If you are like most of our visitors to McLaren Vale, short stays are based around the fantastic food and wine on offer. If you feel the need to balance a few days of indulgence, there are plenty of physical activities in which to participate.
One of the shorter, strenuous favourites is a hike down into the Onkaparinga Gorge, the ‘Tatendi’ hike. Navigate your way to Chapel Hill (the top of Chaffey’s Road), where you will find parking, picnic facilities and the entrance to this walk. Once you’ve found your way down into the Gorge it is like you are in another world. The escarpment is amazing and the waterholes are fantastic. Take a few snacks and allow time to enjoy the scenery. Check out the Onkaparinga Parks brochure for this walk and many others throughout the Gorge.
One of my favourite childhood memories of this park was an amazing metal slide, which started from a fort and went down the hill. With a sack you could pick up some great speed! Unfortunately it was pulled down years ago—I know my kids would have loved it too.
If hiking is not your thing, head up Brookman Road to Kuipto Forest. Chookaloo is a popular section where you can ride your bikes, or walk through the trees and billabongs. Go for the day and cook some lunch over an open fire, or get a permit from the Forestry SA headquarters down the road and camp for the night. My last trip was quite a quick one, because my daughter Matiah fell off a fallen log and broke her arm. The tent had been up a whole 20 minutes!