Trail Open

Riesling and Rattler Trail

South Australia

4.4 based on 5 reviews
Location: 130km north of Adelaide
Length: 54 km
Surface: Fine gravel
Start / End: Riverton former Railway Station site to Barinia former Railway station site
Public Transport: Coach
Suitable for:
  • Cycling – Mountain BikesCycling – Mountain Bikes
  • Cycling – Touring and Hybrid BikesCycling – Touring and Hybrid Bikes
  • PramsPrams
  • WalkingWalking
  • WheelchairsWheelchairs

Map Legend:

  • Rail Trail
  • On Road
  • Possible Rail Trail
  • Other Trail
  • former Railway
Why visit the Riesling Rail 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

Attractions

Attractions

  • 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

 

 

Trail Guide

Overall description

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

Section Guides

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.

Background Information

Traditional owners

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

 

Rail history

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.

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5 reviews of “Riesling and Rattler Trail”

The Rattler Rail Trail is a very enjoyable mostly uphill ride from Riverton to Auburn. The track surface is now good and there are lovely coffee shops at each end. Our group usually rides this trail two or three times a year. You can see more photos and a video here: https://uncoolcyclingclub.com/rattler-rail-trail-sa/

I rode the Riesling and Rattler Trails over a weekend in September 2018.

The section Clare to Auburn is the busiest and most popular, due to the large number of wineries, eateries and art galleries close to the trail. There are also many options for side trips to lookouts and more wineries. Clare is the largest town on the trail, with good facilities and accommodation options.

The southern section known as the Rattler Trail from Auburn to Riverton is a quieter section of the overall trail, with flatter surrounds and extensive farmland views. Riverton is a small town with interesting historic features. Unfortunately the Riverton Railway Station appeared to be now privately owned and did not allow access at the time.

Clare to Whitehut at the northern end is also a quiet section of the trail, with extensive farmland views.

Overall the trail had a good gravel surface. My chain and bike was a bit dusty after a couple of days, so it would be good to have some lube. Also the weather was quite warm even in early September, and a bit windy, so make sure you have water and sunscreen and allow time for a slower ride depending on conditions.

Just finished riding the Riesling and Rattler trails on my hybrid. The surface is excellent on both trails now, and the addition of extra artworks and interpretive signs certainly enhances the experience. The new bridges on the Rattler Trail are excellent, and the new surface is very smooth. I would be happy to ride both trails on my road bike. A new trail-side cafe (The Legless Dog) near Watervale was a most welcome sight. There are also plenty of choices for a meal or snack at Auburn. Check out the Cogwebs Cafe for a unique experience.

Rode from Clare to Auburn with my young family in January 2015. Whilst it not as long as the Victorian trails, I think it is more beautiful than the Murray to the Mountains or the Great Victorian Rail trail. Excellent surface, outstanding views, heaps of informative signs and many things to see and do off the trail make for a wonderful experience. Approaching Clare, I could smell the pine trees as we rode past! I would be nice to see a few more bridges re installed, especially around Leasinghan and Auburn and a few more toilets as most were around 500m off the trail into the townships. After speaking to the locals, there is a significant push to lengthen the trail and they feel the trail brings a significant tourist attraction to the area. Looking forward to riding the whole length in the future.

I rode on both these trails on 26 February 2014. The Riesling trail has a well-maintained surface.

The Rattler trail from Auburn to Riverton and return is undergoing repairs in some places but was open to bikes on the day I was there. It is a bit rough in places with coarse gravel on the riding surface, so I would recommend a mountain bike for this section. Three of the four bridges on the Riverton section have new steel decking, great to see the work coming along.

Riesling Trail (in South Australia) has a bridge upgrade

Posted: 04/12/20

The Riesling Trail Management Committee, with assistance from the Federal Government, SA Government Office for ...

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Even COVID-19 has a silver lining

Posted: 02/05/20

COVID-19 has changed our lives. Social distancing and semi-lockdowns have become the norm but there ...

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Funding for Riesling – Rattler Rail Trail upgrade

Posted: 30/05/13

The all-weather trail is located in the Gilbert Valley as a direct linkage to the ...

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