Discover

Discover McLaren Vale

The Value of Tourism

Heritage Trails

Bushing King & Queen

Main Road McLaren Vale

Quirky places, delightful gifts, delicious food, amazing wines. All in one street.

Download a printable PDF of the main street and get exploring.

Heritage Trails

Take time out to enjoy this trail – but be aware there are many distractions along the way; restaurants and eateries to tempt your taste buds with fine foods and local produce; wineries with products that will more than satisfy your palate and a number of craft shops, galleries and other points of interest to keep you occupied.

The survey of the McLaren Vale District in the Hundred of Willunga, was completed in 1839 by the Government Surveyor John Wingate McLaren after whom the district took it’s name. In the last few weeks of 1839 the first settlers, Charles Hewett and William Colton, farmers from Devonshire, took up land in the area.

The villages of Gloucester to the East, surveyed in 1850, and Bellevue to the West, surveyed in 1854 developed within the township of McLaren Vale.

Early life was founded on farming with an emphasis on cereal crops. Evidence of the prosperity in the district at the time could be seen by the number of flour mills in the region. The only remnants of a mill building of that era to be found in McLaren Vale today, formerly the Mortlock Mill, forms part of the Hardy Tintara Winery complex.

The 1850’s saw a dramatic exodus of labour from the area when settlers either left for the Victorian Goldfields or took up new land in other areas of the State.

Vineyards as an alternative crop began to appear.

Subject to your interests, the trail could take a few hours, half a day or even all day.

Break it up into small pieces to suit yourself.

Bushing King & Queen

For more than half a decade, the McLaren Vale wine community has celebrated the culmination of the McLaren Vale Wine Show through the Bushing tradition.

The tradition dates back to medieval times when tavern owners would place ivy bushes above their tavern doors to celebrate the arrival of the new vintage wine, or fresh mead. The hanging ivy represented the opportunity to savour wines at their best.

In the early 1970’s, McLaren Vale winemakers incorporated this tradition to welcome the release of new vintage wines, by hanging olive branches over their cellar doors. Nowadays, olive branches (and their olives) are much more valuable, but the tradition still continues with olive trees placed (or planted) outside cellar doors.

McLaren Vale’s first wine show committee was formed in 1973 with the first wine show held that year.

Whilst McLaren Vale is one of Australia’ oldest wine regions, it is devoid of pomp and ceremony – except for the crowning of the Bushing King or Queen.

The winemaker of the ‘Best Wine of Show’ is crowned as the Bushing King or Queen at the McLaren Vale Wine Show Bushing Lunch and this is cause for much celebration.

Trace the history of the Bushing Kings & Queens as you walk along Main Road, McLaren Vale (commencing at the corner of Valley View Drive and heading east along Main Road). 

Download the full list of Bushing Kings and Queens here.

Discover More

McLaren Vale Grape Wine and Tourism

McLaren Vale and Fleurieu Coast Tourism