Cycle Adelaide, Road Riding, Koonunga Hill Loop
While you won’t see a sign for it, Koonunga Hill is undoubtedly the dominant feature of this ride. It’s not the highest point en-route, and certainly not the longest or steepest climb in the book, but there’s something that makes it seem harder – maybe all the smaller climbs along the way. It’s a positive challenge, though, and easily managed by any moderately fit rider with low enough gearing and the ability to push steadily uphill. The sense of achievement at the top is surpassed only by the knowledge that from there, it’s downhill or flat all the way.
Heading out through Nuriootpa, it’s soon vineyards all the way to Greenock. Once a thriving service town and centre of the Laucke flour milling empire, Greenock is now a quiet residential village known for its community hub (the Greenock Tavern), competitive cricket and as the home of Barossa Brewing Company, the Barossa’s first boutique brewery.
From Adelaide, follow the Adelaide Hills scenic route to Tanunda, or drive straight up Main North Road, the Sturt Highway and Gomersal Road. Continue north for 7km on Barossa Valley Way to Nuriootpa.
Food and Drink
In Nuriootpa, try The Branch, The Vine Inn or Linke’s Bakery. There are also two supermarkets, takeaways and a hotel. Kapunda has a café, deli, supermarket and two bakeries.
Get a taste of life as a winemaker with the Penfolds’ Make Your Own Blend experience. Learn about grape varieties and how wine is made, then blend your own, bottle it and take it home to impress your friends.
Nitschke’s Aviation Museum
A little way past Greenock is Lincoln Nitschke’s Aviation Museum, a fascinating stop for anyone into old aircraft. The museum houses a diverse collection of aviational curiosities, including more than 1400 model aircraft, early piston and jet engines, and fuselage of the Percival EP9 - one of just five examples still in existence. There’s also a wooden De Haviland Vampire jet, a replica Mustang Fighter and heaps of other aviation memorabilia.
You’ll know when you reach Kapunda, another 10 kilometres down the road, from the towering bronze statue of Map the Miner at the town entrance. Aka Map Cornwall, he’s a giant reminder of the town’s significance as Australia’s oldest mining town and an important part of SA’s early history.
- 0.0 The ride starts at Tolley Reserve, opposite the BP service station. Head north past the Barossa Regional Shopping Centre.
- 0.4 Turn left onto the Nuriootpa-Greenock Rd and continue through the town. This is the main access road to the Sturt Hwy and commuter traffic can be busy.
- 4.7 With the turn off to the highway on the left, continue across the overpass. Watch for traffic entering from the left on the other side, then enjoy the long descent into Greenock.
- 6.9 Mill St and the Barossa Brewing Company on the right.
- 7.1 Turn right onto Kapunda Rd and begin the steady climb out of Greenock.
- 9.3 On the right, Nitschke Rd leads to the aviation museum. Continue on as the road swings left.
- 12.5 The highest point on the ride.
- 17.6 Very carefully turn right onto the Gawler-Kapunda Rd, the B81. This is the main road to the mid-north, with a 110kph speed limit, so keep to the left on the descent to the River Light. Strong cross winds are also common on this stretch.
- 18.5 The road crosses the River Light then climbs back up into Kapunda.
- 20.1 The giant sculpture of Map the Miner.
- 21.6 The town centre. Take a break and refuel or continue through the town.
- 21.8 Turn right at the BP service station, signposted to Eudunda.
- 23.7 Turn right, signposted to Nuriootpa, and continue towards Koonunga Hill.
- 27.2 The start of the climb.
- 29.5 The crest, followed by a well deserved descent and then another small climb.
- 34.1 Turn right into Belvedere Rd, signposted to Nuriootpa, for a long, flat spin of nearly 8kms through vineyards with very little traffic.
- 39.9 The Penfolds Kalimna Vineyard on the right.
- 41.7 At the T-junction, stop and give way then turn right onto the Sturt Hwy, signposted to Nuriootpa and Gawler. We’re only on it for a very short time but this is the main highway to the Riverland and Sydney, so take care and ride on the shoulder.
- 42.3 At the corner, turn left alongside the Tafe SA Barossa Valley Campus.
- 44.0 At the traffic lights turn right onto Barossa Valley Way, the B10. Continue through Nuriootpa’s shopping and business strip, then straight across the traffic lights at the Greenock Rd corner.
- 45.0 Turn right into Tolley Reserve to end the ride.
45.034 km / 27.983 mi
298 m / 977 ft
298 m / 979 ft
324 m / 1,063 ft