- Rail Trail
- On Road
- Potential Rail Trail
- Other Trail
- former Railway
- 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
- 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
Last updated: 19 March 2022
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.
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.
Hallett Cove ocean views with Adelaide in the distance 2020
rail trail adjacent to railway at Hallett Cove (Sep 2006)
On the trail to Lander Rd (Jan 2010)
vegetation has enclosed the trail 2020
Underpass of Southern Expressway near Korro station site (Sep 2006)
Panalatinga Bridge (Sep 2006)
the approach to the Onkaparinga River 2020
walkers near Seaford 2010
Vineyards along the Coast to Vines trail 2009
Walkers near McLaren Vale 2020
Almond Train in McLaren Vale
rest area between McLaren Vale and Willunga 2020
Coast to Vines signage 2020
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.
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