- Rail Trail
- On Road
- Possible Rail Trail
- Other Trail
- former Railway
Why visit the Riesling and Rattler Trail?
- Perhaps South Australia’s best known rail trail, located in one of Australia’s premier wine regions
- Seven townships and many cellar doors along or near the trail
- Original railway cuttings and infrastructure form part of the trail
- Clare Valley vineyards and cellar doors
- Impressive scenery from vineyards to open rural areas
- Vibrant tourist area with a strong focus on the wine industry and fine dining using local produce
- Access to many small townships
- Historic buildings including John Horrocks Cottage, St Aloysius’ Church and Martindale Hall
- Links with the 900 km Mawson Cycling Trail, the 300 km Lavender Cycling Trail (Murray Bridge to Clare) and the 20km Clare Valley Wine and Wilderness Trail
The Riesling Rail Trail consists of three sections that are quite different in terms of scenery and topography:
- The 19 km Rattler Trail section from Riverton to Auburn crosses open farming country
- The 25 km Riesling Trail section from Auburn to Clare travels along the Clare Valley, through the wine region and many of the historic towns
- The 10 km Riesling Trail (north) from Clare to Barinia terminates at the old Barinia Railway siding. This basically flat section is an enjoyable ride through open farmland
Riverton to Auburn (19 km)
The trail starts from the northern end of the Riverton Oval (enter off Oxford Tce). Take time to check out Riverton’s magnificent intact railway station.
Take a break at the Rynie railway station site shelter.
The entrance to Auburn is through a shady corridor of pines, then past the oval and on to the site of Auburn station. Turn left into Church St, cross the creek and Auburn Centenary Park is on the right. The town centre is a little further at the end of Church St.
Auburn to Clare (25 km)
This is the original section of the trail and is maintained to a very high standard. There are interpretive signs and wineries along the way.
Depart north from Auburn station and cross the bridge that opened in 2019 to enable the rail trail to be entirely on the old railway corridor, 25 years after the Riesling Trail began.
Cross the highway with care and enjoy the gentle climb to Leasingham, 8 km away. After bypassing the site of a missing bridge, the trail climbs gently to Watervale and Pentwortham.
At Penwortham, Highway 83 crosses beneath the trail and follows it to Clare. Visit historic St Mark’s church (visible from the trail and accessible from Pawelski Rd) where district pioneer John Horrocks was buried in 1846. John Horrocks’ cottage can also be viewed on the corner of Surrey Ln and Horrocks Highway.
After a further 5 km you reach Sevenhill, where you pass the cemetery on your descent into Clare. St Aloysius’ Church and Sevenhill Cellars are a short distance up College Rd.
The trail terminates at a carpark at the old railway yard. The station is gone, but a new shelter has been built next to Leasingham Winery.
Follow the town centre signs to the highway and the township of Clare.
Clare to Barinia Rd, White Hut (10 km)
This section extends north from the site of Clare railway station. It features a quality surface through shady cuttings and bridges before coming out to beautiful farmland areas. The trail terminates at Barinia Rd, White Hut.
We acknowledge the Ngadjuri people, the traditional custodians of the land and waterways on which the rail trail is built.
One of Australia’s early explorers, Edward John Eyre, made his way through the valley in 1839. His favourable reports led John Horrocks to settle there and to found Penwortham, the first settlement north of Gawler. In 1840 Edward Gleeson set up a sheep station and established Clare, named after his native county in Ireland. Copper was discovered at nearby Burra in 1845. Villages were established and roads were built, and by the 1880s and 90s wine growing had taken hold in the region.
The railway reached Riverton in 1864, but the railway did not reach the valley and Clare until 1918, finally stretching to Spalding in 1922, a distance of 86 km. The line closed in 1984 and the track was dismantled in 1989.
The trail is managed by a voluntary committee of management with assistance from the Department of Recreation and Sport (Trails SA).
Development and future of the Rail Trail
Potential Barinia to Spalding trail extension
There is a proposal to extend the Riesling Trail from Barinia to Spalding along the original rail reserve.
Clare Valley Wine and Wilderness Trail
The Clare Valley Wine and Wilderness Trail is a 100 km hiking and cycling trail designed to highlight the wine, food and natural landscapes of the Clare Valley. This trail intersects and occasionally follows the Riesling Trail.
Both the hiking and cycling trails for Stage 1 (Clare Valley Wine, Food ands Tourism Centre to Jim Barry Wines) are complete and open for use. A map of this 20 km stage can be downloaded from the official site cvwwt.com.au
The remaining stages, totalling an additional 80 km, are under construction and due for completion in April 2022.
No mistaking where you are! (Riesling Trail committee 2019)
Riverton station, which is now in private ownership. (2015)
A smooth surface and wide open farmland between Rhynie and Auburn (2015)
Rynie to Auburn (Mar 2010)
Cutting between Auburn and Rhynie (May 2010)
New bridge south of Auburn (2015)
Auburn station is now a cafe and wine tasting centre. (2006)
Bridge at Auburn to go into town (Mar 2010)
At Stephen John Winery, not far from Auburn. (Sep 2014)Credit: Alex Thompson
The new bridge at Auburn completes the rail trail (Riesling Trail committee 2019)
The trail near Leasingham Sep 2006)
Road crossing at Watervale (Mar 2010)
The trail near Leasingham (2015)
Cutting near Penwortham (Sep 2006)
Seven Hill railway station site (Mar 2010)
Quarry Rd bridge near Clare (2014) Credit: Alex Thompson
Typical vineyard scenery near Sevenhill (2015)
Artwork along the trail (2014). Credit: Alex Thompson
Site of Barinia Station (2014) Credit: Alex Thompson