Mother’s Day: SA’s top chefs share their favourite family eating spots

Mother’s Day is approaching on Sunday, May 12 – a chance to spoil the greatest women in our lives. What a better way to show your appreciation by treating Mum to a meal out at one of South Australia’s dining establishments – and supporting local jobs and producers along the way! Brand SA News contributor Vanessa Keys hunted down some of our state’s top’s chefs to discover where they’ll be taking their family this Mother’s Day.

Georgie Rogers is head chef at East End Cellars.

“Mum and I love driving out to regional restaurants and making a day of it. The Lane at Hahndorf is a favourite – the view is spectacular and Jimmy’s (head chef James Brinklow) food is always a delight.

We also go to Mum’s local pub The Kentish a lot – their smoky paprika hummus with ground lamb is amazing. For brunch, I recommend the scrambled eggs at Hey Jupiter. They’re light and creamy – definitely the best in Adelaide.”

Georgie Rogers of East End Cellars.

Nikkita Wood is the pastry chef and manager at Comida. She also runs catering business A Place at the Table.

“I prefer to stay home on Mother’s Day and avoid the crowds. I usually do a brunch spread with Mum’s favourite goodies from the Adelaide Central Market – Fleurieu Milk yoghurt, KI honey, fruit from House of Organics, pastries from Dough, Brillat-Savarin triple cream from Smelly Cheese, plus my homemade granola and jams.

As a family, we love Sukhumvit Soi 38 on Pulteney Street – the flavours are incredible and the dishes great for sharing. For Sunday lunch, we head up to Terroir Auburn in the Clare Valley. Dan and Annika have taken over the café next door to the restaurant and the food is top notch.”

Comida pastry chef and manager Nikkita Wood, right, with her mother and sister.

Jeffrey Trotter is head chef at the Hagen Arms, and Five O’Clock Somewhere.

“One of our favourites for brunch is Pane e Latte. Order the breakfast carbonara – the baked spaghetti gives it the perfect crunch – and the paccheri al ragu di polpo, which is hands down the best octopus ragu in Adelaide, if not Australia.

For dinner, we love Parwana – they have three menus that they rotate throughout the week. Bring your own wine – their BYO charge goes to the homeless. And for Sunday lunch, Casa Carboni in Angaston is a must. (Owners) Matteo and Fiona make you feel like family, and everything is prepared fresh with produce from the Barossa markets. You feel like you’re in a tiny Italian village.”

Jeffrey Trotter of the Hagen Arms pub in Echunga.

Jodie Zerna is head chef at My Grandma Ben.

“This Mother’s Day I’ll be cooking at My Grandma Ben and hopefully giving all the mothers a day off! We don’t dine out a lot as a family – we tend to have barbecues and bring a plate to share – but when I visit my sister in Christies Beach, we always get fish, chips and tabouli at Champion Takeaway. Ask for the fresh flake – they catch it themselves.

For a cheap lunch, we head to Pho Minh in Mansfield Park – order the pho with oxtail, tripe and tendon. And for brunch, the spicy ramen at Black Dog Gallery in Tusmore is a must (and great for a hangover).

If we’re feeling fancier, we head down to Salopian Inn in McLaren Vale for local SA seafood and something green from their kitchen garden.”

Jodie, right, with her mum and sister.

Luke and Anthony Savas run Pan & Vine.

“We usually spend Mother’s Day at Yiayia and Papou’s (grandparents) house. Mum will serve her signature dish – Moroccan chicken – with Yiayia’s homemade apricot jam marinade.

When we go out, we head to Shobosho and order the roast leek and the kingfish sashimi with yuzu dressing. For brunch, we love the Exchange Specialty Coffee – the Wallace sandwich with avocado, pancetta and chipotle mayo is an institution.”

The Savas brothers of Pan & Vine in Kent Town.

Caitlin Duff runs Sibling café.

“Sibling’s open on Mother’s Day, so we’ll spend the morning there and then head to Mum’s for afternoon tea – this is a special one as it’s my first as a new mum.

For Sunday lunch, our go-to is Fino at Seppeltsfield. There’s eight of us siblings and partners all with varying preferences and they never skip a beat in accommodating us all.

As a family, we go to Goodness Coffee Co in Aldinga every single day (sometimes twice) because their coffee is so good. And we love to drop into My Grandma Ben at Plant 4 Bowden when we visit The Lost Loaf to pick up our bread order. Order the roo stack – it’s delicious and ethical.”

Nathaniel Morse and Caitlin Duff at Sibling café.

Kane Pollard is head chef at Topiary.

“For a relaxed family meal, we head to the Stanley Bridge Tavern. They have a great wine list and tasty small plates – the hummus and wedges with house chilli jam are both great.

For brunch, we love Acacia at Henley Beach. Do the tasting menu – (chef) Duane does an incredible job of piecing flavours together that push you a little out of your comfort zone. We also recently had breakfast at C.R.E.A.M, which was pretty impressive. The donut breakfast sandwich felt a little wrong but so incredibly right at the same time. I had it with a side of buttermilk fried chicken – delicious.”

Kane Pollard, left, of Topiary in Tea Tree Gully.

Feature image: The Lane, Adelaide Hills, SATC.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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5 day trips from Adelaide you can do by public transport

Brand SA News journalist Vanessa Keys has recently returned to South Australia after more than a decade living interstate and overseas. Since being back on home soil, Vanessa has revisited some of the state’s best attractions, beaches, parks and boardwalks, all by public transport! She shares her top five SA day trips below.

One of the biggest misconceptions about Adelaide is that you need a car to see all the good stuff. This is absolutely not true – and I speak with confidence, having recently moved back to Adelaide after a 12 year hiatus, sans car. I haven’t driven in a decade and my London-born partner is yet to learn, but this hasn’t been a barrier to falling in love with South Australia. In the last four months, we’ve picked strawberries at Beerenberg Farm, hiked through Morialta Falls, picnicked at Port Willunga, swam at Moana, walked along towering cliff tops in Hallett Cove, and more.

Here’s five car-free ideas for getting out of the city:

1. Moana Beach and Port Willunga
It’s only 35km south of the city, but Moana’s stretch of golden sand, sloping dunes and gentle surf gives it a bona fide holiday vibe. After you’ve spent a few hours soaking up the sun, catch a bus through vineyards and paddocks to picturesque Port Willunga. This beach is a real beauty: long expanses of white sand and cliffs that shield swimmers from the wind. When hunger strikes, order from the kiosk at The Star of Greece – you can get grilled Kangaroo Island whiting for a fraction of the price that you’d pay inside at the restaurant. They have an epic wine list, too.

Getting there: Take the Seaford (SEAFRD) line from Adelaide Railway Station until the last stop, Seaford. Walk south along Griffiths Drive for 20 minutes until you reach Moana Beach. To continue to Port Willunga, leave the beach and walk eight minutes to Commercial Road. Take the 750 bus from stop 89 until you reach stop 109 at The Esplanade. To return, catch the 750 outside The Star of Greece to Seaford, and catch the train to Adelaide Railway Station.

Whiting, chips and salad from The Star of Greece kiosk.

2. Morialta Conservation Park
Lace up your walking shoes, grab a hat and pack a picnic: Adelaide’s best bushwalking spot is a speedy 30-minute bus ride from the centre of the city. Morialta Conservation Park is set around a narrow gorge, framed by three waterfalls and bound by steep ridges and cliffs. There’s trails for every age and ability, from families with strollers to experienced hikers. And don’t forget to look up – we spotted eight koalas and a kookaburra on our last visit.

Getting there: Catch the H30 bus from stop I1 on North Terrace, and get off at stop 26 on Morialta Road. Take the path past the playground until you reach the First Falls car park – all the hikes start from there.

A furry friend spotted in the treetops at Morialta Conservation Park.

3. Port Adelaide
Once an industrial harbour, Port Adelaide’s colonial buildings are now home to an eclectic mix of theatres, artist spaces, bars and restaurants. From the train station, it’s an easy 15-minute walk to the wharf, where you can admire the heritage-listed buildings (historic Hart’s Mill is a highlight) and enjoy a coffee at Folklore Cafe, where every table has a view of the water.

Seafarers can climb aboard the Dolphin Explorer, a cruise that travels along the Port River through the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary, while landlubbers might prefer to discover the Port’s history at the Maritime Museum, the National Railway Museum or the Aviation Museum. Hungry? Make a beeline for the renovated Port Admiral Hotel. Order a pint of their house lager – The Port Local – and the crumbed mac and cheese croquettes. Trust me on this one.

Getting there: Take the Outer Harbour (OUTHA) line from Adelaide Railway Station to Port Adelaide.

Explore the Port’s history along with the collection of funky street art, cafés, pubs and artistic spaces scattered throughout.

4. Hallett Cove boardwalk
Suspended above spectacular cliffs, the Hallett Cove boardwalk is a signposted walk that follows the coast between Marino Rocks and Hallett Cove. You can begin the walk at either end, but if it’s hot and you fancy finishing with a swim, I recommend starting at Hallett Cove (check out the glacial pavements along the northern cliff tops) and walk south past Marino until you get to Seacliff or Brighton beach – after that long walk, the water feels so good.

Getting there: Take the Seaford (SEAFRD) line from Adelaide railway station and alight at either Marino Rocks or Hallett Cove beach.

Take in impressive views along the Hallett Cove boardwalk.

5. Hahndorf and Beerenberg
The quaint German village of Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills has everything a day trip requires: a hearty breakfast (try the homemade crumpets at Udder Delights), wineries (Landhaus do generous tastings for $5 a head), bakeries (Otto’s is legendary) and more German bratwurst and pretzels than you can shake a stick at. After you’ve finished perusing Main Street, walk 450m south until you reach Beerenberg Farm. Here, it costs $4 a head (12 years and under go free) to pick berries until your heart’s content. Cap off the day with a gin flight and produce plate at Ambleside Distillery – and don’t worry, the bus stop is within stumbling distance.

Getting there: Catch the 864 along various stops in the CBD, including Currie Street and Pulteney Street, continuing your trip through Stirling, Aldgate, Bridgewater and Verdun, until you reach Hahndorf. Visit Adelaide Metro to plan your journey.

Pick your own strawberries at Beerenberg Farm.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Hop on – the ultimate Fleurieu craft beer trail

Hop to it, beer lovers. South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula is the place to be, with a number of well-established brewers and newer, boutique operators calling the region home.

With its outstanding wines, white sandy beaches and alfresco cafés, the Fleurieu has long been appreciated for its delectable food and wine offerings, but it’s time to give the stouts, ales, and pilsners a pour.

So, grab a designated driver and buckle up. Head for McLaren Vale, the heart of brewery territory and further south into Willunga, before visiting a few watering holes on the outskirts and along the coast. Let the ultimate beer trail begin!

1. Victor’s Place
62 Victor Harbor Road, Old Noarlunga

This restaurant, cellar door and brewery is a three-in-one delight set in an old 1870s stone barn, rebuilt with rustic charm. If the sun is shining, head for the outdoor area with a pint in hand and enjoy the views overlooking the Onkaparinga Valley. As far as beer goes, the Sour Cherry Berliner Weisse is a relatively new release and worth a try, as are the rest of its range including the Pale Ale, India Pale Ale, Extra Special Bitter, Saison and Summer Session Ale.

Inside Victor’s Place.

2. Swell Brewing Co.
168 Olivers Road, McLaren Vale

This new brewery and taphouse is the newest kid on the block to join the gang of McLaren Vale’s fellow craft brewery hotspots. Swell Brewing Co.’s new McLaren Vale space is the project of winemaker Corrina Wright of Oliver’s Taranga and her brewer husband Dan Wright. Coastal inspirations and a love for surfing are evident in the brand’s name and overall style, with the brewery offering a selection of its own beers, as well as others, and complemented by classic beer-matching eats such as burgers, chicken wings and sweet potato chips.

Inside Swell’s new taphouse. Photo by Kate Elmes Photography.

3. Vale Brewing
Within the Beresford Tasting Pavilion at 252 Blewitt Springs Road, McLaren Flat.

You can find these guys within Beresford Estate (so it’ll please wine lovers) in McLaren Flat. Have a go at the $15 tasting of the refreshing and sessionable lagers including the Vale Mid Coast, Vale Ale, Vale Lager, Vale Knee Slapper and Vale IPA. Vale has a decade-long history of brewing in the region, starting with small run releases of its original Vale Ale before expanding the core range and growing into a craft beer label well-recognised on SA shelves.

Cheese and beer among the vines at Beresford Estate.

4. Goodieson Brewery
194 Sand Road, McLaren Vale

Family owned and operated Goodieson Brewery is run by Jeff and Mary Goodieson whose property overlooks a tree-lined creek, vineyards and the valley. They’re serious about beer, with the pale ale, pilsner, wheat beer, brown ale, red ale, Maiblock, Christmas ale, autumn ale and stout on offer (although some of these are seasonal styles and have limited availability). Feel free to bring your own picnic snacks and nibbles to enjoy in the outdoor space overlooking the big beautiful gum trees and vineyards.

A beautiful setting on a sunny day.

5. Ekhidna
67 Branson Road, McLaren Vale

This cellar door features beers, ciders and wine from winemaker Matt Rechner. Ekhidna’s traditional Aussie ginger beer is highly sought after, with its strong ginger flavour, hit of spice and hint of sweetness. A restaurant is also on site, offering share plates, heartier mains, and desserts for those who need it. A great all-round experience that will tick boxes not only for beer lovers, but wine lovers, foodies and those partial to a crisp cider too.

Try the beer paddle at Ekhidna.

6. South Coast Brewing Co.
1/11 Jay Drive, Willunga

Beers and beaches – the perfect combination. South Coast Brewing Co. recognises this ideal match and brews its beers with the coast in mind. Three blokes Scott, Brett and Mark are behind this independent operation, with a line of Southern Session Ale a crisp, summery beer that’s almost too easy to drink, the Porties Pale Ale, named after Port Noarlunga, and the Maslin’s Red Ale, named after Australia’s first nudie beach. There’s also the Butter Sou’Westerly, a dry hopped brew that pays homage to winter time’s bitter, cold winds, and the Earl of Seaford Bitter, a delight for true beer appreciators.

The South Coast Brewing Co. trio. Photo sourced from Facebook.

7. Shifty Lizard
33 High Street, Willunga

A relatively new kid on the block, Shifty Lizard owners Lee and Danny opened this new venture in an old butcher’s shop in Willunga about a year ago. The beer bottle and can labels alone are impressive, featuring quirky characters and label names by the likes of the Bruce Lee-zard IPA, Stouty McStout Face and the Lizard’s Dinner. This microbrewery features outdoor dining nestled in the heart of Willunga. Definitely a spot for those who appreciate simple yet stylish interiors and something a little quirky.

8. Smiling Samoyed
Hansen Street, Myponga

Recognised not only for its beer, but the brewery’s two white and fluffy Samoyed dogs, Mia and Hoppy, who will greet you upon arrival. Smiling Samoyed, south west of Willunga, like many breweries is laid back in its style and offers much to look at with small, rustic trinkets and memorabilia scattered throughout facility. Beer wise, the brewery offers both award-winning and limited release brews including the Poppet, Kolsch, Dark Ale, IPA and 12 Paws. Rumour has it that they’ve just re-released the popular Hop Bandit, but be quick because it won’t last long! Grazing plates feature local cheeses, smallgoods and other nibbles while wood oven pizzas, some smaller snacks, and desserts are also on offer.

The fluffy Samoyed dogs are a real crowd-puller.

9. Forktree Brewing
935 Forktree Road, Carrickalinga

With stunning views over the ocean, Forktree Brewing is housed in an old shearing shed – the perfect location for downing a beer, right?! The beers are currently contract brewed, but hopes are to one day have a brewery on site. The froths include the Sunrise Pale Ale, with its citrus and tropical fruit hop aroma, and the Sunset Ale, a fuller bodied, malt driven red ale. The food menu is simple yet satisfying, with burgers enjoying names such as The Ringer beef burger, the Roustabout lamb burger, the Flamin’ Galah chicken burger, the Squeezer pork burger, and the Guesser sweet potato and chickpea burger.

How’s that for a sunset?

10. Meechi Brewery Company
The Wine House, 1509 Langhorne Creek Road, Langhorne Creek

A little out of the way from the other Fleurieu breweries (but still within an hour or so’s drive) is Meechi Brewery Company in wine region Langhorne Creek. Meechi’s winemaker owners proudly launched this small-batch brewery from their backyard shed because “we think every wine region needs a beer label”, and we agree! They were the Creek’s first craft beer label and have been a perfect addition within The Wine House, a wine tasting and dining venue where you’ll also be able to crack open one of Meechi’s handcrafted beers. Meechi is an Aboriginal name for the Bremer River, which runs through the town and then into Lake Alexandrina.

Share your Fleurieu beer trail experience with us on Facebook or instagram by using the #ichoosesa hashtag!

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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How to make the most of a South Australian summer

There are some things about summer that only Aussies will understand. Thongs sticking to the bitumen, seatbelt burns, cricket taking over the telly and sprinklers on the lawn.

But reside in South Australia in summer and you’ll notice several unique ways we like to spend our days as the thermometer climbs.

From dropping a line off the jetty to crunching through a Giant Twin ice cream and flinging a giant plastic tuna along the Port Lincoln foreshore, here’s 11 of the best ways to make the most of the warmer months in SA.

1. Eat bucketloads of cherries

Arguably the best fruit on earth. Try and eat only a handful and before you know it the whole box is gone and your lips are stained purple. Cherry season is mid-November to mid-January. The Adelaide Hills, Riverland and South East are SA’s cherry growing regions, however, the majority of the crop comes from the Hills’ sub-regions of Montacute, Cherryville (how fitting), Norton Summit, Basket Range, Summertown, Uraidla, Forest Range, Lenswood, Kenton Valley and Gumeracha. If you’re in Mclaren Vale area be sure to stop by Fleurieu Cherries five minutes from Willunga. Although, be quick! The season is nearing its end.

Editor’s note January 17: It’s quite possible that the fattest, roundest cherries (almost the size of small plums) can be found this week at the Adelaide Central Market.

Photo by SATC/Adam Bruzzone.

2. Spend a day at the beach

Pristine, stunning, paradise – these words are overused when it comes to beaches, but there’s no truer description for many of SA’s coastal havens.

Metropolitan beaches Glenelg, Henley Beach, Semaphore, Grange and Brighton are always hives of activity, while Port Noarlunga, Christies Beach, Moana and Maslin are good for those located further south of the city.

While all the cosmopolitan action is at our metro beaches, you’ll find more quiet stretches of sand on Kangaroo Island, along the Yorke and Eyre peninsulas and at Limestone Coast towns of Robe and Beachport.

Top picks include Memory Cove in the Lincoln National Park on the Eyre Peninsula and Cap Clairout near Corny Point on the foot of the Yorkes.

Beachport in the state’s South East. Photo by Mark Fitzpatrick.

3. It’s all about the ice cream 

Whether it’s straight out the tub or on a stick, ice cream is a summer necessity. SA is home to a few of the best makers including local icon Golden North, which has been producing the sweet stuff at Laura in the Mid North for the past 90 years. A true South Aussie would have a tub stashed in the freezer or a box of Giant Twins on hand at all times.

If gelati is more your style, look out for Gelista. These guys are artisan-style, handmade gelato pros, with flavours such as almond and quandong, apple pie, macadamia and Kangaroo Island honey, and wattleseed rocher.

4. Toss a tuna

Port Lincoln on the Eyre Peninsula is home to the famous tuna toss event otherwise known as Tunarama Festival. Held at the Port Lincoln foreshore over the Australia Day long weekend, Tunarama has a long history dating back to 1962.

The highlight of the event is the tuna toss, where competitors hurl a 10kg polyurethane tuna replica as far as they can. The world record is 37.23m set by former Olympic hammer thrower Sean Carlin in 1998.

Tunarama Festival is a great family day out, with a number of other competitions and attractions including the boat building competition, a beach bod competition, the prawn toss, prawn peeling competition, beer keg roll, fireworks, markets and displays.

5. Catch a whopper

Blue swimmer crabs, garfish, squid and Tommy ruff are popular catches from SA jetties. Head to Port Germein on the Yorke Peninsula to find SA’s longest jetty, stretching about 1.5km.

Beach and boat fishing make a good day out and can provide hauls of King George whiting, squid, flathead and snapper (check for specific snapper closures).

Freshwater fish such as callop, redfin and yabbies can be found in the mighty Murray River.

Caurnamont near Mannum on the Murray River. Photo by John Montesi.

6. Check out the silo art

Giant artworks splashed across grain silos can be found in various regional towns across the state. Waikerie in the Riverland is the latest town to welcome the impressive artworks, which include a huge parrot and yabby splashed across the silos. You’ll also find silo art at Coonalpyn, Kimba, Wirrabara and Tumby Bay. Take a road trip!

The Tumby Bay silos. Photo by Robert Lang Photography.

7. Follow the peloton

Australia’s biggest cycling race takes over our streets from January 15 – 20 as the world’s best cyclists whizz through stages in Adelaide, the Barossa Valley, Adelaide Hills and McLaren Vale. The exhilarating race brings thousands of spectators to roadsides to take in the action. The event is also a huge benefit for our economy, with last year’s event injecting $63.7 million into the state.

Tour Down Under cyclists speed along King William Street in 2018. Photo: SATC.

8. Jump into Fringe action

Australia’s largest open access arts festival Adelaide Fringe swings into gear from February 15 – March 17. With it brings some of Australia’s – and the world’s – best comedians, circus performers, musicians and actors. The Garden of Unearthly Delights and Gluttony are central Fringe hubs bustling with colour, lights, good food and a whole lot of entertainment. But other venues are also spread throughout Adelaide and some regional areas in pubs, small performance spaces, theatres, wineries, galleries and town halls.

The crowd at Adelaide Fringe venue hub, Gluttony. Photo by Helen Page.

9. Float down the Torrens on The Popeye 

Long considered a treasured family outing, the Popeye boat that floats along the River Torrens between Elder Park and Adelaide Zoo recently took a new lease on life.

New branding was adopted in 2018 and the Popeye began attracting a new generation of passengers when it introduced gin masterclasses aboard with Prohibition Liquor Co. Popeye also hosts functions, parties and high teas. The original Popeye was launched on the Torrens in 1935 – so it’s a longstanding tradition that every Adelaidean should experience at least once!

High tea aboard The Popeye. Photo: Popeye and Paddle Boats on the Torrens River Facebook.

10. Head to a rooftop bar

There is something about rooftops that make drinks taste better. Sip on a gin and tonic while soaking in the sights from eight storeys high at 2KW Bar and Restaurant on King William Street in the CBD. Another top spot is Hennessy Rooftop Bar at The Mayfair, The Gallery on Waymouth Street and Rocket bar and Rooftop.

If a relaxing Sunday arvo cider is what’s needed, then beer gardens are also good places to be in summer. We’ve done the hard work for you and picked out eight of the best beer gardens here.

Impressive views of Adelaide from 2KW Bar and Restaurant. Photo: SATC.

11. Go brewery browsing

Remember when you cradled a glass of shiraz by the fire last winter? Well, now it’s time to clutch a cold pale ale under the air-con instead.

There is a brewery in just about every region, from Beer Garden Brewing in Port Lincoln to Smiling Samoyed at Myponga, and Lobethal Bierhaus in the Adelaide Hills.

Many of our craft brewers are producing award-winning froths, some with quirky flavours such as oysters, strawberries, cherry, milkshake, and even bacon. Yep, bacon. Don’t forget our longstanding big players. SA is also home to legendary breweries Coopers and West End.

The deck at the Wilkadene Woolshed Brewery in the Riverland overlooks the Murray River.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Top 10 South Australian Christmas traditions

Some Christmas traditions can only be experienced in South Australia. Where else would you find the kind of nostalgia the West End Brewery Christmas Lights evoke every year?

And forget handfuls of cherries. Thanks to our Adelaide Hills orchardists we eat the favourite Christmas fruit by the bucketload, leaving our lips stained purple throughout the rest of summer.

We camp out at Elder Park in the hot sun to get a top spot for the carols, and we pile in the car and head to Lobethal, feeling just as impressed by the twinkling lights as we did when we were a kid.

Christmas in SA is full of events, markets, activities, and traditions that carry on through generations. Here’s a few of the oldies but goodies you’d be a Grinch to miss.

1. Lights of Lobethal

The small Adelaide Hills town of Lobethal is pretty sleepy, except for in December.

Much of the town decorates its businesses, shopfronts and houses in twinkling lights and Christmas arrays creating the largest community lights display in the southern hemisphere.

It’ll take a couple of hours to get around the whole town, and be sure not to miss Bill and Peg Chartres’s house on the hill of Christmas Lane. Yes, Christmas Lane. The Chartres’s have been displaying lights since the 1980s, with lights, toys and figurines scattered throughout their property.

2. West End Brewery Lights

A child must not reach adulthood without viewing the quirks of the West End Brewery Christmas Displays on the banks of the River Torrens in Thebarton.

You’ll find a nativity scene, a ferris wheel, a water wheel, and Santa and his reindeers among other festive characters and displays.

This free community event is popular with young families, with the lights turning on at dusk each evening until the end of December.

The West End Brewery Lights are a must-visit at least once for every South Australian. Photo by Clive Boyce.

3. Carols by Candlelight 

A classic event for Christmas carol lovers, the annual carols event in Elder Park is the perfect place to belt out festive favourites.

Families serious about the QBE Insurance Carols by Candlelight will arrive early in the day to snag a spot as close to the stage as they can, settling in with picnic rugs, snacks and oodles of enthusiasm.

Brand South Australia has once again partnered with QBE Insurance Carols by Candlelight to offer one lucky person the chance to win a festive hamper full of local products to the value of more than $5000. Enter here.

4. A South Australian seafood feast

Spencer Gulf king prawns, Coffin Bay oysters and southern rock lobster – there’s no shortage of seafood offerings here in SA.

When you buy local seafood you’re supporting SA’s sustainable seafood and aquaculture industries. Ferguson’s Australia, Cappo Seafood, and Angelakis Bros are just a few local names who will sort you out in the seafood department.

Fresh local seafood is a must at Christmas. Photo courtesy of Adelaide Central Market.

5. Beach cricket

Wearing off that seafood feast by playing a good old-fashioned game of beach cricket is almost a Christmas rite of passage in SA. Our state has some of the best white sandy beaches in the country, from the Eyre Peninsula along to the Yorke Peninsula, and Fleurieu.

Many of our coastal towns come alive during summer and especially around the holiday period. The livelihood of their businesses relies on the festive season trade – another reason to keep it local and holiday in your own backyard.

6. Hahndorf Christkindlmarkt

Not yet a longstanding tradition (as it’s only been around for about six years) this European-style Christmas market in the German town of Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills is well on its way to becoming an annual favourite.

Held in the town’s main street, the Hahndorf Christkindlmarkt brings the magic touches of a European Christmas market to Australia, allowing visitors to wander beneath twinkling fairy lights, shop for handicrafts and enjoy a glass of Glühwein.

The Hahndorf Christkindlmarkt is on December 14–16.

7. Santa’s Magic Cave

Everyone has at least one embarrassing photo of themselves as a child with Santa.

The jolly man in red can be found at the Magic Cave at David Jones, Rundle Mall, where little ones can put in their last-minute wish lists and pose for that classic shot to be cherished for years to come.

The Magic Cave is a bit of an Adelaide icon, launching in former department store John Martin’s in 1896. Aside from Santa and his elves, other fairy tale characters and other glitzy displays can be explored.

8. Victoria Square Christmas tree

You probably won’t find a Christmas tree taller than this one. The giant Christmas tree in the heart of the city in Victoria Square/Tarntanyangga will dazzle with thousands of lights once it’s officially switched on at 8.30pm on December 1.

It’s the city’s Christmas centrepiece and with Victoria Square redeveloped in recent years to include more public furniture and greenery, it’s a place you can hang around and take in with sparkling delight.

The tallest Christmas tree in Adelaide can be found in Victoria Square/Tarntanyangga. Photo by Clive Boyce.

9. Christmas pageants

Christmas pageants and nativity scenes have been around for donkeys’ years and nearly every town has one. It’s a time when the glue guns get a real work out in the making of impressive of Christmas floats and homemade costumes.

Local businesses get on board, as do local schools, sporting groups and community organisations, parading around town and down main streets to kick-start the silly season.

The man in red always makes an appearance and the bitumen is always covered in chalk drawings by the end.

Aside from the big pageant in Adelaide in November, Christmas pageants roll out across our larger metropolitan suburbs to the smallest of country towns.

10. Adelaide Central Market 

This thriving hub is one of the country’s largest fresh produce markets, and right before Christmas it gets crazy.

The stalls are packed with local produce including fruit and veggies, cheeses, meats, seafood, baked goods, smallgoods and other treats needed for your festive household celebrations.

December through to February is the time for stone fruit including juicy, plump cherries, blueberries, strawberries and blackberries that will make for the perfect Christmas pavlova. The market’s opening hours are extended in the lead up to Christmas, check out the website for more information.

Header image by Clive Boyce of Photo Morsels.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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8 beer gardens you have to sit in this summer

The sun is out, the days are getting longer, and did someone say beer garden?

We went in search of the perfect South Australian outdoor oasis, and we found heaps! Here are eight of the best.

Cathedral Hotel – North Adelaide

Have you been searching for a beautiful heritage listed North Adelaide bar with a renovated rooftop? The search is over! The Cathedral took out SA’s Best Pub Burger in the 2016 SA Pub Burger Challenge, so you can be sure the classic pub fare won’t disappoint.

Here’s their menu, we recommend the beef burger and a glass of Jim Barry Watervale Riesling (Clare Valley).

The sun sets over Adelaide from the Cathedral rooftop garden. Image: Cathedral Hotel via Instagram.

The Cathedral Hotel knows burgers. Image: Cathedral Hotel via Instagram.

Hotel Elliot – Port Elliot

Heading to Middleton for a surf? Or perhaps a beachside getaway is calling your name. Either way, this well-frequented local pub located in picturesque Port Elliot has everything you want, with a sensational beer garden to boot.

A  five-minute stroll from Horseshoe Bay and a short walk to whale spotting favourite Freeman Lookout, you can also catch the Cockle Train or Steam Ranger with the Port Elliot Railway Station situated just outside the hotel.

Here’s their menu, we recommend the Coopers Ale battered garfish fillets, served with the Elliot salad, chips and house aioli. Pair with a Coopers Pale Ale of course!

The Hotel Elliot beer garden is waiting for you! Image: Hotel Elliot via Instagram.

Fish and chips on the Fleurieu at Hotel Elliot. Image: Hotel Elliot via Instagram.

The Republic – Norwood

Built in 1880, the Republic Hotel has undergone extensive renovations with sleek results. This beer garden is perfect for a Saturday arvo with the girls after shopping your new summer look on The Parade.

Here’s their bar menu, we recommend the charcuterie board with cured meats, SA olives, cornichons and ciabatta, and pair with an Espresso Martini (or three).

The only thing better than an espresso martini is three espresso martinis. Image: Republic Norwood via Instagram.

Some of the local produce on offer at Republic Norwood. Image: Republic Hotel via Instagram.

Bridgewater Inn – Bridgewater

Only a 20-minute drive from Adelaide, the Bridgewater Inn is the perfect Adelaide Hills escape. Nestled among lush greenery, relax in the garden with unrivalled views of Cox’s Creek.

Here’s their menu, we recommend the Cox chicken breast schnitzel (500g) with one of their signature toppings such as parmigiana (napolitana sauce, cheese and ham),  Mexican (smashed avocado, bacon, jalapeno, sour cream),  Kilpatrick (bacon, Worcestershire sauce and cheese) or garlic prawns in a cream sauce. Match with a Rockford Alicante Bouchet rosé (Barossa Valley), you know it’s a good idea.

Just in case you didn’t know you were in the Adelaide Hills. Image: Bridgewater Inn via Facebook.

These mega schnitzels will make a return visitor out of you, that’s a promise. Image: Bridgewater Inn via Facebook.

The Edinburgh Hotel – Mitcham

Ask anyone in the foothills of Southern Adelaide if they know The Ed, and not only will they know it, they’re probably sitting in its garden as you speak.

The famed Ed garden (renowned colloquially as one of Adelaide’s best) is bordered by pergolas, vines and lush gardens. The fellas love it here (and so do the kids).

Here’s their menu, we recommend The Ed signature flatbreads with heirloom and semi-dried tomato salsa with buffalo mozzarella, basil and pine nut pesto and smoked salmon with capers, feta, avocado, rocket and fresh lemon. Pair with a refreshing local gin and tonic served with citrus.

A family friendly atmosphere that will have you settling in from day to night. Image: The Edinburgh Hotel website.

What’s more refreshing in summer than a gin and tonic? It’s ok, we’ll wait. Image: The Ed via Instagram.

The Feathers Hotel – Burnside 

They won Best Beer Garden in Australia in 2017. Enough said.

Here’s their Terrace menu, we recommend any of the sociable plates, especially where cheese is involved. Match with a Howard Vineyard “Clover” sparkling wine (Adelaide Hills) and welcome, you’ve arrived in paradise.

Weekend goals. Image: supplied.

You had us at sociable plates. Image: supplied.

Parkside Hotel – Parkside

It’s impossible not to salute the Parkside Hotel at how different it is from it’s former state. The recently renovated venue is turning heads as one of the main hangs for South Aussies this coming summer.

And not only is there current beer garden greatness, there is also future beer garden greatness to come! A family friendly outdoor area (separate from main beer garden) on its way with completion due in the next couple of days. There is also another outdoor area which is in the construction phase, due for opening in the coming months.

So make sure you check it out.

Here’s their menu, we recommend the prawn and heirloom tomato pizza with SA king prawns, chilli, rocket and basil paired with an Aperol Spritz.

Your summer hideaway in bustling Parkside. Image: supplied.

What’s a pizza between friends? Image: Parkside Hotel via Facebook.

Port Admiral Hotel – Port Adelaide

This Port Adelaide pub, with its nautical vibes and bustling atmosphere, is quickly gaining a reputation as a bucket list must-see.

Adelaide’s oldest building (established in 1849 on Black Diamond Corner), the Port Admiral is a tip-of-the-hat to SA history and it’s really, really cool.

Here’s their menu, we recommend the Port Admiral fried chicken wings (500g or 1kg) with buffalo, Thai, sweet and sour or barbecue dressing. Pair with an Applewood Distillery whiskey or a Port Local house brew – a collaboration between the Port Admiral and Pirate Life.

The Port Admiral Hotel, Adelaide’s oldest building. Image: Port Admiral Hotel website.

Warning: these wings are addictive. Image: Port Admiral Hotel via Instagram.

Header image features The Feathers Hotel.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Inside Adelaide’s laneways: Peel Street

It’s time to hit the pavement as we discover another of Adelaide’s bustling CBD laneways.

Exploring these hidden locations has become a favourite pastime of locals and visitors alike, so we’re casting a spotlight on each of them.

The laneways of Adelaide weave their way through the heart of the city and buzz with the vibrant energy of the bars, cafés, restaurants and various businesses that call them home.

First, we discovered the best of the west end along Bank Street, and then we took a wander down hidden gem, Gresham Street.

Next stop: Peel Street.

Peel Street was at the forefront of Adelaide’s laneway transformations, with the introduction of the Small Venue Licence in 2013, bringing more flexibility to small venue operators.

Laneways sprang to life and Peel Street has become a favourite wining and dining location.

Connecting Currie Street to Hindley Street, it’s home to some of Adelaide’s best known and much-loved cafés, bars and restaurants.

Gondola Gondola
Set on the corner of Peel and Hindley streets, this popular eatery brings South East Asian street food culture to Adelaide, set against a backdrop of hip hop beats, enthusiastic staff, busy chefs and a vibrant atmosphere.

Flavours of Vietnam and Thailand get a run at Gondola Gondola.

Peel St
Named after its home, the Peel St restaurant’s menu is divided into “smaller” and “larger” dishes, mostly inspired by Middle Eastern or Asian tastes, and designed to share.

Simple, fresh and delicious is the motto at the Peel Street restaurant.

Bread & Bone
Located upstairs in the tunnel between Peel and Leigh streets, Bread & Bone specialises in wood grilled burgers, steaks and ribs, as well as dishing up tasty hot dogs and fried chicken.

The burgers at Bread & Bone will leave you coming back again… and again.

Maybe Mae
Head downstairs from Bread & Bone and you’ll find Maybe Mae – a suave 1950s-inspired cocktail lounge. What it lacks in size, it makes up for in premium cocktails that pack a punch.

It’s easy to lose track of time behind the hidden door at Maybe Mae.

Clever Little Tailor
A warm and welcoming little bar with leather booths, gas lighting and stone walls. Bite-sized snacks, cocktails, boutique beers and wines for the refined drinker are all on the menu.

The cute and compact Clever Little Taylor.

La Rambla Tapas Bar
Adopting the Spanish alleyway vibe, La Rambla serves up Catalan cuisine with a blend of traditional and innovative tapas dishes. Spanish beer, wines and sangria are also on offer.

Feel the Spanish vibes at La Rambla.

Malt & Juniper
A newcomer to Peel Street, Malt & Juniper opened its doors earlier this year. Think: loungey booths, seasonal cocktails, and a strong focus on whisky and gin. It’s also a weekday café, open from 7am for coffee and light breakfast snacks.

Crafting cocktails by night, Malt & Juniper also makes quality coffee and lunchtime and breakfast eats.

La Moka
Coffee is the specialty of this Italian-inspired café and aperitivo bar, as highlighted in our wrap of South Australia’s best coffee spots.  La Moka is light, bright and friendly, and the perfect spot to enjoy the Peel Street vibe, from dawn to dusk.

Spot La Moka by the big yellow door … and that luring smell of coffee beans.

Alfred’s Bar
Number 14 is home to Alfred’s Bar – a small inner city bar with the atmosphere of a local neighbourhood pub. Locally focused with an impressive range of SA wines and well-known beers.

Alfred’s Bar spills out onto the pavement, the perfect spot on a balmy night.

2nd & 6th
Named after the second and sixth of the seven deadly sins – greed and gluttony – here you’ll find a European lunch and dinner menu, sweet desserts and alcoholic concoctions.

Greed and gluttony are encouraged at 2nd & 6th.

Therapy Cocktail Bar
Therapy is in session! A luxe basement bar, wander down the staircase to discover a throwback to a time of glamour and serious cocktails. In fact, over 100 of them.

Head underground for a bit of suave Therapy.

Hub Adelaide
Aside from cafés, restaurants and small bars, Peel Street is also home to a small co-working space, Hub Adelaide. Voted Adelaide’s Best Co-working Space in the Qantas Business Travel Awards 2018, Hub Adelaide is a premium co-working space for growing businesses with all-inclusive amenities, high-speed internet, meeting rooms and professional development and community events. It features all the essential infrastructure needed for SA’s budding entrepreneurs and start-ups.

It might not look it from the outside, but Hub Adelaide’s insides are bustling.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Your Shop South Australia guide to Mother’s Day

Mums are amazing. But you already knew that.

What you might be a little less sure about is what you’ll be buying your mum this Mother’s Day, which is just around the corner.

As the breakfast in bed and handmade cards day approaches on May 13, we’ve searched through the Shop South Australia marketplace to find the perfect gift for all types of mums.

Shop South Australia is a one-stop shop featuring only South Australian artists, designers and makers.

To celebrate Mother’s Day, Shop South Australia is running an Instagram competition giving you the chance to spoil mum with a gift valued at over $400! Head to the Shop South Australia Instagram page for details. Competition closes May 8.

So whether your mum is into fashion, likes a nice glass of red or is candle-obsessed – we’ve got Mother’s Day 2018 covered.

What to get for the mum who loves …

1. Fashion

Naomi Murrell – this Adelaide fashion and accessories designer is behind a range of delicate yet quirky pieces.

Featuring dangling star rings and colourful frill earrings, the jewellery collection complements the fashion range of cherry reds, classic tees and polka dots.

Shine bright my pretties. #starlight #finejewels #brassjewelry

A post shared by Naomi Murrell (@naomimurrellstudios) on


Julie White – If you want your mum to make a statement, then Adelaide fashion and print designer Julie White is your gal.

Knee-high socks printed with hand-drawn koalas or an Australian tropics inspired scarf are sure to uplift spirits.

Julie is offering free worldwide shipping this week in light of Mother’s Day!


2. Wine

Temple Bruer Wines – as one of the best organic producers in the region, this winery is one not to miss this Mother’s Day.

The 2017 preservative free rosé is said to have hints of watermelon, lemon, strawberries and citrus tart.


Wine Parcels – This box of goodies is perfect for the mum who appreciates a good drop of red (or white) and a few nibbles to go with it.

The Regional Tastes Parcel favours the Adelaide Hills, featuring selections of produce from vineyards, orchards, strawberry fields, olive groves and dairy farms.

Hard work done for you.


3. Homewares

Etikette – candles with scents of summer fig, guava, mango and papaya.

This hand-poured soy candle range is named after different regions throughout SA.

Lobethal (yummy figgy pudding), Seacliff (all about coconut and lime) and Heysen (rich espresso), are just a few.


Rub a dub shrub – these pots with a pun are the perfect long-living gift for mum.

Depending on her appreciation of a good play on words, she’ll love the endless list of sayings able to be printed on these cute potted succulents.


4. Food

BoxSAlicious – these gift baskets and hampers are made with the best of SA gourmet food and wine.

The carefully selected goods in each pack are from a selection of regions including Barossa Valley, Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale, Limestone Coast, Clare Valley, and Riverland.

Plus, what is better than a present that you can “share” with mum.


Nolans Road – English cooking queen Nigella Lawson is a fan of this extra virgin olive oil from the Limestone Coast.

Pair with some dukkah and fresh sourdough or drizzle over a garden salad at Mother’s Day lunch.


5. Beauty

Gemma Vendetta Cosmetics – Gemma’s beauty essentials are 100% certified vegan and cruelty free.

Her SA-made products are high quality without a compromise. Gemma, who is an I Choose SA ambassador, also has an interesting background, as her multiple sclerosis diagnosis in 2016 inspired the mineral-based product launch.

A post shared by Gemma Vendetta Vintage Stylist (@gemmavendetta) on


Yard Skincare – born from a desire to find a natural cure for teenage acne, this skincare brand features face masks, exfoliators, hand creams, cleansers and lip balms.

A lot of time and research has gone into this Adelaide Hills-based product range that is natural, organic and vegan friendly. Oh, and it smells delicious.


Visit Shop South Australia to find a snippet of the best of SA’s unique artists and designers in one location.

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Visit I Choose SA to find out how you can support our state by choosing South Australian businesses, products and services.

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How to choose SA this Easter

We’re the birthplace of Haigh’s Chocolates, our Easter seafood is the best in the nation and we knew that combining Fruchocs and hot cross buns was a legendary move.

South Aussies know how to make the most of Easter, whether it’s camping under the stars in the Flinders Ranges or nibbling the ears off a chocolate bilby at the Beehive Corner.

With the four-day break only days away, we’ve compiled a list of ways to choose South Australian businesses, products and places this Easter.

Don’t forget to share your local purchases or experiences with us on Facebook and Instagram by using the hashtag #ichoosesa

1. Stick around

Why gallivant around elsewhere when some of the most stunning landscapes, natural hideaways and pristine environments are on our doorstep?

Eyre or Yorke Peninsula coastal getaways, Far North explorations, Limestone Coast escapes and Barossa Valley wonders are all reachable within a day’s drive (or flight).

When you choose to holiday locally, you support local accommodation providers, the hospitality sector, shops, businesses and families.

So pick a spot you haven’t been before or return to an old favourite.

The Adelaide Central Market is a good place to collect Easter seafood that’s fresh and local.

2. Stock up at the Adelaide Central Market

Almost half-a-million shoppers are expected to wander through this foodie’s paradise in the lead up to Easter, on the hunt for fresh products, local seafood and traditional Easter eats.

Market traders are expecting to sell more than one million kilograms of fresh produce before the weekend, with Easter rating as the market’s second biggest trading period of the year.

Samtass Seafoods is expecting to sell 500kg of fresh local snapper, 250kg of Spencer Gulf prawns and 100kg of local flathead fillets, while market bakers will churn out more than 75,000 hot cross buns.

Visit the Kangaroo Island Stall in the market for a selection of island produce, including the ultimate Easter feast, southern rock lobsters by Ferguson Australia.

3. Go fishing in one of SA’s pristine ocean spots 

From the clear and peaceful waters of the Yorke Peninsula to the true fisher’s territory off Kangaroo Island, there are plenty of good spots to wet a line in SA.

Autumn is the time for mullet as the fish school in large numbers, while catches of flathead and the much-prized King George whiting increase in the lead up to winter.

Stuck on where to go? Check out our Top 10 Fishing Spots.

Simon Haigh from Haigh’s Chocolates is an I Choose SA ambassador.

4. Get your chocolate fix from a local chocolatier

From the legendary Haigh’s Chocolates, to a hot-cross bun flavoured Red Cacao truffle, SA knows a thing or two about Easter indulgences.

Chocolatiers are perfectionists and sticklers for quality so you can be sure that a beautifully packaged Easter treat has been made with love and probably hand-packaged as well.

Try Melba’s Chocolates at Woodside, Bracegirdle’s House of Fine Chocolate, Chocolate @ N°5 in Hahndorf, Just Bliss, or the Port Elliot-based Carob Kitchen.

5. Frock up for the Easter races

The Oakbank Easter Racing Carnival in the Adelaide Hills is one of the biggest events on the state’s racing calendar, with the tradition dating back almost 150 years.

This year the carnival will undergo a bit of a reshuffle, as the Great Eastern Steeplechase moves from Easter Monday to Easter Saturday, with the latter expected to draw crowds of about 20,000 people.

The Clare Easter Races will also unfold on Saturday, March 31, and seeing as the Clare Valley is home to some of the state’s finest wines and produce, expect gourmet offerings.

6. Cling onto the Fringe madness

The Adelaide Fringe might have gone into hibernation for another 12 months, but in Whyalla the party is just getting started.

The UneARTH Festival is on March 30 and 31, providing creatives, artists and locals a chance to enjoy everything from circus acts to music and cabaret.

7. Have a hot-cross-bun-a-thon

There is nothing more mood-lifting than watching butter melt on a toasted hot cross bun.

Longstanding family business Kytons Bakery do a good all-round version of the spiced sweet buns (and even a Fruchoc variety!) while we hear that Red Door Bakery is also among the best bun makers in town.

Give a few local bakeries a go and rate them out of 10!

8. Fly a kite at Semaphore

Kite flying is a childhood pastime and in Semaphore the sky will come alive with colour for the Adelaide International Kite Festival from March 31 – April 2.

The free community event at Semaphore Beach will feature South Aussie kite fliers going up against New Zealanders and interstate visitors.

A festival marketplace with wares and activities will be open from 11am–5pm each day.

9. Soak up the tunes at the Blenheim festival

About 2000 people are expected to gather in the Clare Valley for the annual Blenheim Music and Camping Festival from March 29–30.

Listen to tunes by the likes of The Black Seeds, Mojo Juju, Timberwolf, Bootleg Rascal, Z-Star Delta, Kings and Associates, Wanderers and Emdee.

Festival-goers can camp (or glamp if it’s more your style) under the stars and do it all again the next day.

Blenheim is family friendly event with all ages welcome.

Zoos SA CEO Elaine Bensted is an I Choose SA ambassador.

10. Visit the zoo

Adelaide and Monarto zoos will both be open over Easter.

Free choccie eggs will be on offer and visitors have the chance to see a real life Easter bilby.

Monarto Zoo’s Lions 360 experience will also run as usual – although this heart-stopping chance to get up and close to the king of the jungle is popular so be sure to book before you go.

11. Get on ya bike!

With an extensive network of trails across national parks, forests and reserves, Adelaide’s Mt Lofty Ranges is well on its way to becoming an international mountain biking destination.

So dust the cobwebs off the deadly treadly, pump up those tyres and explore some pretty amazing scenery at the Cudlee Creek Forest, Eagle Mountain Bike Park, the Belair National Park or Sturt Gorge Recreation Park.

Check out more spots here.

12. Take your pooch on an Easter egg hunt.

Yes, really.

The Woofery Dog Bakery is hosting a free doggie Easter hunt on Saturday, March 31, at Plant 4 Bowden.

Four-legged friends will be sniffing out dog-friendly Easter treats in Bowden Park and humans can also indulge as the Plant 4 market stalls will be open from 9am–3pm.

Register your pooch here.

Phil Sims from Robern Menz is an I Choose SA ambassador. The longstanding SA business is bound to get a workout in the lead up to Easter.

13. Grab a FruChocs showbag at Coles

Fruchocs maker Robern Menz has been around for 150 years and is one of the state’s strongest family businesses spanning over four generations.

This Easter they’ve launched a $10 FruChocs Easter showbag in all Coles supermarkets across SA.

Featuring a trio of Fruchocs varieties, the goodie bag is the perfect Easter gift to take to that Easter barbecue.

14. Graze your way around a farmers market

Prepare to stretch your I Choose SA tote bag to its limits this weekend, as many farmers markets will welcome Easter treats to the usual lineup of fresh produce.

Farmers markets are great places to not only smash the weekly shop, but sample local produce and chat to the farmer or maker all in the one spot.

Many SA farmers markets have live music, hot coffee and delicious pastries to keep you going while you stock up for an Easter Sunday feast.

Check out this list of SA farmers markets, but consult Google to check if the one closest to you is running over Easter!

15. Enjoy the bizarre pre-Good Friday rush at your local supermarket

There’s nothing quite like the Easter Thursday rush that has grocery shoppers in a flurry.

Mums and dads are flying through the aisles with chocolate-smeared toddlers hanging from their trolleys, the cheese and cracker section is getting a good work out and everyone’s arguing over what box of Shapes to take on the camping trip.

It’s busy and a bit crazy, but the pre-holiday spirit is infectious.

Visit I Choose SA to find out how you can support our state by choosing South Australian businesses, products and services.

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The top 15 things to do in McLaren Vale

McLaren Vale – it has a cellar door around every corner, world-class culinary offerings and the unforgettable d’Arenberg Cube.

While a day in McLaren Vale is undoubtedly best spent with wine on your lips, we reckon there’s many ways to kill some time in the land of the rolling vineyards.

But first, a few facts.

  • McLaren Vale is only 45 minutes from Adelaide and incorporates 30km of stunning coastline that is worthy of an Instagram snap or two.
  • The region was originally populated by the Kaurna Aboriginal people.
  • John McLaren surveyed McLaren Vale in 1838, establishing two separate townships, Gloucester and Bellevue.
  • Over time these two merged and the area came to be known as McLaren’s Vale. By 1866 it had houses, businesses, a church, a pub and a steam flour mill.
  • The first grape vines were planted in 1838 by settlers John Reynell and Thomas Hardy, with the Seaview and Hardy wineries up and running by the 1850s.
  • Now McLaren Vale is respected as the birthplace of SA wine, is renowned for its favourable Mediterranean climate and is home to some of the country’s top winemakers.

OK, enough. Let’s get into the good stuff.

1. Graze your way through the Willunga Farmer’s Market

Fill your I Choose SA tote bag so the straps are stretched to their limits.

You’ll find the finest SA artisan produce you can get your hands on, from crusty sourdough loaves to pastured eggs, homemade jams, honey, and veggies so fresh they’ve still got the dirt on them.

The best thing about SA farmer’s markets is that you can meet and chat to the local makers and growers in the flesh.

WHERE: Cnr St Peter’s Terrace and High Street, Willunga.

The Willunga Farmer’s Market is on every Saturday, from 8am –12:30pm.

2. Visit the cheese room at Romeo’s McLaren Vale Foodland

Lock us in there and throw away the key!

McLaren Vale Foodland has its own walk-in cheese room offering a selection of bries, camemberts and matured varieties – you name it!

The supermarket also has a sushi bar with its own chef.

In February 2018 McLaren Vale Foodland was crowned international retailer of the year at the IGA’s annual global awards in Las Vegas.

WHERE: 130 Main Road, McLaren Vale.

3. Be amazed by the d’Arenberg Cube

Is it Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory? Is it a giant Rubik’s Cube? Nope, it’s Chester Osborn’s imagination at work.

Even if you’re not into wine, this fascinating piece of architecture is a hit to the senses.

The d’Arenberg Cube features a variety of features and art installations that must be seen to be fully understood and appreciated.

The views are also spectacular.

WHERE: Osborn Road, McLaren Vale.

The furniture alone is worth awing over.

4. Venture along the Shiraz Trail

Need to wear off all that cheese and dukkah-dipped sourdough?

The off-road Shiraz Trail links the McLaren Vale wine district with Willunga, offering stunning views of vineyards, majestic gums and livestock grazing in paddocks.

It’s about 9km long, can be journeyed by bike, foot, or horseback and is child friendly.

Time it well on a Saturday morning and end up at the Willunga Farmer’s Market!

WHERE: Begin at the McLaren Vale Visitor Information Centre.

5. Devour a pizza at Pizzateca

If you didn’t Instagram a selfie in front of that pink and green shed did you even visit Pizzateca?

Well, you’d remember your visit anyhow, because their pizzas are quite possibly the best in the land.

Think handmade dough that’s stretched and flipped, scattered with produce and thrown into a fiery wood oven before your eyes.

WHERE: 319 Chalk Hill Road, McLaren Vale.


6. Appreciate art at the Fleurieu Arthouse

Located within Hardys Tintara is this arthouse hosting 10 resident local artists who create their masterpieces from the studio and workshop spaces.

Take a wonder through the finished pieces in the exhibition gallery featuring sculptures, paintings, pottery and other installations.

WHERE: 202 Main Road, McLaren Vale.

7. Hurl a melon at Wirra Wirra.

Nothing will resurrect your inner child than flinging a watermelon from a giant medieval siege machine and watching it fly through the air before it lands with a spectacular splat.

You can do this Wirra Wirra along with other things, such as sampling wines from the cellar door or enjoying a scrumptious seasonal platter from Harry’s Deli.

WHERE: McMurtrie Road, McLaren Vale.

8. Make a move at The Groove Garden

Every Sunday afternoon this alfresco café spreads its infectious vibes, appealing to the young, seniors, kids and everyone in-between.

Live music in the form of blues, folk, rock, country and reggae has most people on their feet while others take in the atmosphere with a wine or a cold beer in hand.

The menu is always changing, but usually involves burgers, Indian cuisine, vegetarian-friendly plates and coffee.

WHERE: 133 Main Road, McLaren Vale.

9. Bag some snags at Ellis Butchers

These guys recently snagged third place at the Australian Meat Industry Council’s National Sausage King Competition in the poultry category.

The longstanding butcher supplies to some of the top restaurants (including D’Arenberg) and pubs across the region.

Ellis Butchers is a fan of dry aged beef, a process that increases flavour, tenderness and texture.

They also produce their own ham and bacon, smoked using beechwood and red gum.

WHERE: Lower level, Central Shopping Centre McLaren Vale.

10. Get lost at Maxwell.

At Maxwell Wines, there’s more to do than indulge in wine and nibble off a cheeseboard.

Owner Mark Maxwell has grown a maze at the bottom of the vineyard and it’s bound to keep kids (and the young at heart) entertained.

Cheeseboards are available from the cellar door, but visitors can bring their own nibbles to enjoy on the winery’s picnic ground while sipping a Maxwell drop.

WHERE: 19 Olivers Road, McLaren Vale.

11. Relax at The Vineyard Retreat

The Vineyard Retreat is the perfect spot to sleep off all the adventures, with a little country luxury of course.

It has four guest houses, each with double French doors opening onto their own private outdoor verandah.

The interiors are elegant with luxurious touches such as a complementary mini bar, soft linen, and an espresso machine.

WHERE: 165 Whitings Road, Blewitt Springs.

12. Pitch a tent at the caravan park

With so much to do in the region, it makes sense to stay for at least the weekend.

The Lakeside Caravan Park is perfect for tent-pitchers, caravan owners, pop-toppers or families.

The grounds feature a playground, grassed area, tennis courts, a spa and swimming pool – all the creature comforts!

WHERE: 48 Field Street, McLaren Vale.

13. Grab a roadside caffeine hit

Cruise down the McLaren Vale end of Victor Harbor Road and you’ll spot a black caravan that’s well worth a stop.

The Short Black Caravan is the doing of Dal Mare Coffee, which also exists in café form along McLaren Vale’s main drag.

This boutique coffee roaster is fast becoming the go-to for locals and travellers.

WHERE: Short Black Caravan, McLaren Vale end of the Victor Harbor Road. Dal Mare Coffee, 189 Main Road, McLaren Vale.

14. Smash a toastie at Mullygrub

Hearty breakfasts that take you all the way to lunch without hunger pangs.

That’s what a good brekky is all about, but at Mullygrub Café (which also exists in the form of a food truck) things are done a little differently.

Why do waffles when they can be pumpkin waffles with crispy sage and zoodles?

A new addition is the Cuban sandwich with mojo pork, dill pick, Swiss cheese and Cubano sauce.

WHERE: 114-116 Main Road, McLaren Vale.

15. Crack a tinny at Goodieson

Wine is good, but a cold beer on a hot day? Better.

Setting up operations in McLaren Vale, Jeff and Mary Goodieson offer everything from barrel aged stout to golden IPAs, imperial pilsners, pale ales, wheat beers and Indian red ales.

Enjoy a coldie or a paddle of four beers on the terrace overlooking a tree-lined creek, vineyards, and a roo or two.

The “lazy old red dog” will melt your heart before you even sit down.

WHERE: 194 Sand Road, McLaren Vale.

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