For our first wedding anniversary, K and I drove down south of Adelaide to McLaren Vale for a holiday. Because our anniversary fell on a weekday, the internet wasn't too helpful when I googled "what to do in McLaren Vale" since all the events were held during the weekend. But since we had already booked our stay and we would be happy exploring on our own anyway, we pushed through. So if you're looking for a guide of where to stay, what to do (on weekdays and other days), and how much you can expect to spend, read on.
Where To Stay
As typical as it may be, we stayed at Serafino with absolutely no regrets. We loved it for its picturesque views, immediate access to the Shiraz trail, and large and quiet rooms (they don't assure a noise-free environment especially during weekends but it was quiet when we were there). They also have a swimming pool across where the rooms are - I would have loved to go for a swim but it was getting too cold as we were in the middle of autumn. Now, here's how you can save: opt to go on a weekday - saved us $80, book the room through Trip Advisor's Tingo - saved us another $80, opt for the no breakfast rate - saved us about $60. So our overnight stay only cost us $140.31!
|McLaren Vale - Where To Stay (clockwise): Serafino's reception area, beautiful pond with plenty of geese, the hotel grounds entry, and our large standard room for two.|
- Start your trip by stopping by the McLaren Vale & Fleurieu Visitor Centre (open from 9 am-5 pm). Here, you can begin wine tasting for free, have a coffee, and sit outside overlooking a relaxing view.
McLaren Vale & Fleurieu Visitor Centre
- Walk or cycle the Shiraz Trail. We started at Serafino where we grabbed a map from reception, entered the trail from near the hotel's parking area, played at the playground which is part of the trail, and walked back to the hotel when we got tired.
McLaren Vale Shiraz Trail
- Go wine tasting. But of course, what are you doing at a wine region if you don't go wine tasting, hey? Well to be honest, we're not huge wine lovers so we were happy to have tried the wine at the visitor centre, stopped by Angove's Winery, looked around at Tintara Winery, and sampled and bought a bottle from Serafino Wines.
The beautiful entrance to Serafino's cellar door. Outfit: Maxi dress and sandals - Forever 21, Floppy hat - Topshop, Bag- Michael Kors
- Unwind and savor your wine with some chocolate while enjoying a bubble bath. This has got to be my favorite part whenever I'm checked in at a hotel. Bought my bath bomb from Lush but The Almond Train actually had some bath bombs on special so don't fret if you forgot to pack a bath bomb.
Serafino wine, The Almond Train almonds, Lush bath bomb
- Go on a food trip. This is something we have always loved to do as a couple - spending quality time over good food. So check out 'Where to Eat' below!
- We started our food trip with brunch at The Cottage Bakery. I had the beef burgundy pie while K had the best cappucino and lamb & rosemary pie.
The Cottage Bakery
- Stopped by The Almond Train and got our pick of almonds. We got to try samples from the complimentary cashew and almond tasting and my favorite was the hot & spicy one.
The Almond Train
- We had our anniversary dinner at Oscars, which has quite a lot of positive reviews, but personally, we were quite disappointed with our Mexican pizza, bruschetta and lasagne.
Oscars: Bruschetta, Lasagne, Mexican Pizza
- Remember how we saved $60 from opting out of breakfast at the hotel? We had breakfast at Bracegirdles the next day - which was absolutely delicious: vintage breakfast, spicy chicken turkish bread and a cappucino (except the cappucino wasn't as spectacular as the one at The Cottage Bakery).
Breakfast at Bracegirdles
Now, I'm always a wise spender and you can be assured of budget-friendly travel posts on this blog so here's the budget breakdown:
$140.31 Serafino Hotel
$15.40 The Cottage Bakery brunch
$4.50 The Almond Train almonds
$6.50 Lush bath bomb
$49.50 Oscars dinner
$18 Serafino wine
$36.60 Bracegirdles breakfast
Not bad for a quick holiday! The hubby and I thoroughly enjoyed our time in this little town. I can't wait for our next staycation/vacation.
So I hope you guys enjoyed this post and let me know how you guys celebrate your anniversary with your loved ones in the comment section below.