February 7, 2020 / By Laura Pattara
South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula may be mostly known as an outdoor lover’s paradise, an ideal laid-back destination for those looking to enjoy some beachside bumming and epic surfing on a relaxing weekender away. Yet this stellar peninsula offers a lot more than just its (admittedly stunning) coastline, with a great choice of charming towns and trendy little cafés, awesome pubs and – it may surprise you to know – a few excellent brewers and distillers.
Think you need to scoot to the Clare Valley to sample some world-class tipple? Think Again! The best distilleries and breweries in the Yorke Peninsula may well disrupt your plans for a ‘quiet weekender’…but isn’t that half the fun of travelling? Bottoms up!
Watsacowie Brewing Co, Minlaton
This craft brewery is a relatively new addition to the Minlaton scene and, when the doors first opened, it took local beer-lovers about two nanoseconds to realise it was going to make some waves in the Yorke Peninsula. Watsacowie definitely make brilliant craft beer but that’s not the only reason you should pay them a visit.
Their cellar door, an awesome shed – built with recycled timber taken from a century-old shearing shed – fits about 80 people and if you head here on a weekend, you’ll find it bursting with happy folks (dogs and kids are welcome to join) enjoying generous beer-tasting paddles and a range of BBQ delights like pulled-pork burgers, brisket and grilled hotdogs.
This family-run joint is a labour of love that’s already secured a bit of a cult-following down here. A great place to while away a few hours enjoying a great range of craft beers and a good feed? If that’s not a perfect weekender on the Yorke Peninsula, we don’t know what is! Keep tabs on these guys on the Watsacowie FB page for upcoming events and opening times.
Barley Stacks Wines, South Kilkerran
Just a 20-minute drive north from Minlaton you’ll find Barley Stacks, the Yorke Peninsula’s one and only award-winning vineyard. It’s quite a surprise to find these guys here – you’re driving along in the middle of nowhere and then POOF! A world-class winery emerges. And make no mistake: Barley Stacks is as good a winery as you’ll find anywhere. These guys are real pros at what they do, leading in high-tech and high-sustainability when it comes to producing high calibre drops of red, white and sparkling wines.
The farm to glass experience of a behind-the-scenes tour is really rewarding but just remember to book ahead if you have time to take a look-see. If not, a cellar door visit is just as brilliant, staffed by a bunch of friendly and very knowledgeable experts who’ll tell you as much (or as little) about the wines as you’d like, before wooing your taste buds with a stellar selection of their best and most beloved wines. We loved learning how this famous wheat-belt region can actually produce such great vines but, to be honest, we loved tasting the sparkling Shiraz just as much!
If you’re the Yorke Peninsula on a weekender with friends for a special celebration, do not forget that these guys can plan a wicked event on site. Take a squeeze of the reviews, photos and upcoming events, right here.
Sunny Hill Distillery, Arthurton
The Yorke Peninsula’s first distillery is the brainchild of the Colliver family, who’ve been growing crops on their northern property for almost a century and a half. They converted and totally modernised one of their sheds to create a climate-controlled distillery which also happens to be open to the public. (Hint: this is a GREAT place to cool off on a scorching summer weekender and hey, you get to taste craft gin and vodka to boot!)
The elevated location means you can soak up some pretty amazing views at Sunny Hill and, with a fully-stocked bar, it also means cocktails, craft beers and wine are on the menu. This may well be one of the newest additions to the distillery game but it is unique in the Yorke and is a great place to grab a drink with friends. What more could you ask for on a Yorke Peninsula weekender?
Stansbury Seaside Markets, Stansbury
If you’ve asked around about the best things to see and do on the Yorke Peninsula, then you've probably heard about Stansbury and its fantabulous seaside markets. If not, let me fill you in. The markets are held seaside (obvs!) in Stansbury one weekend a month between October and April and attract a phenomenal array of stalls you just have to check out.
Aside from obvious crowd-pleasers (we’re talking kid’s toys, candles, jewellery and what-not) the markets are renowned for combining the best produce from the Yorke and beyond. Think gourmet oils and jams, gourmet breads, fresh oysters, cheeses and, as you may have guessed by now, beers, wines and spirits from the region.
Stanford itself is a glorious little town and an ideal base for Yorke Peninsula discoveries. Its huge fig tree-lined esplanade attract locals and visitors alike on sunny weekends. But it’s the markets that are by far the best enticement to visit. Come hungry, thirsty and eager to try everything that’s cookin’ and brewin’ and you will not leave disappointed.
Check out the Stansubry Seaside Markets FB page and plan your Yorke Peninsula weekender to coincide with the markets – this is a great choice if you’re short on time and just wish to taste it all in one gorgeous seaside spot.
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