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Riesling and Rattler Rail Trail

South Aust. Regional

4.6 based on 14 reviews
Location: 130km north of Adelaide
Length: 53 km
Surface: Fine gravel
Start / End: Riverton to Barinia
Public Transport: Coach
Suitable for:
  • Cycling – Mountain BikesCycling – Mountain Bikes
  • Cycling – Touring and Hybrid BikesCycling – Touring and Hybrid Bikes
  • PramsPrams
  • WalkingWalking
  • WheelchairsWheelchairs

  • Rail Trail
  • On Road
  • Potential RT
  • Other Trail
  • Former Railway
View Map
  • 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

Nearby 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

Last updated: 28 April 2024

Overall description

The Riesling and Rattler Rail Trail consists of three sections that are quite different in terms of scenery and topography:

The 19.5 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 8 km Riesling Trail (north) from Clare to Barinia terminates at the old Barinia Railway siding. This essentially flat section is an enjoyable ride through open farmland and vineyards.

Section Guides

Riverton to Rhynie Siding (6.2km)

The trail starts from the northern end of the Riverton Oval near the scoreboard (enter off Oxford Tce).

Riverton’s magnificent intact railway station is now a private residence but limited views can be had from public roads. There are some railcars and rolling stock in the railyards. There are toilets, BBQ and picnic facilities near the caravan park on the western side of the oval.

The first section of trail is gated at either end to contain stock grazing. Please ensure the gates are closed after use.

After passing through the Riverton golf course the trail enters a thick grove of Swamp Oaks, cool and shady on a hot day. The trail gently climbs through to Rhynie.

At the Rhynie railway station site shelter you will find information boards with historic photos. A 650m gravel track from the station leads to the edge of town.

There are no shops in Rhynie and even the historic hotel is now closed. There are toilets and picnic facilities in the park near the hotel.

There are no steep or dangerous sections, but take care at road crossings.


Rhynie Siding to Auburn (13.3km)

From Rhynie to Auburn the trail undulates through farming country with several steel bridges over creeks.

There is little evidence of Undalya siding but an information board marks the location.

The entrance to Auburn is over a long steel bridge over Rice Creek, through a shady corridor of pines, then past the oval/caravan park and on to the site of Auburn station, now a wine cellar.

Auburn town centre, with a number of food and beverage outlets, is to the west of the trail, easily accessed via paths and quiet streets.

There are no steep or dangerous sections, but take care at road crossings.


Auburn to Penwortham (15km)

The Riesling Trail starts at the old Auburn station 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 long bridge over the Wakefield River 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 Penwortham, passing Leasingham and Watervale. There are several wine cellars and food options along the way.

At Penwortham the trail crosses beneath the Horrocks Hwy and loosely 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 Lane and Horrocks Highway.

There are no steep or dangerous sections, but take care at road crossings.


Penwortham to Clare (10km)

Penwortham is the highest point of the trail and it is downhill all the way to Clare.

Sevenhill is 4km further on, with St Aloysius’ Church and Sevenhill Cellars a short distance up College Rd.

The Clare Showgrounds siding has some artworks and is the start point of local Parkruns. Passing along the eastern side of Clare, there is little evidence remaining of the old railway station and yards. There are a number of artworks and some relics in the old station precinct and the old stationmaster’s house is now privately owned (also the childhood home of internationally renowned author Monica McInerney).

There is a carpark and shelter at the old station site. A sculpture depicting Monica McInerney as a child reading books in the solitude of the roof top of the Station Master’s house, was erected on the reserve adjacent to the old station site in 2022.

Follow the Clare town centre signs for numerous food and beverage options, toilets and shops.

There are several options for cycle hire in Clare.

There are no steep or dangerous sections, but take care at road crossings.


Side Trail – Melrose Park (0.5km) and Gleeson Wetlands (1.0km)

At the Drover and sheep sculpture (600m north of the old Clare station precinct) take York Rd on the left and follow 500m to Melrose Park.

There are numerous trails within Melrose Park and an extensive model railway network, along with a lake, playground, toilets and picnic facilities.

A further 500m to the west are the Gleeson Wetlands with pathways around an extensive

planting of native shrubs and three water areas with a variety of bird species.


Clare to Barinia (8km)

This section extends north from the Clare railway station site. It features a quality surface through shady cuttings and over bridges before coming out to beautiful farmland and vineyard areas.

There are several artworks to view on the way.

Take care crossing White Hut Rd as the gap in the pine log barrier is narrow and can be awkward to negotiate.

The trail terminates at Barinia Rd, White Hut, the site of the old Barinia siding.


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14 reviews of “Riesling and Rattler Rail Trail”

My wife and I rode from Riverton to Auburn and return. Very impressed with the fine gravel surface, and smooth steel bridges. Loved the farmland and the recent tree plantings are paying dividends. Thanks to the volunteers, and all involved. Will definitely return.

The Reisling Trail from Auburn to Barina is an easy riding trail with a well formed fine, compacted gravel surface for its entirety. Distance markers every kilometre are helpful and there are plenty of way finding signs with directions to service providers (food, accommodation, cellar doors) along the way. The trail boasts interesting art installations, rest areas and information panels for trail users. Velvet and Willow Pantry in Auburn is a delightful cafe for refreshments. The northern end of the trail at Barina simply terminates in the countryside. It is a pleasant ride out there but it is just a turn round point to return to Clare.
The Rattler Trail from Auburn to Riverton also has an equally well formed trail surface. The countryside here is significantly different to that around the Reisling Trail being much more open grain cropping land. The trail is quite exposed to sun and wind and trail users should take this into account. Some revegetation along the trail corridor is evident but the corridor would benefit with much more tree planting. Riverton is a pretty regional town worth seeing.

Rode the trail over 2 days, firstly staring at Watervale down to Riverton and return. Great quality trail, very smooth surface. Next day started from Clare, down to Watervale, north to Barina, then back to Clare. We are on a mission to ride all the rail trails in Australia and this is one of the better ones. A great trail

We rode the Rattler Trail today from Auburn to Riverton and return.
Although this trail isn't as well known as the connecting Reisling Trail, it is just as good. The surface is a very smooth fine crushed blue metal. This trail passes through more open farmlands, but some of the rural views are expansive and spectacular.
All the creek crossings now have metal bridges, and some of the early tree plantings are thriving and well over 4 metres high.
We came across some volunteers that were doing maintenance on a section of tree plantings that were 2 years old. The trees were on average about a metre high, and looked to be thriving in the recent rains. A big thank you to all the volunteers involved with this great trail.
The town of Riverton still has a lot of railway lines intact, as well as a huge two story stone railway station. There are also 4 train carriages on site that used to be used as accommodation. It is privately owned, but you can still check it out from the distance.
Riverton has some beautiful stone buildings, and we had coffee and cake at a lovely little shop called the Riverton Deli, Bakery, take away.
There is a nice little shelter shed at the Rynie station site, with loads of information and history.
Auburn is also a great little village with more nice stone buildings and pub. So much to see and do.
Don't miss it.

Rode Rattler Trail today. Doesn't seem to get as much attention as the Reisling Trail, despite joining each other. Good surface and interpretive signs. Huge job being done by Trail volunteers planting and maintaining shrubs and trees along the trail.

Today we rode from Clare to Auburn and return. The weather was terrible, but the trail was wonderful. It has one of the smoothest and most durable surfaces I have found on a rail trail. We rode this trail 7 years ago, and have found lots of additions and improvements this time round. New artwork sculptures and bridges being the most noticeable. The new bridge on the original rail corridor at Auburn is a credit to the builders. It looks great and is a treat to ride over. Another great improvement is the gravel banks on the sides of the high embankments, a good safety feature.
It's the June long weekend, and the trail was quite crowded in places with riders and walkers. Obviously very popular with locals and visitors alike.

We rode from Clare to Barinia and return today. The weather wasn't very nice, but the trail is terrific. The surface is so smooth, and there are so many cuttings with large shady pines. It's like riding through a tunnel of trees at some places.
A couple of sculpture sites and interpretive signs make this a really great trail. Clare is a nice little town with plenty of accommodation, shops and places to eat.

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.

Background Information

Traditional owners

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

Development and future of the rail trail

The trail is managed by a voluntary committee of management with assistance from the Department of Recreation, Sport and Racing (Trails SA).

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 110 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.

Stages 1,2,5 & 6 of the trail are complete and open for use. A map can be downloaded from the official site cvwwt.com.au

The remaining stages are under development.


Rail line 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.


Riesling Rail Trail – 25 Years and still going Strong

Posted: 19/12/23

The Riesling Trail Committee celebrated its 25th anniversary on the 7 November 2023. The trail was one ...


Walk or Ride To Remember The Anzacs

Posted: 23/04/22

The South Australian Riverton Community will host "A Walk or Ride To Remember The Anzacs" ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...

Trail descriptions are maintained by volunteers. Please consider a donation to help improve this website. Rail Trails Australia gets no government funding.

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