and bakeries in McLaren Vale
  • Toilets at Memorial Reserve, 270 m south of the Almond Train on the opposite side of the road

McLaren Vale to Willunga (8 km) – the Shiraz Rail Trail

  • The trail continues for an uninterrupted 8 km gentle  climb to Willunga. There are many wild olive trees beside the trail and you are surrounded by vineyards
  • Willunga has a well-preserved railway station and the township is a few hundred metres away
  • Visit the Old Willunga Courthouse and Police Station Museum, rose gardens, nurseries and the Willunga Wirra Arboretum

Patrick Jonker Bikeway: a good way to return to Adelaide

Patrick Jonker Bikeway is a 20 km sealed shared use path that follows the Southern Expressway from Darlington to Noarlunga. The bikeway offers plenty of climbs as you head south, and connects with the Coast to Vines rail trail at the Panalatinga Rd exit from the expressway and also at the southern end of the expressway just north of the Onkaparinga River bridge.

The northern end of the bikeway also intersects with the Sturt River Linear Trail just north of the trail’s crossing point at Marion Rd. The Sturt River Linear Trail provides a scenic ride along the watercourse and intersects with the Mike Turtur Rail Trail. Cycle Instead (maps.sa.gov.au) provides a good overview of Adelaide’s cycling network, including the Patrick Yonkers Bikeway, Sturt River Linear Park Trail and the Coast to Vines Rail Trail.

Background Information

Traditional owners

We acknowledge the Kaurna people, the traditional custodians of the land and waterways on which the rail trail is built.

 

Development and future of the rail trail 

Planning has begun for the construction of a cycle path from Willunga to the coastal town of Aldinga. This path will connect the Coast to Vines Trail with the Coast Park, a cycling/walking trail that extends along the coastal beaches. Construction is likely to begin in 2022-23.

Funding has been secured for the construction of a 4 km shared use path from McLaren Vale to McLaren Flat. The trail, which will be known as the Flat to Vale Trail, will connect with the Coast to Vines / Shiraz Rail Trails. The trail will follow Pedler Creek through vineyards and farmland. Construction is likely to begin in 2021-22.

 

Rail line history 

As in other thriving rural regions, residents lobbied hard for the all-important rail link to Adelaide. However, the railway branching off at Hallett Cove was not opened until 1915, relatively late in the railway era. It carried wood, fruit, wine, almonds and building materials for just over 50 years until 1969. It also carried passengers until 1957.

The line was dismantled in 1972 but most of the corridor remained in public hands, allowing the later development of this great rail trail.

The rail trail is managed by the cities of Marion and Onkaparinga, both of which are committed to further improving its quality.

 

PHOTOS

REVIEWS

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3 reviews of “Coast to Vines Rail Trail”

Rode the Coast to Vines over the Victorian Queens Birthday weekend June 2018.

A Great ride overall, starting at Marino Rocks through to Willunga finish point. You must stop at Shingleback Winery just as you come off the freeway on your left hand side of the trail.

We left our vehicle at Marino Rocks as suggested by Micky A’s review first part of the ride is uphill and some downhill riding Hallet Cove. From Hallet Cove to McLaren Vale is fairly easy riding plenty to see a few major road crossings as well. Signage overall is ok,

Once you get to McLaren to Willunga is a steady uphill ride about 9km which after some wine tasting was a little more difficult.

Willunga has a main street shops and a great little bBakery, loved the Potato Pie, yumo..

The only down side if possible is the lack of Public transport from Willunga back to Seaford Rise, buses will not allow riders with bikes. Its about a 16km trip back to Seaford Rise from Willunga which is mostly downhill with a few uphill sections better on the trip back.

Have some gold coins in your pocket for the train trip back from Seaford Rise to Marino Rocks about 20 minute trio back as with Micky A’s review saves about 1.5 hours total time.

We rode about (40km) in total to get from Marino Rocks to Willungs about 2.15 hours with a stop at McLaren Vale Winery.

About 16km – 1 hour back from Willunga to Seaford Rise Station so in total about a 56km day trip.

Well worth it for the sights and overall experience of the ride.

Not so good Things:

* Singage could be better, particularly at road point crossings.
* No Public Bike transport from Willunga to Seaford Rise Station.

Great things:

Variety of the ride
Fully sealed Rail Trail – Bitumen
Trail is quite wide for bikes and pedestrians
Easy to Moderate riding
Toilets and amenities were excellent with plenty of water stations.

Would recommend for families as well.

Compared to some of the rail trails in Victoria, Adelaide rocks.

Well worth the effort.

I have ridden this bike trail on more than a dozen occasions and I find it fun and interesting each time.

One of the best parts of the ride is you can cut your ride short if you don’t feel like doing the whole return trip by catching a train at Seaford Rise to Marino Rocks where the trails starts/finishes.

The easiest way I think is starting at Marino Rocks and riding to McLaren Vale / Willunga as there are more steady downhill segments.

There is a great bakery at McLaren Vale, the trail goes right past and there are plenty of wineries you can pop in and have a tasting at places like Shingleback and Serafino wineries.

Hint:
If you want to miss some of the trail – leave your car at Marino Rocks Railway Station, ride to McLaren Vale or Willunga and on the way back catch the train at Seaford Rise ( the trail goes straight past it on the way down) back to Hallett Cove and ride the last bit to Marino Rocks or get off the train at Marino Rocks. This cuts about an hour off the ride and eliminates the steady uphill part between Seaford and Reynella.

It’s really a nice ride capturing a bit of everything from start to finish.

For the most part, terribly signposted – riders shouldn’t have to guess as to where the trail goes next, especially when it’s crossing at railway stations or major roads!

NEWS

Coast to Vines Rail Trail Detour (SA)

Posted: 25/09/11

Map of detour during Seaford Rail Extension project construction. ...

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Temporary changes to the Coast to Vines Rail Trail (SA)

Posted: 22/03/10

Map of Detour between Lynton Terrace and Seaford Road[/...

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